Classic car ownership is more than simply owning a beautiful piece of design and engineering – it is being a custodian of history. The value protection of motorised dreams is probably one of the biggest challenges for every car lover - for chrome jewels ought to shine, not rust away. Except during trips or rallies, classic cars spend most of their time inside a suitable garage where they are well-protected.
Owning and maintaining a classic car in top condition, enabling future generations to love it just like we do, comes with a tremendous responsibility. But it is more complicated than just regular wax treatments – especially if you are in an environment that suffers from high levels of rain or humidity like the UK.
Unfavourable garage climate is a frequent cause of vehicle damage. Especially in winter, damp and humid conditions constitute the vehicle's number one enemy. It is in cold and damp conditions where moisture collects on surfaces – particularly on cold metal surfaces. From there, it finds its way into the smallest nooks and openings, which can lead to corrosion. Synthetics and leather can become porous when the vehicle's interior suffers from sharp frost, causing moisture damage, damp & mould to form on interiors.
You may check the oil level and coolant of your classic car regularly, but do you also check the humidity level in your garage? All air contains a certain amount of moisture. We call that level the relative humidity, or RH, and express it as a percentage. The higher the RH, the more moisture is in the air within the space. Equally, the lower the RH, the drier the air is. High humidity is not necessarily an issue on its own - it is the cooling of air that poses the biggest issues.
When air cools, it holds less moisture than when it is warm. When the cold moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces - such as the cold metal surface of a classic car - water condenses on to the cold surface as the moisture in the air reaches its dew point. Water and classic cars - especially those that are prone to rust - do not go well together, so condensation is more of a threat than you might realise.
This moisture which condenses on to cold surfaces helps to create the ideal environment for corrosion and rust, as well as the growth of mould and fungal spores - something which can destroy irreplaceable original interiors.
There are a number of ways that you can control relative humidity levels in your garage and prevent moisture damage and corrosion. This includes improving ventilation and consistent heating, as well as custom plastic enclosures. However, the most effective, simple and reliable way to ensure a dry storage space is to invest in a suitable dehumidifier to extract the moisture from the air.
Using a dehumidifier, you can maintain a safe relative humidity level within the garage to protect your your cars, equipment, tools and any stored items from damp, corrosion, rust, mould and moisture damage.
High-quality dehumidifiers are cheap to run, extremely quiet and able to operate within strict tolerances, easily capable of keeping the air within the target 40-60% RH. Most modern dehumidifiers feature humidistats to switch the machine on and off as required, to maintain a set humidity level. This automatic operation is very convenient and saves money on running costs. It is especially important when the car has been taken out for a spin on a wet day. The dehumidifier will kick in when the car is brought back into storage and the RH level rises, in order to ensure excess moisture is removed from the air.
Dehumidifiers are available in a range of sizes, for different sizes spaces. There are also a number of different types available, from portable dehumidifiers to wall-mounted fixed dehumidifiers. Compressor (or 'refrigerant') dehumidifiers offer a simple, efficient and cost effective solution in spaces above around 5 degrees celcius. In unheated, cold spaces, desiccant dehumidifiers offer the best solution - as they are able to extract moisture in much lower temperatures than compressor dehumidifiers.
We have suitable dehumidifiers available in a range of sizes - so no matter the size of your garage or storage facility, we have the solution ready for you.