Don't forget these 3 engine maintenance basics:
(And speaking of the Gulf of California, don't forget Targa Baja California, November 5-7. More info. Here is a fantastic video of Targa Baja California 2015.)
1. Change your oil.
We all know that when it comes to our vintage cars, oil changes are the language of love. We can't say "I love you" to our prized classic and then let old oil sit in the crankcase. The "every 3,000 miles" rule doesn't apply to our babies. They get so little mileage some years. Oil that sat all winter with residual gas, dirt and other contaminants in it... is going to break down. Yes, even though you didn't run the engine. And before you start with the oil change, now is a good time to check for oil leaks. Don't ignore them. Here's an excellent article on fixing recurring oil leaks.
2. Check your cooling system.
A radiator flush for your classic car is often a good idea. But at least check your coolant. A cheap testing kit will tell you if it's the optimal (usually) 50/50 mix. And your eyes can tell you if it's green (good) or brown (bad). So take off that radiator cap and look. In short- check for leaks, bad color, and keep your antifreeze full. (I know- you air cooled friends can ignore this- ha!)
So what about the newer Organic Acid Technology (OAT) types of antifreeze? The orange stuff. Isn't it supposed to last longer and extend engine life? Don't use it. Orange is the enemy of our beloved vintage cars. It can wreak havoc with our older style gaskets, as well as trash our radiators over time. To be safe, stick with the recommended coolants for our specific cars... usually green. (I'm open to hearing your thoughts on the new "universal coolants" if you want to post a comment below.)
3. Keep your engine in tune.
You should visually inspect:
- Spark plugs
- Spark plug wires
- Distributor cap and rotor
If you aren't into "under the hood" engine maintenance, take it to your favorite mechanic and have them do the under the hood inspection. Make sure you also check your air and gas filters at the same time. Air and gas filters for classic cars are simple front-line protectors of your investment.