We’ve all been there—a summer day in the low 90s, crystal blue skies and nothing sounds better than an ice cream cone.
So you take your classic car out, maybe roll down the windows or take down the top for that extra boost of the old summer feeling. And then, out of nowhere, a rainstorm rolls in. Now you have to worry about water leaking into the interior, corroding the exterior and managing the drive home.
It’s a nightmare scenario.
Fortunately, as a conscientious owner of a classic auto, there are a number of steps you can take to prepare yourself for this scenario. If you and your classic wind up in a tight spot, you can stay comfortable because you’ve thought ahead.
Keep Up Your Wipers and Defroster
Keeping up on the maintenance of your classic is a constant hobby for most owners. Almost nothing is more important in a rainstorm than your wipers and your defroster.
Replace your wiper blades and frequently or you’ll find yourself suffering impaired visibility that can lead to dangerous driving scenarios. You may think you can get away with old wipers because you don’t take your classic in the rain all that often, but they’re still not designed to last longer than six months. If you hear any squeaking or see any smearing or skipping, it’s time for new wipers.
Your wipers also will work more effectively the more often you clean your windshield. Especially with a valuable classic, you should be using the gas station squeegee at every fillup. Just make sure to use a paper towel to clean the sponge first. Sometimes small rocks and other debris wind up in them.
Your defroster is also critically important to visibility in rainy scenarios. We all have had times we kick on the defroster only to find our windshields fogging even more. This can be caused by a number of problems, such as:
- Low coolant.
- A broken thermostat.
- Leaking coolant hoses or loose clamps.
- Radiator leaks.
- Water pumps.
- Engine fans.
It’s important to do regular maintenance on your cooling system to be sure your car is prepared for heavy weather.
Protect Your Paint
Water spots can put a damper on your car show. While it’s always ideal to use a trailer to move your vehicle when wet conditions arise, that’s not always practical. Purchasing a canopy to put over your vehicle during the rain can help protect you from water damage. We’ve written extensively about paint protection here.
Keep Up Your Tires
Because you don’t drive it the same rate as your daily driver, it can be easy to let your classic’s tires wear down a little too far before doing something about it. But tire maintenance is critical for those rainy-day situations.
Here are a few of the things you should keep an eye on:
- Tread depth: Healthy tires have treads that go two inches deep or farther. Mechanics recommend testing this by sticking a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing down. If any of his head is still visible, you need new tires ASAP.
- Tire Pressure: Check your tire pressure every time you take your classic out, before driving, this will give you the most accurate reading. Typically, the recommended tire pressure is written on the driver’s side door jam.
Drive Like a Professional
If driving in the rain makes you anxious, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are about 950,000 auto accidents every year thanks to rain and wet surfaces.
Here’s what you can do to mitigate your risks.
- Turn on Your Headlights: Even if it’s daytime, it’s the law in the United States to turn on your headlights when there’s bad visibility. Not only will this help you see more clearly, but it also will help others see you.
- Avoid Hydroplaning: Wet weather often will cause tires to slip and lose traction on the surface of the road (also known as hydroplaning). Scientifically, in order to hydroplane, you must have one-twelfth of an inch of rain and be going at least 35 mph—a lot less than most people assume.
- Drive Actively: It’s incredibly common for drivers to switch into automatic and let their subconscious brain do all the work. This is bad practice at all times but especially during a rainstorm when conditions are less than ideal and visibility is low. Active driving can help protect you and the others around you.
- Slow Down: Speed limits are only applicable in the right conditions. When you can’t see because of a thunderstorm, it’s time to slow down. And remember, even if your visibility is OK (since you took care of your wipers) other drivers may not be so lucky.
Have a Reliable Rainy-Day Plan
When the storms come, we’ll be right there by your side. Let Classic Auto Insurance customize a policy to fit your needs.
We offer affordable Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot.
Call (888) 901-1338 or get an instant quote online, and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.