Classic Car Maintenance Tips

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Collector Car Appreciation Day falls on July 9th this year, and classic cars are so much fun! They can also be a lot of work.  We want to make sure you are confident with your classic car, even if you are a new collector.

Collecting classic cars has been a favorite hobby for many Americans for a long time.  It involves a good deal of commitment to have the vehicle restored and maintained, but well worth it if you love cars.

When vehicles were introduced to us, Americans were suddenly able to have new adventures, and travel across the country independently.

Collectors of these beautiful vehicles from the past keep history and memories alive. There are amazing classic car museums all over the country as well as many collectors that may be as close as your next door neighbor.  If this is an interest of yours, you can find many people that will teach you and tell you the stories of their own cars.

They restore and maintain old metal, engines, and blinkers. Crank, push-button, or throttle starters once rusting in a barn rev to life. Specialists take great care to find the right part or color, and skilled artists put their hard labor to work restoring a single collector car. They spend hours on end painting, repairing, rebuilding, and welding to recreate the final result of a pristine collector car.

Another though that is often on the mind of a Classic car owner, is how to keep the car safe from damage.

Here are our tips for maintaining your classic car:

Be sure to check the fluid levels in your car regularly.

  • Change your oil. This is extremely important to keep the motor running in your vehicle.  Low levels or old oil can cause damage to your motor quickly.
  • Change differential oil and transmission fluid. This should be done regularly but doesn’t need to be done as often as your motor oil. Make sure the gear oils and transmission fluids you use are the right viscosity.
  • Flush the cooling system. This should be done yearly. The old coolant should be replaced with half distilled water and half coolant. This mixture should prevent any deposits from building up that will stop the fluids from easily flowing through the cooling system and corrode it.

Check for areas that may be rusting. Apply lubricant such as WD-40 to areas where corrosion has occurred to try to prevent spread.

Test your brakes regularly. Make sure everything feels right and sounds right so you are safe on the road. You need to also bleed the brake system yearly. This if done to purge any air bubbles that could reduce the hydraulic pressure. Also, switch out the brake pads as needed so you don’t damage your rotors.

Keep it clean.  If you drive the vehicle regularly you should be washing it once a week to keep it protected. Collector cars are more susceptible to damage from dirt and grime build-up.

  • Classic cars should not go through a carwash. Be sure to wash them by hand. Use cotton chenille towels or sheepskin washing mitts, along with a soft-bristled toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. Use a soap that’s specially designed for an older vehicle and that will not dull your paint job. After you’ve cleaned the car, rinse it off and dry it with a soft towel.
  • When you’re done driving your classic car hose down the undercarriage. This will wash off any debris from the road that could corrode the untreated metal surfaces under your vehicle. Also be sure to wash the wheel wells out regularly.
  • Before you drive your vehicle make sure it has been cleaned, polished, and waxed. This protects it from weather that may come while you are out. If you don’t drive your car regularly, you should reapply the wax every few months. If you do drive your car all the time, it’s best to apply the wax every six to eight weeks.
  • Clean the interior with the right type of cleaner for the material you are working with. Dust off your classic car with a microfiber towel. Vacuum it to get rid of any dirt on the floor so it doesn’t retain any dampness or smells. When cleaning seats or removing a stain, always research what foam or cleaner will work best for the material.

Store it Properly

You need a good storage place for your vehicle that will protect it from the weather and stop rusting from occurring on the vehicle. Be sure it has a solid floor with good drainage that does not get damp.

  • Avoid direct sunlight being on your vehicle.
  • Store in a well ventilated, and dry garage.
  • Leave windows cracked open to reduce any musty smell that can build up in an older car.
  • Don’t use the handbrake instead chock the wheels.
  • Keep your fuel tank full. Keeping the fuel tank full will help you keep condensation to a minimum.
  • Store the car with the wipers in an upright position or just take them off when you plan to store the car for a long time.
  • Disconnect the battery if you’re planning on leaving the car immobile for over a month.
  • Turn your tires every couple of weeks by taking the vehicle out on the road or just moving it out of the garage and back in.

Driving your vehicle around semi-regularly is one of the fun parts of maintenance. Taking it out for a spin once or twice a month can help slow the aging process significantly. Take it out for at least 30 minutes to get rid of any dampness that may have built up while it was sitting.

Of course, you also want to be sure your classic car is insured! This will give you peace of mind while you are enjoying your time driving around.  Here at John Scott Insurance Agency, we can help with that.  Just reach out and we are happy to talk cars with you.  We want to hear everything about your baby and help you to make sure it is well protected for years to come.

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