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Top 10 Tips for Classic Car Care

If you keep a classic car in your garage, then caring for it isn’t quite the same as looking after a regular new car. There are some important and particular things you need to do to ensure that it stays in good condition and thus at a decent value. Whether your car is a piece of personal nostalgia or a serious investment to possibly sell at a classic car auction, the following tips on classic car maintenance should be of use to you. 

1. Keep Up with All Regular Maintenance

The one thing classic and modern cars do have in common is the need for regular maintenance on things like the oil and other fluids, filters, belts, hoses, and similar components. In fact, with older cars lacking in some of the modern warning systems, it means that your in-person checks are more important than ever.

2. Drive it At Least Once a Month

This seems counterintuitive to some who want to keep their classic “baby” protected in the garage and free from any harm. The fact is, however, that like any other car, it benefits from a proper drive at least once a month. The frequency of once a month is about the minimum you should maintain, but if you can do more, then you should, such as once a week.

3. Replace Brake Fluid Once a Year

Brakes can be a source of worry for some when driving classic vehicles. There’s always a fear that older, less advanced brakes might break more easily or simply become defunct. It’s a genuine worry but can be remedied by a simple test pumping of the brakes when starting a journey to ensure they’re working properly, and a fresh batch of brake fluid once each year.

4. Storage is Key

Classic cars are susceptible to the corrosion and additional wear and tear that nature’s elements can bring. Their age makes them particularly vulnerable. Therefore, storage is a critical factor. Any and all weather extremes must be guarded against, such as keeping the car out of direct sunlight, with a dust cover if possible. Indoor spaces should be dry, ventilated, and properly insulated, and the temperature carefully regulated.

5. Regular Cleaning and Waxing

A good cleaning, drying, and waxing of your classic cars will do wonders. It keeps dust and dirt from getting embedded into the paint and maintains a protective skin to keep the paint in good condition. Be sure to only use soft microfiber towels to dry, and a clean and fresh microfiber mitt for washing. Avoid using old sponges and rags.

6. Don’t Modify

If you’re hoping to preserve the car as an investment and want to sell a car on consignment, then it’s important that you don’t make modifications to it. A big part of your car’s value is its original feature. The more original it is, the more it’s worth to other collectors. If a modification becomes necessary for safety reasons or because a certain component is simply not available, then it’s unavoidable, but you should avoid modification wherever possible.

7. Rinse Your Winter Tires

If you live somewhere with harsh winters where snow is common and roads are salted, then you should be sure to rinse off your tires after each drive. Road salt is a big enemy of your car’s paint and metal. It can cause corrosion, and that’s incredibly dangerous if the rust happens to be on your car’s suspension or wheel axles.

8. Treat Rust as Soon as You See it

If you spot a little rust, don’t despair but deal with it as soon as possible. Have the area sanded down and repainted. It can be costly but it will cost much more if you leave it too long and have to get a larger paint correction job done. Small rust spots you could fix yourself with a DIY kit to save some money, but leave it to the professionals if you are at all unsure of what to do.

9. Keep Everything Lubricated

When you drive modern cars with slick and long-lasting synthetic oils, it can be hard to appreciate just how much extra attention the engine and related parts of a classic vehicle need. For example, you need to take extra care to lube the u-joints and driveshaft because if they’re not greased properly, the result can be premature damage.

10. Be Sure to Repack the Wheel Bearings

Finally, besides lubrication, you should also keep a close eye on the state of your wheel bearings. You need to ensure that they are property cleaned and checked, and if they need it you need to repack them with the OEM-recommended original grease where possible, or a recommended equivalent. Ask a mechanic, expert, or even a vintage car dealership on that particular model for tips on which to use.