How to Trace a Charging Fault

On alternator-equipped cars, the ‘ignition light’ (more correctly described as the no-charge warning lamp) should extinguish as soon as the engine starts and shouldn’t be seen again. With a dynamo it’s quite normal for the light to glow at idle, though it should go out by about 1500rpm. If your warning light is on, indicating… Read more »

Prepare Your Classic for Winter Driving

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t run a classic through the winter if it’s first prepared by thorough inspection and rustproofing. First of all, make sure the tyres are in good condition and have at least 3mm of tread. If you cover a lot of winter miles, a set of winter tyres is a worthwhile… Read more »

How to Strip a Car to Metal in Preparation for Paint or Welding

There are a number of ways to get your classic ready for restoration. Traditionally, shells were sanded or sandblasted back to bare metal. In recent years, chemical dipping and high-temperature baking have both become popular ways of removing paint, under seal and rust. Each method has advantages and pitfalls and it’s hard to say which,… Read more »

How to stop pinking

How to Stop Pinking

You’ll probably have heard pub experts discussing ‘pinking’ in relation to ignition timing on a classic. This problem occurs when the mixture in the cylinders ignites too soon, hammering the piston and con-rod into the crankshaft as the crank web is still pushing the piston up the cylinder. This is heard as a light rattle… Read more »

How to fit an ammeter or voltmeter to your classic

How to Fit an Ammeter or Voltmeter to Your Classic

Before fitting a voltmeter or ammeter to your classic, there are a few things you need to know. Any car fitted with an alternator is best suited to a voltmeter. The alternator charges adequately under almost all conditions and the voltmeter can simply be used as a cursory check of the regulated charging voltage and,… Read more »

How to cure overheating

How to Cure Overheating

There are many ‘sticking plaster’ solutions often applied to an overheating classic. However, in truth, auxiliary fans and special coolants should seldom, if ever, be necessary if a standard engine and standard cooling system are in good condition. Overheating is the result of an underlying problem. First, check that the engine’s correctly set-up. If it’s… Read more »

How to grease your nipples

How to Grease Your Nipples

Grease nipples were used in the days before sealed-for-life suspension ball-joints. Not only do they allow extra lubricant to be applied, but the unsealed joint allows old grease and crud to be pushed out as the new grease is forced in. Unfortunately, neglect causes problems as the old grease solidifies and becomes contaminated with water,… Read more »

How to Avoid Paint Reactions

Paint reactions are usually caused by solvents in the new paint penetrating the old coating. To avoid them, it’s important to understand a little about the solvents used in common paint systems. High-order solvents such as toluene (an ingredient of cellulose thinners), have a sickly-sweet smell and evaporate quickly. Low-order solvents like white spirit have… Read more »

How to Avoid Flat Spots on Tyres

If laying your car up for a period of more than a couple of weeks, it will be beneficial to over-inflate the tyres by about 10psi, providing this doesn’t exceed the maximum pressure marked on the sidewall. Keep them topped-up and periodically jack and rotate each wheel to ensure it doesn’t sit too long on… Read more »

How a Simple One-Man Brake Bleeder Works

A basic, ‘one-man’ brake bleeder is essentially a length of hose with a one-way valve to allow fluid out and prevent air being sucked back in. The very cheapest tyres have a bung in the end of the tube and a lengthways razor-slit just above it. They work fine, but after a year or so,… Read more »

How to Correct an Over-Reading Temperature Gauge

It’s amazing the number of classics where an aftermarket temperature gauge or sender doesn’t read ‘normal’ when it’s fine in reality. Owners know these quirks and many simply choose to live with it, knowing that the needle just before the red is fine but any higher is less so. Sender units and gauges are matched… Read more »

How Do I Stop My Transmission Whining?

Whining may have more than one cause, so it’s important to try to understand where it’s coming from in the first place. It’s important to stress that whining that slowly asserts itself over a period of time is not generally a sign of imminent collapse. A sudden onset of noise might be a harbinger of… Read more »