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Finally back on the road.

Is it still there? Of course it’s still there! Your own classic car bearing the star is parked in the garage, waiting, full of expectation. The Mercedes-Benz had been well prepared and has spent the winter here. The vehicle is urging to get back on the road again now the cold season is over. Owners of young and older classics will tend to feel this kind of spring fever when they touch their SL, S-Class or any other of the brand’s classics. Or is their pulse just racing because they are looking forward to the new season of exciting joyrides and maybe even a meeting with like-minded aficionados?

Your vehicle needs to be prepared for its first outing to make the exciting start into the new classic car year a complete success. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

Winter is over and it is finally time to start the new classic year.
Gritted roads should be avoided with the Mercedes-Benz classic car.

1. No driving on gritted roads.

You don’t need to do anything to follow the first tip – just wait. We wouldn’t recommend taking your classic car out as long as there is still grit residue out on the road surfaces. Even if the tarmac is dry, raised salt particles will settle in the vehicle to form potential corrosive areas together with humidity. A trip on a wet road would coat the bottom of your valuable Mercedes-Benz with a thick and thus unfavourable layer of salt. For this reason, and even if it’s testing your patience: it’s better to wait for the first heavy spring rain to wash all the grit and salt off the roads. After that, there is nothing stopping your first joyride.

2. One return, please.

If you prepared your classic well for the winter break, you will have already worked towards a good start into the new season. Now you need to reverse some winter break preparations. Did you connect the battery to an intelligent charger to maintain its charging level? Then it should be ready for the first start. You can disconnect the charger. Did you inflate the tyres to a slightly higher pressure to prevent flat areas from developing during the winter break? Use an inflation pressure gauge to once again adjust normal pressure as specified in the Owner’s Manual. Have the windows been adjusted to ensure good levels of ventilation in the vehicle interior? You’re good to fully close the windows now.

Mercedes-Benz star on a classic car.
The windows have been adjusted to ensure good levels of ventilation in the vehicle interior.

3. Minor soft top care.

The soft top of Mercedes-Benz cabriolets and roadsters had been set to a relaxed position before the winter break. You now once again need to prepare it for everyday use. Apply a little care oil to all linkage joints to ensure overall smooth mobility. If the type-specific maintenance instructions for the soft top define specific steps, for instance for tension cable care, you should follow these instructions. After that you should open and close the soft top a few times to make sure the lubricant reaches all the nooks and crannies. Is it running smoothly and evenly? Visually check: Has the soft top fabric survived the winter break well, is there any damage, maybe around the seams? If you can’t identify anything, you are good to close it.

4. Lubricate if necessary.

More modern vehicles don’t require so much maintenance. But older ones feature something not all of us have ever come across: lubricating nipples. A press – operated manually or using a hydraulically powered drive – applies fresh lubricant to maintenance points in a targeted manner, for instance on chassis and suspension components. The old lubricant is simultaneously pressed out. In most cases, there is a lubrication plan for the corresponding vehicle type featuring all positions. All you need to do is follow it. Lubrication is an important, elementary care step for older classic vehicles and the corresponding mechanical system will return the favour with reliable operation and an extended service life.

Lubrication with a press is an important, elementary care step for older classic vehicles.
Finally the first drive of the season with the Mercedes-Benz classic car.

5. Starting the engine.

The time has come: The Mercedes-Benz is ready for its first drive of the season with its owner at the wheel. You fully topped up the fuel tank as part of your good winter preparations – and now it’s a pleasant side effect and basic requirement for the upcoming joyride. Turn the ignition key and the engine is brought to life. Let it run for a few minutes before you drive off. All electronic components have also come to life again. Some, for instance older radios, require an access code if the vehicle’s battery had been disconnected. You can now enter it.

6. On a test drive.

Finally you are back behind the wheel, you have all operating elements at your disposal and you let your classic car drive off: It’s like meeting up with a good friend and a particular pleasure after such a long break. One thing always applies, but particularly after the winter break: Carefully warm up the engine and major assemblies before you really make them work. Select a route with a matching distance, for instance fifteen or twenty kilometres so the oil and coolant can reach operating temperature. Seasoned classic car aficionados will not only direct their attention to the traffic, but also to the vehicle to spot unusual reactions or noises. You should trust your judgement, even if you have only become the owner of a classic recently: Don’t hesitate to ask a specialist if you are unsure and have identified something you feel is unusual. You could end up paying for costly repairs if you don’t.

Carefully warm up the engine and major assemblies.
Engine compartment of a Mercedes-Benz classic car.

7. Thorough check.

After the test drive, you need to park your classic and check it thoroughly. Is it losing oil or water? That would be an indication of a need for maintenance or repair work and you shouldn’t put something like that off for too long. However, if your vehicle has been looked after well, you will merely notice one thing after the season’s first outing: nothing. There were no issues during the joyride and it was once again a great pleasure to drive the vehicle. If you haven’t changed the oil as part of winter preparations, you should do so now.

8. Thorough wash.

You only washed the vehicle prior to storing it over the winter and now you should wash it again? It’s not essential, but recommended. Fast forward to tip no. 9: Washing the vehicle will prepare it for polishing. It removes dust and cleans the paint surface. We would always recommend special shampoos with preservation agents. If you use a car wash, choose a programme with wax additive. Care substances will reach inaccessible areas in combination with the water. Don’t forget the underbody, wheel arches and every nook and cranny when you clean it. Be careful with pressure washers when cleaning your classic vehicle: We recommend a minimum distance of 50 centimetres so the hard jet does not push water into major assemblies, for instance the alternator, ignition system or brakes.

Washing the Mercedes-Benz classic car will prepare it for polishing.
After washing, you need to polish the Mercedes-Benz classic car.

9. Polishing.

After washing, you need to polish the vehicle. It makes sure all surfaces are glossy and will refresh the colour. You are on the safe side if you polish by hand: Apply wax to the paintwork and evenly spread it around. Then polish while applying moderate pressure. Treat large components, such as the bonnet, roof or fenders in one go. Remove any polish residue. One side effect of manual polishing is that you have a close look at the entire body and can identify potentially damaged areas at an early stage to then look after them accordingly. In terms of polishing machines: It won’t take as long, but you need to know what you are doing. Otherwise, you will have polished off layers of paint and thus damaged the surface.

10. Sealing.

After having polished the vehicle, you need to seal the paint surface. This will make it more resistant to weather influences. Some polish already includes corresponding substances. Wax with preservation agent is a classic example. Apply it sparingly to the paintwork and spread it evenly without applying any pressure. Once again, apply the agent to larger surfaces in one go. After having allowed it to briefly dry, remove wax residue. Wax-free high-gloss sealant is an alternative that will also create a stable and glossy protective layer. And once you are done with this step, you can finally head out onto the road as you will be ready for the new season!

The Mercedes-Benz classic car is ready for the new season.
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

2 Die angegebenen Werte sind die „gemessenen NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 2 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153, die im Einklang mit Anhang XII der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 692/2008 ermittelt wurden. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Aufgrund gesetzlicher Änderungen der maßgeblichen Prüfverfahren können in der für die Fahrzeugzulassung und ggf. Kfz-Steuer maßgeblichen Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung des Fahrzeugs höhere Werte eingetragen sein. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch und die CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.