Winterizing Your Car for Safe Driving

Three Things To Watch Out For When Repairing An Old Car

by Troy Fowler

Do you have an old car that's been taking up space in your driveway? Many people choose to scrap or sell their junkers, but fixing up an old car can frequently be a fun project or a great way to learn more about how cars work. If your vehicle has been sitting around collecting dust, however, there are some special precautions that you'll need to take before firing up the engine. Whether you'll be doing the work entirely on your own or paying someone, keep these three crucial considerations in mind as you get started on your project.

Check For Infestations

Cars are tempting homes for critters such as mice, birds, or even bees. If your vehicle has been sitting outside for months or years, then it is almost certainly housing one or more of these pests. Before attempting to start the car for the first time, carefully check the water channels around the hood, trunk, and door jambs. Be especially mindful of any bees or wasps that seem to be buzzing around the vehicle, as this can potentially indicate a nest in one of these channels. If you find mice or bird nests, washing them away with a hose is usually the best approach before attempting a more thorough cleaning.

Most importantly, use a flashlight to peer into the engine bay. Check for any signs of nesting materials near the exhaust headers or exhaust piping. Check for a build-up of leaves or other flammable materials underneath the car, as well. Your car's exhaust will get exceptionally hot and fire is a genuine hazard when starting a car that's been sitting for a long time.

Replace The Gas

It may seem like a major headache, but pumping out your gas tank and replacing it with fresh gas is a good idea. Gasoline goes stale quickly, and old gas can gel up fuel lines and damage injectors. As a general rule, do not use gas if it has been sitting for more than a few months. If your gas is much older than this, replacing the old gasoline can save you from potentially much more costly repairs. Note that your gas may still be too stale to use even if your car starts up, and you may be causing damage by attempting to use up the gas in your tank.

Change The Battery

Believe it or not, leaving a battery unused will hasten its demise. A battery that was already on death's door is unlikely to survive an extended period of disuse, and it may not hold a charge even if you manage to jump-start the car successfully. If the vehicle has been sitting for longer than a few months, plan to change the battery unless you are sure of its age. Many people manage to get an old car started up, only to find that it won't start a second time without requiring another jump.

Getting an old car running again is a great way to save money and keep more scrap from ending up in a junkyard, but it's essential to treat the process with some measure of respect. By taking the right precautions, you can get your old vehicle on the road again in no time.

For more information, contact companies like Terwood Auto Repair.