Moisture levels in the storage atmosphere can lead to tarnishing, corrosion, rust and mould which will damage your car’s appearance, performance, and value. Using a high-quality multi-functional dehumidifier to ensure that the relative humidity (RH) stays at a constant and safe level can protect your car from moisture damage and keep it running well for years to come.
Why is humidity a problem when storing classic cars?
Humidity (moisture in the air) is responsible for a number of issues in classic cars and left unchecked, can cause serious damage. Even in a clean and well-maintained garage, moisture in the air can cause problems. Controlling the temperature is not enough because it is the relative humidity that influences moisture in the air, causing condensation on the car’s surfaces. Relative humidity should be maintained at between 35% and 55% to ensure protection from moisture damage.
How humidity can damage classic cars
Humidity in a classic car storage environment can lead to tarnishing, metal corrosion and rust happening at a faster rate than usual. It can create a musty smell in the interior of the car and lead to the swelling of wood panelling and even rotting of the wood. Leather interiors can also be damaged by moisture, which can create cracking, deterioration of the material and even mould growth.
Moisture getting into the engine will also negatively impact performance because mechanical parts are susceptible to corrosion and rust, and rubber seals will perish at a faster rate.
Many classic car owners use car covers when storing their vehicles. Unfortunately, while covers will protect a car from dust and grime they can actually trap moisture inside leading to damage.
A multi-functional dehumidifier - the best insurance against corrosion, rust and mould
The best way to control the storage atmosphere and maintain optimum levels of humidity is with a multi-functional dehumidifier. Controlling temperature is not enough because moisture needs to be removed from the atmosphere.
Humidity Solutions, a Cotes Partner in the UK, spoke to Rory McGregor who came to them with humidity issues in his garage. Rory is a private collector from Kent who has a 138 m³ 4-car garage and together with Humidity Solutions fitted a Cotes CR120B to the wall to remove humidity in the air and funnel the moisture outside the building.
“Now it's bang on 55%RH winter or summer. The power consumption isn’t that bad either”, says Rory as he reflects on the performance of the dehumidifier.
Classic cars are especially vulnerable to damage to bodywork and interior fabrics from humidity. High atmospheric moisture levels can speed up the corrosion of metallic surfaces and lead to degradation of fabrics or even lead to mould growth.
Controlling moisture build-up through dehumidification, rather than by simply controlling temperature, is widely accepted as the most effective option for protecting the vehicles while at the same time optimising energy efficiency.
Installation is as easy as ‘plug and play’
Multi-functional dehumidifiers are so easy to install that they are adaptable to a range of situations and perfectly suited to classic car storage.
Lars Westgaard, a classic car collector in Denmark, originally bought a Cotes CR290B dehumidifier when he was building a new house with a big concrete garage underneath. After putting the dehumidifier to use in several spaces, he now uses it in the garage where he stores his collection of classic cars. To keep his prized vehicles in pristine condition, he chose to not exceed 45% relative humidity.
“This dehumidifier unit has been so easy to use. It really is just a question of ‘plug and play’!” says Westgaard.
Protect your pride and joy
Whether you are the owner of a single classic car or have an extensive collection, avoiding the costly damage that humidity can cause is one of the keys to protecting your investment. A classic car is a work of art and a valuable asset. With an easy-to-install, energy-efficient, low-maintenance multi-functional dehumidifier you can avoid moisture damage and keep your treasured vehicle or vehicles in top condition.
The Cotes range of desiccant dehumidifiers, also called adsorption dehumidifiers, is the ideal solution. Models range from free-standing mobile units to larger bespoke designs, with drying capacities from 0.6 kg/hour to 162 kg/hour and air volumes up to +40,000 m³/hour.
Desiccant dehumidifiers also introduce a low level of heating that supports the dehumidification process and help to gently dry vehicles that have been garaged whilst still wet from the rain.
Images above: Rory McGregor, a private collector from Kent has a 138 m³ 4-car garage and uses the Cotes CR120B.
Image above: Auto Classica storage, Milton Keynes has a 1000m³ commercial storage barn and uses the Cotes CR400B.
One of Humidity Solutions' clients, Bill Stafford, is a private collector from Oxford who has a modest sized garage of 65m³ and therefore only needed the Cotes CR120B. Similarly, Dale Homes, a private collector from Dorset, has a larger garage of approximately 200m³ and chose to use the Cotes CR240B that can handle a larger volume of air.
If you need a dry-air solution for your garage or any other private or industry application, ask our experts for a dry-air solution recommendation.