Maintenance 101 for Classic/Vintage Cars
If you are a proud owner of an old classic car, you may have an emotional story to share about how you came to possess it or how your family has cared for it. Apart from the nostalgia, it offers an exotic asset value. Certain popular models which are no more in production, like the Ferrari 250 GTO (1962-1964), are auctioned for extremely high prices. You need to put in special efforts to preserve your old vintage cars in fine shape.
Classic car maintenance includes protecting the exteriors as well as the interior of your vehicle. It may be difficult to find replacements for outdated auto-parts or mechanics who understand the technology used. You can consult our experts at British Auto Specialists who offer various services for vintage automobiles at reasonable prices.
How to Keep Your Classic Car in Working Order
Only with regular upkeep can you keep your classic fresh, dependable and desirable. Take precautions even while storing your vehicle; a garage would be ideal for this. Always use a breathable, waterproof car cover and use an under-seal for protection against rust and excessive heat. Understanding the make of your car by reading the product manual will help you in taking the right decisions while repairing. Here are few classic car maintenance tips to preserve their vintage appeal:
- Drive it as often as you can – Avoid being overprotective about your car and take it for a spin every once in a while. You can take along a friend with you to assuredly detect unusual sounds or problems which you may have grown used to. A good drive for longer durations burns moisture in the oil and the exhaust system. It will also help in avoiding flat spots in the tires and charging-up the battery. If there is salt on the roads for snow, wash it from the tires after the ride.
- Wash regularly – Don’t let your classic car sit in the garage and look like a clunker. Use a microfiber mitt top to wash it, and dry with a microfiber towel as they don’t scrub off the paint.
- Check the fluid levels – Coolants and oil should be present in sufficient amounts. The water/anti-freeze should be ideally maintained in a 50-50 ratio. You may want protection against lower temperatures like minus 35-degrees centigrade as the fluids freeze around this point. Change the oil and filter every year. Always top-up the oil as an empty tank can allow mold to grow, and keep an eye for leaks.
- Tires – The quality of tires affect the ride. Pump them up to the correct pressure and check for damages if any. Make sure you are not using illegal tires.
- Lighting – Verify whether all the lights in the vehicle are functional including the headlights, indicators and the number plate bulb. Visit a mechanic if something doesn’t work.
- Battery – Check the acid and water levels along with the terminals as they may corrode with time. You should be extra cautious with the batteries, especially before the winters. They have to cope-up with the extra demands of heating. You can disconnect them to preserve their charge.
- Grease – Some old car models have provisions to regularly inject fresh grease, minimizing wear and tear between the moving parts. Check the car’s handbook or manual for more information.
- Pump the breaks – You will definitely not want the brakes to be squealing. They need regular maintenance for proper functionality. Pump them whenever you start the engine.
- Hoses – It is essential to check the flexible hoses for signs of splitting, bulging and other damages. This is to ensure hydraulic clutch and brake systems function adequately.
- Wipers and washers – Check for the windshield washer fluid, wipers and windshield. Your vintage car may be exempted under the Ministry of Transport, but you are supposed to keep them in working condition by law. Keep the wipers in an upright position as they can freeze onto the glass.
- Keep the windows open – Musty smells and odours can be prevented if you allow the air to circulate through open windows.
- Ensure the handbrake is off – Never leave the handbrakes on, as the cables can stop functioning in older vehicles when done so. Instead, you can chock the wheels.
- Turn the tires regularly – If you end up not driving your vehicle for more than a month, at least turn the tires. You could just reverse it out of the garage and back in. It is recommended to remove the wheels and store them horizontally somewhere dry while the car is raised on a jack-stand.
- Treat rust spots with lubricants – You can wipe the rusted and corroded spots with lubricants to prevent it from spreading.