Prepping Your Car for the Spring Shows

Ah Spring! With the snow melted away, the sun high in the sky, and birds chattering overhead, there’s nothing better than dropping the on your classic roadster and going for a spin down a tree-lined lane, or opening her up to zip down an empty country road. Of course, you’re also going to want to make sure your beauty is looking her best for the spring car shows, especially after a winter wrapped in tarps in a cold garage, so here are nine things you should do before you drive further than around the block, all of which will make sure that your insurance quotes and car looks and sounds like the classic vehicle it is and help to get a lower insurance rate:

1. Flush the fuel. It may seem wasteful since we recommend putting a full tank of gas and anti-freeze in the tank before you over-wintered your car, but it’s really important to flush the fuel lines and drain the gas tank, so you can start with fresh fuel that hasn’t been sitting and stagnating for six months Be sure to check the carburetor float bowls as well, and always make sure to follow your city’s rules for disposing of motor fuel.

2. Can the coolant. Just like the fuel system, you’ll want to drain the coolant and flush that system as well. Many modern coolants include corrosion inhibitors that have spent the winter slowly eating away any rust inside the cooling system, and if you don’t flush the lines, you could cause a blockage down the road. When you replace the coolant, you can use 50/50 blend of water and antifreeze.

3. Change the Oil. There’s very good chance that the oil in your car has been contaminated by Water or rust-causing acids. Drain and replace the oil with a fresh batch, and don’t forget to change the filter as well.

4. Charge the Battery. Check your battery’s strength and charge it if necessary. If your spring weather is still more chilly than cheerful, you’ll also want to keep the battery warm until you are ready to reinstall it and operate the car.

5. Lubricate the Cylinders. A car that has been stored for winter is prone to having stuck piston rings, or may just be really dry. Remove the spark plugs, and use a lubricant designed for the job to coat the upper cylinders. Don’t put the spark plugs back in until you’ve turned the engine over several times, as explained in point four.

6. Charm your Carburetor. Once the battery and spark plugs have been reinstalled, remove the cover from the air filter and spray engine starter fluid into the carburetor months to help make sure the first attempt at starting your engine is successful.

7. Bleed the Brakes. The break lines should be bled and the brake and clutch master cylinders should be checked to make sure they’re full of brake fluid. Check the emergency braking system, also.

8. Get it Warm. After you are satisfied that all the necessary systems are in working order, start the car, but don’t rev the engine. Rather, idle the car and allow the engine to warm up. Then, pull out of the garage, and check the vacated garage floor to be certain that there are no fluid leaks. Finally take a very short drive – about half an hour – just to make sure all systems are really “go”.

9. Detail Clean. The last thing to do before you show off your car is to give it a thorough cleaning. You may have done this before you put the car into storage last winter, but you want the chrome to be gleaming, the paint to be shiny etc. Not only does this make your car look better, but it helps prevent corrosion. So wash and dry the car, inside and out. Clean and shine the tires and the upholstery, and after the car is completely dry add a fresh coat of wax.

After all this, your collectible car is ready to see and be seen on the open road or at the various auto shows that offers auto reviews in your region. Pack a picnic lunch, pick a sunny day, go for a drive and grin as people point and stare at your vehicle when you drive by.

Reprinted from

March 18,2008

See CTCI Booklet

Operating and Maintaining your Classic Thunderbird in the 21st Century”

800 488-2709

Wire Wheel Fit

Problem: Spinners rub the fender skirt inner lip when the car corners.

Solution: New leaf springs, rear sway bars, standard shocks are not likely to solve the problem. Air shock on the rear to control ride height or remove skirts, remove spinners & replace with the flat emblem from center of the spinner.

Radials Tires & Skirt Clearance

Problem: Will radial tires create a fender skirt clearance problem?

Solution: The tire clearance is reduced more on the 55 and 56 due to cross section width increase using radials the 57 radial increase is a little over ½ inch while the 15 inch radial increases a little over1 inch. If you flatten the lower lip of the fender skirt at the sidewall area you can gain some clearance. Many people don’t have a problem with radials