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Month in Motoring, March 2024

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Month in Motoring, March 2024

If you blinked, you would have missed it.  If you missed it, you missed one of the most important months of the year for the average collector.   Why is March so important?  For much of the country weather is not great.  Winters grip still holds on. Days are getting longer but long enough to enjoy them outside.

So, March does not sound like a collector car owners dream month.  So why is March important?

The car hobby consists of two seasons.  Cars on the road season and cars in the garage season.  March is important because it signals the end of the garage season and welcomes the road season that launches in April.  And for many collectors who put off much needed maintenance on their cars, March is the last month that your can be up on jack stands, wheels off without the pressure that you might be missing car shows with your friends.

When cars are put away in late October, most collectors have made notes of work that needs to be done over the long winter.  The calendar pages look like a book with Spring a long way off.  But then, March is here before you know it.  And now you see why it is one of the most important months of the year.  Its is the final red light before the green light of summer.

March to me has always been one where I go over my final check list of what I need to do.  Most collectors have something similar. March should never be a month where major projects are started unless absolutely needed as you might miss the road season if everything does not go as planned.  So March to me is basic, but important stuff to go over.  Here is my list.

Fluids are the life blood of every car.  Oil, water and fuel make up those fluids.  Each one of those should be drained and replaced.  But never just drain and dispose.  Drain and review.  Oil may be dirty if you did not change it in the fall.  Make sure you run your fingers through it looking for any rough particles which could be a sign of bearing issues.  Drain the radiator in a bucket and look for rusty scale that could be an issue in your water flow.  Replace your fuel filter.  If you didn’t add any fuel stability fluid in the fall you may need to drain your tank completely in case the fuel went bad over the winter.

The fluid preparation is quick, easy and cheap and might be the most important pre-season review.

Then dig in a little deeper and make sure that everything that needs lubricant has been lubricated.  This is an area that many collectors overlook and regret later.  Make sure your rear end has enough proper gear oil.  Pop the wheels off and make sure your brakes are working freely and grease where needed.  On many cars there will be fittings in all the areas where grease needs to be forced.  Suspension and steering components are most commonly found.  Use spray lubricant on all the all the hinges.  And last lastly never forget to lubricate the hood release mechanism.  We have all seen long faces at a car show when an owner can’t open their hood.  Had they followed this checklist they might have avoided the embarrassment.

Lastly sit in the car and make sure everything just feels right.  Are the windows slow to go up and down? Does the brake pedal feel soft?  As you turn the steering wheel does it feel right?  As you go through these an additional touch points you are bound to find some things that need attention.

You are now ready to go for your pre road season drive.  March always has a day or two of good weather teasing you for the driving season to come.  Get on and put a few miles on your car.  When you get back, walk around once again double checking your work.  Make sure everything that should be tight is and look over anything that may have popped up while you were driving.  And don’t forget the tire pressure, including your spare.

The good news is that if you missed doing this check list in March, use one of the April showers days to complete the work so you will be able to then enjoy the May flowers later.

Happy Motoring.

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