Classic Car Basics

We do all the normal and regular servicing and problem sorting. Engine, Electical, Brakes, etc. But there are a few simple things you can do yourself.

Easy Start

Starting Problems

These simple things are something that every owner / user should know !

So, you are trying to start your car which will not start (Only because you don't use it often enough.)

There are only two things that make an engine run:-
Fuel /air and electricity /spark.

If you have not used your car for a while, the more volatile components of your fuel with have evaporated and the fuel will be old.

Before you do anything else and start to worry, get some Easy Start, press the accelerator so the carburettor is open and spray in some. (This is just a volatile high octane fuel, and will give the dry engine a kick.)
Alternatively you can take off the air filter cover and squirt some in there, or perhaps just spray it all around the air filter.

Chances are the the engine will now fire up and do something when you try to start it.

The Choke

There is usually a choke control on a classic car. Use this as sparingly as possible, only if the the car will not start, then push it gradually back in as soon as possbile. Otherwise you will drown your engine with excess fuel.

Two spark plugs
Spark plug tool

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs can tell you a lot. The ideal spark plug should look like the one on the left. The dirty sooty one on the right is running rich - receiving more fuel than necessary, perhaps from excessive use of the choke or the choke not closing fully.

The first thing to do is to take out the spark plug for examination, using the spark plug tool shown below to the right.
Find the HT lead connected to the spark plug.
Pull on the rubber cover - NOT the wire itself - to remove the lead.
Next, put the socket of the spark plug tool around the plug and turn it anticlockwise. If the spark plug is too tight to turn, stop before you break it off! Try a bit of penetrating oil to help loosen it.

Always put some grease on the spark plug thread. Always.

The ideal spark plug is dry and optimal.

Connect its HT lead again.
Earth the plug by holding it down on the engine, ask a friend to try starting the car, and see if it sparks. (You will not get a shock if you hold it down on to a metal part of the engine.)

If you are sure that you have a good spark, then look at Fuel.


So, now it's time to have a closer look at the spark plug itself.

If it's dry, it is not getting any fuel.
Solution: Check the fuel supply.

If it is wet and / or blackened, you are trying to drown your engine.
Solution: Clean dry plugs.
Stop excessively using the choke or Easy Start. Don't let the engine sit round idling, get going as soon as possible or switch it off.

We have this basic starter kit to offer, to give you everything you need for annoying starting problems.

starter kit