For many of us in the UK and Europe, April is looking rather odd. Normal operating procedure at this time of year is preparing the car for the season, getting last minute jobs done, attending a few local shows and possibly getting out to some of the larger ‘season starter’ gatherings. The worldwide CoronaVirus crisis has confined many classic cars to garages for longer than usual, so to help get through these quiet times we’ve compiled a list of things to do whilst still confined at home.
Our resident SL expert, sales director, respected marque connoisseur and Pagoda owner Bruce Greetham has put together the following:
It all starts with a list. Write out all the jobs that are outstanding, things that you know need doing with your car. Next narrow it down further by highlighting the ones that you are:
a. capable of…
b. have the parts and tools on hand to complete, or…
c. could complete but you need to order some parts
If there are jobs that require parts to be ordered, there are still plenty of specialists available who will dispatch items to you.
Our parts store is still operational, and sending parcels to customers, for example. Our staff are happy to assist with your parts enquiries to help you keep boredom at bay.
Here’s a few simple ideas to stave off boredom, keep you entertained and keep your classic Mercedes-Benz in ship-shape:
Tyre pressures (including the spare)
Do you know the exact pressures your tyres should be at? If not, now is a great time to learn. It might even be worth making a sticker or card you can stash somewhere in the car, after all, with old cars, the manufacturers original stickers have often gone missing during repaints or worn away, more so on the older Pagodas. We offer a replacement tyre pressure sticker set for W113.
Learn your fuses and relays
Do you know where you’d find a fuse if an electrical part of your car stops working? Take the time to learn where your fuses and relays are; you never know when that might help. If your car doesn’t have a manual, make yourself a cardboard map of your fusebox. When you’re in the rain in Southern France trying to get your wiper motor working again, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste your lockdown time!
Lights and levels
It might not be MOT time but when did you last check all your bulbs? It’s easy and cheap to replace bulbs, so why not take the chance to refresh yours. While you’re at it, make sure you order a spare set for touring. It’s such a small and easy thing to carry, and there’s nothing worse than realising at the last moment that you’re missing a spare part that could so easily have been procured and carried.
This forced lockdown is a great chance to complete the tedious jobs that you’d normally overlook. You might check the fluid but have you ever deep cleaned your washer bottle? This is something that applies to every car, not just a classic Mercedes-Benz! Generally the washer bottle is easy to access and remove. Take it out and give it a thorough clean.
Lubricate your locks
Clean your engine and check for oil leaks
Use some WD40 and a rag and go to town on your engine bay, it’s both therapeutic and rewarding. How far you go is up to you, but we’ve seen on twitter that one motoring journalist has already taken a Dremel to clean up his ABS pump. Seems that boredom gets to people in different ways…
Spend an afternoon with the car on a good quality set of ramps, clean everything carefully and then run it up to temperature. A clean engine bay makes spotting leaking or dripping oil much easier.
Check your Spare Wheel and tools
When did you last check your spare wheel? Is it up to pressure? Is the tyre any good, for that matter? Whilst you’ve got the spare out of it’s home, lubricate the jack and brace. Does the tool kit cover what you need? I doubt it, so get online at our parts store and order the things you’re lacking. Spare fuses, old wire, insulation tape, bulbs, spare fan belt, spare oil. clean out that drain hole before putting the spare away. You could even replace the drain hole plug if yours is showing signs of aging.
Deep clean alloy wheels, care for your soft-top, treat your seats
Often when we clean our cars we pay special attention to the paint and chrome work but only give lip service to the seats, soft-top and alloys. Now is the time to change that and get busy!
Seats and Interior
When was the last time you treated your seats with a leather balsam? Leather needs nourishment, so find a high quality leather treatment product and spend an afternoon improving your cabin. There’s a fair amount of leather in an SL, especially if you are lucky enough to have rear seats.
Does your soft top get neglected, or is it regularly cleaned? For some owners, the soft top remains stowed beneath the decklid for most of the year. Taking the time to give it a proper clean can prolong the life of your soft top, and increase your enjoyment of the car. Make sure you clean the mechanism and the internal bars too, wire wool should do the trick on the metalwork inside the soft top frame. After all you spend most of the time looking at this inside the car which can be irritating.
Alloy wheels can be a pain to clean, and to do it right takes time, with multiple products called for. Why not remove the wheels and do the job properly? Clean off all the road grime from outside and inside the wheel, then treat them with alloy wheel cleaner. Add a layer of polish, then re-fit the wheels. Now might also be a good time to refresh those rusty old wheel bolts – these are a best seller in our parts store.
Lube seat runners
Do your seats slide swiftly, or do they bump and grind? Removing the seats is easy on an old car. Whip the seats out, give the carpets a deep clean and lubricate the runners before putting everything back together. You’ll be glad you did.
This is a bit more involved, but is a well worth while home DIY task. Remove the front and rear bumpers, clean inside and refinish with a protective paint. Bumpers corrode from the inside our as road grime and mud collect from underneath. The best way to clean this out is to remove them and do it properly. Our parts store has everything you need if things require replacing before you put the car back together.
Bruce’s SL Specific Top Tips:
Mercedes-Benz Pagoda SL Tips:
Get those heater sliders fixed, it’s an awkward job but is rewarding once it’s complete! Find the parts in our online store here.
Fit some retractable inertial reel seat belts, a very easy DIY job and well worth it for driver and passenger comfort and safety.
Mercedes-Benz R107 SL Tips:
Check the vacuum valve on the bulkhead, it’s an easy one to replace and it will make a difference to warmth in the cabin.
Thanks for reading, if you are indulging in any of these activities, do keep us updated via email and on social media.
Let us know how your SL is helping you through these quiet times. We’ll all be out on the road soon in enough, driving incredibly clean classic cars!
Post photos of you and your SL in isolation in the comments, or email to [email protected]