5 Tips to Keep Your Hot Rod stored safely for the Winter

If you have to ask what a Hot Rod is then you are probably married to someone who has 1000 lbs of American steel sitting in the garage for a good portion of the year.  If you need to know where it came from it probably started the first time a caveman jumped on an animal that he wasn’t supposed to and went faster than he could run.  It’s about speed and power. It’s about beauty and the culmination of the human know-how expressed in steel.  

It started in a few different places, cops and rum runners playing catch during prohibition, and in Southern California where the dry lake beds offered great raceways.   When the boys came back from WW II the military had given many of them the ability to get under the hood and spread the fever across America.   One thing stands out here, it was born in America.  

Now that the season for showing off the cars is coming to a close here are 5 tips that will help you tuck your baby in for the winter.

  1. Don’t ignore her.   Gaskets and hoses dry out if they don’t get lubricants, and condensation can build up in your block and rust it from the inside. Once a month you need to get your motor going and take her for a ride.
  2. Draw the fluid out of the brake pump or reserve.   If she’s been sitting around you’ll get moisture in there.  You might not need to do a full flush if you’re keeping her moving but if not get her tight. Remember brake fluid bottles that have the seal broken can collect moisture too, if they’re from last year; lose ’em.
  3. Use a quality, clean, car cover.   Sheets and tarps carry dust that can etch away at paint.  A good indoor or outdoor cover can help keep the shine on your car.   Covers also get dirty.  Check the washing instructions and keep that puppy dirt free.
  4. Plan out your projects.   Winter is the best time to work out the small details. There’s no rush to show and you can take your time on it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get help.   It can save money and time to have a pro get those onesie twosies worked out.  An experienced mechanic has resources and networks that individuals don’t often have access too.  

 You can always bring your Hot Rod to us and see what we can do to help.   It’s a lot easier for us to open hood and figure out what’s going on under there.  We have years of experience in dealing with Hot Rods and a pure passion for steel and grease.   We all share the awe of a great souped up car and you’ll see it in our eyes when you roll her in.

The America Hot Rod is more than just a hobby.  At the end of the day it represent everything we know about steel, wiring, fluids, and rubber.  It’s the ultimate American expression.  




Quick Tips to make your car last longer

Engine Oil

Chances are, the first thing you ever learned about on your first car was how to check your oil. You have to do this in every car and pretty much every car has the same basic process to check it. In most cars, you just need to pop up your hood, find the oil dipstick, pull it out, and wipe it down. Repeat that again and you'll have your oil level. If it's in the safe level, continue on your merry way. If it's not, you need to add more. Depending on the age of the car, you may or may not need to add oil pretty often. If your car burns through a lot of oil, it's worth scheduling an appointment so we can see what's going on under the hood!

How often to check it:

It was once recommended that you check your oil every time you fill up with gas, but with most modern cars you're safe checking it once a month.

How often to replace it:

This depends on the car, manufacturer, and year. The "3,000 miles or every six months" saying doesn't really apply any more. Instead, check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for changing your engine oil.

Transmission Fluid

Your transmission fluid is what keeps the gears on your car moving smoothly. You can check your transmission fluid the same way as your engine oil, except the car should be running when you do it. Unlike your engine oil, transmission fluid is part of a closed system, so it should never be low. If it is, bring it in for a checkup with Rocklin Automotive. Instead of volume, you're looking at the quality of the fluid. The fluid should be red and not smell burned. If the fluid is brown or smells burnt, it's time to replace it.

How often to check it:


How often to replace it:

This varies from car to car and depends on transmission type, but it's typically between every 50,000-100,000 miles.


As the name implies, coolant, aka antifreeze, keeps your car running cool. If you ever run low on coolant, your car's probably going to overheat. The coolant is inside your radiator and you can typically check it by simply removing the radiator cap when the car is cool (never check it when it's hot or your car is running) and looking inside. Once you remove the cap you should see a line the coolant should come up to. If it's low, you can add more, but make sure you add the same type of coolant currently in the car.

How often to check it:

At least twice yearly: once before summer and again before winter But it's easy enough to glance at whenever you pop open your hood.

How often to replace it:

Every 2-3 years.

Brake Fluid

Just like your transmission, your brake fluid is part of a closed system so you shouldn't ever be low on it. That said, it's still worth checking to make sure it's clean. Brake fluid keeps your brakes working properly, so if they ever feel a little off, checking your brake fluid is usually the first step. You can do this by checking the brake fluid reservoir on the driver side of your car. You can usually check the level just by looking at the outside of the container. The fluid should be a golden color. If it's brown, it's time to replace it.

How often to check it:

When you change your oil.

How often to replace it:

Every 2 years.

Power Steering Fluid

Your power steering fluid helps keeps your steering smooth and easy. When the power steering fluid starts to get low, you might feel a "creaking" in the steering wheel or hear some weird sounds. To check it, all you need to do is pop the hood and find the reservoir. Usually you can check it visually by looking at the reservoir. Power steering fluid doesn't usually drop too much, so if it's low, it's worth taking your car into Rocklin Automotive to find the source of drop in fluid.

How often to check it:

Once a month.

How often to replace it:

Between 50,000 miles and never. Typically speaking, most car manuals recommend keeping the power steering fluid levels topped off, but you'll rarely need to flush and replace it. Double check your owner's manual to make sure you can ignore yours.