For most classic car buyers, safety isn’t high on the priority list. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Car safety has come on a long way and you old car may be a deathtrap by today’s standards. Wear and tear may have also caused parts to become loose or ineffective, which could further pose a danger on the road. You’re never going to make an old car as safe as a new car, however making a few modifications to your car could make a world of difference. Here are just a few fix-ups worth considering.
Let’s face it, we all want to be able to stop quickly and efficiently in an emergency. Replacing the brakes should be your primary concern. Don’t just stop at new pads though – take a look at the brake system and see if this could do with being modernised. A modern disc brake system could be expensive to install but probably the most worthwhile you can make.
If your vehicle has old seatbelts (or no seatbelts at all) this should be your next upgrade. You can buy three-point retractable belt kits for most types of cars nowadays. Install these on every seat that you plan to have passengers.
Airbags can be another reassuring safety feature to have. Vehicles built before the 70s likely won’t have them, so consider getting some fitted. Many vehicles built in the 70s and 80s may have airbags, but if they’ve got plastic to metal seals it’s likely the mechanism may no longer function as effectively, so you’re best off upgrading these.
Various plastic seals all over the car may have started to wear and crumble over the years. This could result in parts coming loose. Exhaust pipe gaskets are one example of where seals may have started to deteriorate. Consider replacing these with some new copper exhaust gaskets. There are countless seals all over a car, so it could be worth getting a mechanic to have a look for you and pointing out any that are of particular concern.
Worn suspension will largely result in your car being a more uncomfortable ride if anything else. If the shock absorbers have started to wear, you may notice the car rocking or even nose-diving when you brake. Occasionally, bad suspension can affect steering, which is when you need to worry about safety. Various other faults could also have catastrophic effects if they fully fail. Broken springs and struts could make it hard to react in an emergency and may cause the car start to swerve at high-speed. It’s worth giving your whole suspension an inspection to check that there aren’t any problems. To be extra safe, you could consider fitting a roll cage on your vehicle to help with sturdiness and protect you in the event of a crash.
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