So petrol prices have dropped a tad. Still not low enough, but at least they are now below the £1.00 per litre mark which was previously smashed. When you think how much some other countries pay for their petrol, it simply tells you that this wonderful government of ours are screwing the motorist big style.
This month, I would like to pass on to you, the lowly motorists, my wisdom gained over many years surrounded by older cars:………
I suppose many of us are now thinking about laying up our old cars for the winter months. There may well be a few days when we can still get out and about before the autumn leaves fall, but it looks like the summer is dwindling fast.
It’s probably a very worth while task to have a sort out in the garage sooner rather than later. Worth thinking about creating some extra space to enable those little winter evening jobs to be tackled with some ease rather than have to wedge yourself between the car and piles of spares that could have been put on shelving and organised to make finding them easier in a moment of crisis.
I usually give my old cars a thorough clean inside, and then wash and dry the bodywork before a damned good waxing. These days, there are many good products on the market to keep bodywork looking good. I used to use the wax that came in flat tins and took a lot of hard work to polish off when it had dried.
Don’t forget to clear out all traces of mud from hidden nooks and crannies. Pay particular attention to wheel arches and those areas behind the headlights where all manner of crap will gather. Get the hose pipe in there and blast out all of the mud that will just hold moisture like a sponge and allow the dreaded tin worm to do it’s worst.
Get the hose under the car as well as there are plenty of places that will attract mud and moisture. It’s worth considering buying a pressure washer for jobs like this. A good run on a nice dry day will get the air flowing through all the whole of the cars bodywork and help to dry it out before you apply protection to the bodywork.
I am a great believer in using a decent under-body wax treatment. This will help to keep the ravages of rust at bay if the treatment is done properly. If your cars underside has been coated with underseal as so many were, a decent spray on wax won’t harm it. It will keep the underseal supple and in turn help to stop it chipping which can lead to water getting in and rust eating away the metal beneath, out of sight and out of mind. Waxoyl will also help to protect your brake pipes and hopefully prevent problems when it’s MOT time again.
It’s worth removing interior door panels to get into the part of the door you never see. All the moisture can run down windows, past ageing rubber seals and then sit at the lowest point in the door frame. So often drain holes can become blocked and the water just sits there, eating away at your door frames and door skins. The first time you are aware of those little pimples in the paintwork is when it’s too late. Those little pimples are where the moisture has penetrated through the metal, and is about to burst out like zit! Treat inside doors and also sills if at all possible. Wax can be injected in under pressure in the form of a mist. It coats all metal surfaces and helps to protect them. Not an easy or a quick job, but one I reckon is worth doing well. Believe me, it can be messy. I always wear old clothes that can go in the bin afterwards. It is something you can tackle yourself though. Check out your local motorists store for the products you need, including the applicators etc.
Give chrome a good wax treatment as well. It’s often a worthwhile job to remove bumpers and bright work to clean out all the muck that tends to accumulate out of sight. Before you know it, those lovely shiny bumpers you had re-chromed a couple of years ago will be showing signs of rust that has started to eat away the metal from behind. Those little rust specs will be the first signs. I always give the backs of bumpers a good coating with red oxide paint or similar. Then spray it silver and with that chrome effect aerosol paint. For extra protection and to complete the job, plenty of Waxoyl or similar.
If you have chrome wire wheels…… well then you’re mad. Why spend countless hours cleaning and polishing those damned things? They probably weren’t original equipment when the car was new even. Okay, painted ones possibly were. Give them a good spray of WD40 and then wipe it off and wax them in the spring. At least moisture won’t attack your spokes which often don’t have the best quality chrome in the first place.
Leather interiors should be treated to a good clean and then either protect them with hide food, or one of the leather oil products available. These help to keep the leather soft and supple. If not done, leather goes hard and cracks. I have seen some lovely old cars with truly nasty leather resembling cardboard. It can be brought back in time with regular feeding, but once it’s split or cracked, then you are into having it repaired with new sections that will stick out like a sore thumb against the original leather, and this will probably ultimately lead to a re-trim at some stage. Not only will you loose that patina of age, we are talking loads of money!
Make sure carpets are nice and dry. Moisture will not only rot them, but will attack the metal beneath. If they are damp, then find out why and rectify the problem before it’s too late! Quite often, old rubber seals can crack or the sealing compound between them and the glass will start to break up letting water seep in. Obviously it then finds the lowest point and will start to do it’s worst. Door and boot seal rubbers need to be checked and replaced if they have seen better days. Make sure spare wheel wells aren’t holding puddles.
It’s worth investing in a decent indoor car cover for extra protection when your pride and joy is snug in its garage. How often do kids or wives just put things down for a moment on the bonnet when they go into the garage to get something from the freezer? It happens and it doesn’t take a lot to damage the car. A solid joint of lamb placed momentarily on a bonnet whilst little Johnny looks for an ice lolly at the bottom of the freezer can break a toe as it slides off and hits the little darling on the foot. The worst scenario is that it can also take chunks out of paintwork on the way down. I suppose the ultimate has to be a “car bubble”. Your baby could then live in air filtered luxury in a completely dry atmosphere, away from the ravages of the elements.
Anyway, please don’t have nightmares about the disturbing things I have told you. Just remember that the dreaded tin worm has absolutely no respect for age, quality, rarity or value. No car is safe, and your much loved and highly prized investment will quite probably be subjected to a fate worse than death as it’s eaten away from inside simply because you never thought to clean the parts you don’t normally see.