Managed 1100 miles this year, caught short by the fuel panic at the end of September – absolute pain looking at beautiful skies but having nothing in tank. I didn’t feel like being strung up by attending a petrol station in the Caterham!! In future I’ll be keeping that tank full, lesson learnt!
So now time to get ready for winter. I don’t want to take the car on the roads over winter as they tend to be covered in salt/grit, it gets cold, darker and just isn’t what I wanted to use the Caterham for. Handling apparently a lot harder and short days with low light in sky is another drawback. As a result the car will stay in the garage.
There are lots of approaches people take to winter it seems. I did the following:
- Full tank of fuel (I use super unleaded)
- Clean it well inside and out
- Put a couple of large silicon moisture absorbing pads in the driver and passenger footwells. I have no idea if this will add any value, but had them lying around so thought it was worth doing to help prevent any moisture build up
- Inflated tyres to 26 PSI (Usually run at 22PSI) – will check these sporadically throughout winter
- Handbrake off and used chocks to secure the wheels (instead of bricks!)
- Connected battery trickle charger using the ring connectors and running wires underneath the car, so I can leave the bonnet on
- Put the roof and doors back on and cover with the cover bought from caterhamparts.co.uk
Every few weeks I’ll go and roll it forward or back a bit so it doesn’t sit on one particular area of the tyres. In particular I’ll keep an eye out to make sure the battery trickle charger is still running, and for any sign of rodents in which case I will lay down traps.
I considered jacking the car up to rest on axle stands, but that operation comes with some degree of risk (screwing up and dropping the car), which I felt outweighed any potential reward so opted to keep it on the ground.
I have decided it is easier to leave the car fully insured year round. However, I got my reminder in the post that the tax is due 1st Dec … 280GBP for the year or 24.50 per month as a direct debit. So I decided to do a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) which is actually incredibly easy to do on the gov website. Just filled in the 11 digits from my V5C form (you can also use the 16 digits on the V11 reminder letter you get sent). The car is now registered as off the road, so I can’t drive it on roads until I tax it again. I’ve written this on a piece of paper in capital letters next to my keys because I have memory of a sieve!
I will tax it again in March once the weather improves. When you tax it again, you can start driving that day. In future, my MOT will be due in December, you are apparently allowed to drive a SORN’d car to and from an MOT, so this won’t be an issue. It’s only saving 100 – 150 quid a year, but that’s better than nothing and adds up over years.
In mid December I got the car out onto the driveway, started up and just let it run for 15-20 minutes.