HOW TO START YOUR CAR AFTER A LAY-UP
AND HOW TO TRACK DOWN THE PROBLEM IF IT FAILS TO COOPERATE
WHEN YOU THROW open your shed doors to wake up a classic that’s been languishing for a lengthy period, don’t be surprised if the car displays less enthusiasm for the start-up plan than you. Machinery hates to lie unused for long periods. Achieving success on the first start-up is therefore likely to require a bit of extra effort on your part.
This guide covers the basics of starting a laid-up car and explains what to do if it fails to play ball. It should also come in handy if your car suddenly decides not to start in any situation throughout the year.
The basic principles of an internal combustion engine are pretty simple. A cylinder will fire if it has fuel, a spark delivered at the right time and compression. If it doesn’t fire, you just need to identif y which of these ingredients is missing, then work out why it’s missing.
We’re assuming the engine turns over in the first place. If turning the key brings a feeble click or a deathly silence, check the battery condition, the leads and connections to the batter y and starter, and all major earth connections. Tap the starter smartly with a heav y hammer to jolt stuck carbon brushes into action.
Remember to give the car a thorough once-over before roaring triumphantly onto the street. At the ver y least, check all f luid levels, make sure all the lights work, carefully inspect the braking system and check the tyre pressures. Undertake a couple of short trips first, keeping your eyes and ears open for anything peculiar.