Losses and Lessons: There’s a snake in my Jag!


WHAT WENT WRONG: The owner of a classic Jaguar, invigorated by the spring sunshine and eager to take his car out for its first drive of the season, tossed back the cover, cranked the engine and hit the road. Minutes into the drive, however, the Jag’s engine began to overheat. After the car was flat-bedded to a service station, the mechanic discovered a large snake wrapped around the drive-belt pulleys, causing the belts to slip off and the car to overheat.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The Jag owner was fortunate that the snake, which made a fatal decision to curl up inside the car’s engine compartment, didn’t cause major damage. Cleaning the engine bay, replacing the belts and flushing/refilling the radiator resulted in a repair bill of $528.85, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: Whenever your classic has been stored for more than a few weeks, give it a thorough inspection and perform basic maintenance before hitting the road. Sure, the extra effort takes a little time (generally minimal), but it could save you from costly repairs. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure all your car’s fluids are at correct levels.
  • Check the brake system.
  • Check the pressure and condition of the tires.
  • Inspect belts and hoses.
  • Make sure all lights work.
  • Check to see if your battery is fully charged.
  • Look for mice nests, chewed wires or other signs of animal activity, remove debris and repair any resulting damage that might diminish the car’s performance or affect your safety.
  • Take your first drive close to home, just in case, and re-check your fluid levels when you return. While the engine is warm, check for leaks.
  • Everything check out OK? Enjoy the ride!
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