Mini Preparation During this Winter
Classic, Spridget & Morris Minor
Some of us are regular drivers all year around when it comes to our classic Mini which has it's benefits. When your Mini is parked or stored for long periods of time you may start experiencing issues the next time you want to give it for a spin around town.
Seals start to dry out and the cracking turns into leaks, things start not working for no apparent reason, and those critters you've been trying to prevent from your home have found a new home itself inside of your prized possession, where they chew on the wires like it's Dubble Bubble chewing gum. Now you might be thinking that's all you needed to hear so you're going to stop reading this and jump into your car and drive until the rats fall out BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
The pit fall of driving an older car during winter is the risk of (dun-dun-dun) the RUST. The terrible weather sometimes means salt on roads and trust us, salt and your classic Mini don't go well together. Here's a short chemistry lesson, the reaction between Sodium Chloride and steel yields iron oxide, which is also known as rust. And this reaction can happen very quickly underneath your vehicle on your frame and other parts.
So think twice before you drive your car on the streets where you're located. If the roads aren't salted take the winter precautions (bottom of the page) and enjoy cruising around. Just make sure you let your car warm up and take it easy when you first start driving.
This is a MUST and not doing so can do harm to your engine. You should take your car out once every few weeks to keep it in good shape. Driving will help maintain a film of protective motor oil on internal engine surfaces which can prevent oxidation and corrosion.
But not all of us are willing or able to drive their classic Mini during winter so we let our cub hibernate for the winter. You could just park your car in the garage and leave it in there for months but we wouldn't recommend that (cracks, leaks, rodents, you know the deal) so you're better off getting it ready for storage.
Luckily for you we've got classic Mini winter tips to help you get through the winter without to much worrying.
Lets start with cleaning
Sounds fun, right? No. That's because it isn't. But it's extremely important when preparing to store your classic Mini for months. Look for areas where rust can develop and clean them thoroughly. Don't forget the underside of your car. Debris is most likely stuck in it and needs to be removed before storage. Do a normal cleaning of the interior and exterior and you could even give your car a coating of wax.
Lubricate everything you can
Oil the hinges, joints, and whatever you can on the steering components and suspension.
Changing your oil and oil filter is probably a no brainer
But in case you didn't know this is a crucial step in maintaining your classic Mini's engine. Dirty or clogged oil filters can cause damage to your engine so help yourself by replacing both the oil and the filter.
You should drain the fuel system of your classic Mini
If you can do this by yourself that's great and more power to you, but everyone should use caution when performing this task. Fuel vapor is explosive and can linger around for long periods of time well after the completion. Use great ventilation where you're working and don't use matches, lighters, etc or anything with an open flame.
Check the coolant in your classic Mini
If you don't have the proper mixture of coolant and water you could end up with ice in your cooling system.
Remove the battery from your classic Mini and clean any acid on the surface with water and baking soda
Store it somewhere for when you're ready to drive again.
Putting your classic Mini on jacks can help to remove the weight on the suspension system and prevent flat spots on your tires
It is preferred to use the frame for this rather than an axle or suspension component. You could also clear some space to move your car once a month.
Break out the dryer sheets and soap to keep the rodents away!
Bounce dryer sheets work well and so does Irish Spring soap. Use the soap under the hood of your car to prevent rodents from nesting in it. Spread more pieces of soap and dryer sheets in areas of your vehicle for further prevention. Covering the tail pipes and the carburetor with rubber-banded bags is also a good idea. If you want an extra hand (or paw) get yourself a cat and put it on part time Mini patrol. Note: the scent of the soap can be very strong. Dryer sheets are more tolerable.
Leave the hood open and some windows cracked to keep the air circulating through your classic Mini
This will limit moisture build up.
Lastly and just as important get a cover for your classic Mini!This will prevent dirt and dust from getting on and into your car.
Winter Driving Precautions
- Check your battery before heading out for a drive. This would also be a good time to consider switching your old one out for a new battery. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the cold waiting for a jump.
- Replace your old tires with new tires with strong tread. This is crucial for the safety of you and fellow drivers and the safest option. Note: Also check your tire pressure.
- Upgrade your classic Mini's lighting to make sure you can see clearly through the night and rain/snow. If you're head lamps are foggy or yellow you should consider replacing them.
- Consider replacing your windshield wipers. This is an inexpensive upgrade to ensure more safety when driving your classic Mini. And make sure your windshield washer reservoir is full.
- Check to see if your weather stripping is dry and starting to crack. New weather stripping can prevent the cold winter air from getting through your classic Mini to you.
- Check the cooling system of your Mini. Make certain the antifreeze will protect your car during the winter temperatures you'll experience in your area. For most areas, you'll need a 50-50 mix of coolant to water. If you have leaks right now you should take care of it ASAP.
- Replacing your brakes will add more safety while driving during winter. Brake failure is one of the main causes of car accidents and brakes replacement can go a long way for a long period of time.
- Keep tire chains and tools such as a shovel so you're prepared for the worst. These will keep you ready for whatever happens and can get you and your classic Mini through tough situations.
- Most of all, DRIVE SLOW and DRIVE SAFE. None of these tips will matter if you think you're Alexander Rossi in the IndyCar Series. Drive slow and carefully and be fully aware of your surroundings.