Getting Your Classic Car Ready For Summer 


With Spring here and Summer on the horizon, we’re all anxious to get our classic cars out of the garage and back on the roads. After all, you bought it to show off right? But before you take your baby out of storage, there are some things you'll need to do first. Whether you just want to go for a cruise or if you’re considering selling a classic car, this list will get you started. 

We offer full shop services on classic cars, so if you are not interested in doing any of this work yourself, let our classic car experts help you outThink of Ellingson's first for your repair, maintenance, and any other mechincal needs.



1. Test Your Battery 

After the long winters we have in Minnesota you’ll always want to test your battery, both to see if it kept it’s charge and also to be sure if still has the ability to start your car all season. Something to consider next fall would be a maintenance or trickle charger to keep your battery from going dead over the winter. 


2. Inspect Your Tires 

Tires can experience a number of problems after sitting idle for long periods of time. It’s common for them to lose at least some air pressure – including the spare. And the sidewalls and tread could develop potential cracks as the rubber deteriorates over time. Depending on your alignment they may also have worn unevenly last year. Road safety and performance hinge on your tires doing their job. 


3. Check Out The Brakes 

After giving the tires a look, you may need to remove them to check out your brakes.  If your brake pads, shoes, rotors or drums are worn or cracked, they should be replaced. Also look leaking wheel cylinders. Brake fluid is hydroscopic and extracts moisture which causes corrosion. Many people flush their brake systems every other year. There are test strip you can use to measure your brake fluid condition. 


4. Check The Oil 

Old cars have a tendency to leak, including oil. It’s so common that you probably should expect it to happen at least a little so check your oil level before starting the car. Even though you don't put as many miles on your classic as you do your every day vehicles, you should consider changing the oil at least every other year if not more frequently. Vehicles driven sporadically and short distances can build up moisture in the crankcase, with old cars being particulay susceptible.   


5. Check / Top Off Fluids (power steering, transmission, brake fluid, coolant) 

After checking the oil, you might as well move on to the other fluids, to keep them clean and topped off to manufacturer standards. If your fluids run too low they can present all kinds of other expensive problems in classic cars.



6. Check Your Lights 

Do a walk-around to make sure all your headlights, blinkers and taillights are working properly, including brake lights. Classic cars look cool cruising down the road, but look much less cool when they are pulled over by the police for a bad headlight.  


7. Freshen Your Fuel 

Today’s fuel blends are good, but sitting over the winter can make it a bit stale. Adding Sea Foam to your tank and topping off with fresh fuel can ensure that your fuel system stays clean and operational.  


8. Inspect Belts and Hoses 

Just like your tires, belts and hoses are rubber and therefore can dry out and crack even before getting worn. Closely inspect your car’s belts and hoses for cracking, glazing or wear. Dry or cracked hoses or belts should be replaced.



9. Give it a Bath 

Even the nicest of restored cars with the best of paint jobs will get dusty and dirty when sitting over winter. The paint, tires and interior can dull over time if this is left alone. Depending on what conditions your car is stored in it may only need a quick dusting and application of a spray wax. The tires and interior can benefit from a wipe down with protectant. This will help defend your vehicle from fading and cracking.


10. Double Check Your License and Insurance 

It may sound a little silly, but we often get excited to drive our classic and forget that we did not put on those tabs that we got in the middle of winter or we did not put the car back on to full insurance for the season. Check to make sure your licensing is up do date and call up your insurance broker to be sure that you have the appropriate coverages. 


If you want to buy a classic car for the first time or add to your existing collection, our inventory of classics is changing all the time. Stop by our huge indoor showroom to see classic cars and muscle cars from all eras. If you are considering selling a classic car, our consignment program may be perfect for you. 


Back To Blog