TIRES: Having a flat tire or blowout on the road is not only irritating but can be very dangerous! Check for proper inflation and unusual wear patterns, as well an cuts and tears. Be sure to check between the tread for cracks. Replace them if they are defective.
BODY EXTERIOR AND CHASSIS: Clean and polish the body, chrome, brass and/or nickel. Remove the dead bugs and other residue like mud and tar globs. Grease all the fittings just to be sure they will accept grease. Donít forget to do the springs that have gaiters or other covers. Lubricate brake linkages, cross shafts, cables, clevis pins, and while your there, check cotter pins to see if theyíre still in place. It might be a good idea to check the brake linings and adjustments for both the foot and parking brake systems.
If your car is young enough to have hydraulic brakes, check for leaks, check for fluid level in the master cylinder as well as inspect the flex lines and wheel cylinders. Since brake fluid absorbs water, this might be a good time to consider flushing the system and replacing the fluid. The brake cylinders that donít rust over the winter are the ones that will work well in the spring.
While youíre under your car, this is a good time to check your transmission and differential for proper lubricant levels as well as for signs of leaking. While youíre looking, check the drive shaft and universal joints, as well as the tie rod ends and steering gear box. Be sure to check for free play in your steering system in general. See if you have any crankcase or valve cover leaks or any other oil leaks around the engine.
Engine: This is a good time to warm up the engine and change the oil. Stay with the same make of oil you've been using but, depending on your location and any anticipated winter use, you may want to change grade. Check the engine wiring, starter cables, spark plug wires and any other wires found in the engine compartment or under the dash. Look for loose of frayed wires and do something about them before you have an electrical fire.
Remove the spark plugs and inspect them, and replace them if necessary. Donít forget the points and condenser either.
BATTERY: Make sure that itís clean. You can wash it with a solution of baking soda and water and then rinse it off and dry it. Top off the fluid level with distilled water. Never add more acid to any battery.
Batteries can discharge due to moisture and dust across the top between the terminals. Clean the terminals and posts, replace and tighten them, then coat them lightly with Vaseline. Donít coat the posts or the terminals before you re-assemble them, as that can cause a poor connection which will result in a voltage drop which causes poor starting and erratic charging.
Radiator: Now is a good time to change antifreeze, itís a good idea to flush the cooling system before you add the new solution. Youíll be amazed how much crud can come out of your engine and radiator. Even in warm climates most manufacturers recommend a 50/50 mix with water. (Distilled is a better choice than tap water, since it wonít leave any mineral deposits behind). . Check and replace any hoses and clamps that do not look up to snuff. Be sure to check your fan belt(s). If your water pump has a grease fitting, grease it with water pump grease, not regular chassis lube. Use a hand gun to keep the pressure low. You donít want to blow out your seals!. Clean all the bugs and other stuff from your radiator.
FUEL SYSTEM: Rusty tanks is the single major reason for breakdown on the road. So be sure to replace that fuel filter or if your car does not have on install one.
With all these things taken care of, you should rest easily and be ready to enjoy a trouble free Classic Car.