By SAM SMITH
Spring is here, I can’t quite believe it but I’m wearing short sleeves again. With the weird winter we had I don’t even know when the changeover began. But even as we begin a new season of driving pleasure, I am sure that there are a few issues that British car owners should be aware of that may have cropped up while the car was stored.
First, check your fuel system, fuel lines and fuel pumps for deterioration and leaking. Ethanol mixed into the gasoline at your favorite refueling station will be wreaking havoc again this year. We already have had several issues this year with defective float needles and seats, probably also related to the ethanol.
Second, we’ve been reading about a growing problem with the current API-rated engine oil sold everywhere. With advances in metallurgy and machining, plus the desire to improve fuel mileage and reduce emissions, new automotive engines don’t need as many protective additives (zinc and molly something) as antique vehicles do and the oil manufacturers have deleted these additives from standard car motor oils.
As defined, most of our older British car engines are flat tappet designs, with the rotating lobe of the camshaft acting on the flat-bottom tappet to open the intake and exhaust valves. Without the correct additives the camshafts have been wearing out quicker (especially in newly rebuilt engines).
What is being recommended to us is to either supplement modern oil with additives that are now available from major oil companies; use an oil that is API rated for use in diesel engines as they still have the correct additives; or use a nonstandard oil, like racing oil, that also still has a full compliment of additives. But even these oils are subject to changing specifications so be careful when buying oil.
There are quite a few technical articles easily available right now and I recommend a little research or at least some light reading to stay abreast of current events in the oil industry.
And third, as the values of our cars increase, I recommend having everyone check their insurance coverage. I have spoken to several car owners recently whose cars insurance values had not been upgraded for some years and the owners were pleasantly surprised with the increased values. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these same owners have not invested more into their hobby than the car is worth but rather the profit and loss margin is shrinking. I shudder to think that we may actually make a profit some day.
I’m not an insurance broker and I certainly don’t know the finer points of insurance coverage so I highly recommend speaking with an insurance agent for more details.
What I think I know about insuring your little British car is there are three basic types of coverage.
1. You can add your LBC to the family’s standard auto policy, but this is the least desirable type of coverage. The “book value” basis for remuneration in a loss may be much less than your restored classic is worth.
2. You can buy a Stated Value Policy, and as I understand it, the insurance company agrees with you about the value of your car but in the fine print the company also agrees that they may not pay that value in the event of a loss.
3. Go with a good classic car insurance carrier with an Agreed Value Policy. It is reasonably priced but there are conditions, mostly minor, and you are most likely already conforming to them.
For all of the above issues, stop in or call us. I or my associates can give you additional info on these subjects.