So, you’ve finally achieved your dream of buying a classic car. You’ve taken it out for a spin, and it’s everything you hoped it would be. But, this isn’t the end. While you now have the car and can drive it whenever and wherever you like, you must take care of it.
Considering how much you spent on this car, proper care and maintenance are of the utmost importance, but if you’ve never owned a classic car before, y6o7u may not know where to start. For first-time classic car owners, here is everything you need to know, with ten ways to care for and maintain your favourite new toy.
Storing your classic car in your garage is the best way to protect it from the elements. This will prevent the onset of rust that could severely damage the look and style of the car. If you don’t have a garage on your property, you should be able to find a service that will store the car for you, even if it comes at a monthly price.
Usually, these services will understand what is required to care for classic cars, so you can trust it is in good hands.
Start it regularly
You need to start your classic care regularly to ensure everything continues to work as it should, and there is no risk of anything seizing. When starting the car, let it reach the optimal running temperature so that everything has time to ‘warm-up’, and you can also take it for a quick ten or 20-minute drive if you can to keep the brakes from sticking, or hydraulics malfunctioning.
You’ll likely try to get out in the car as often as possible, but if the weather doesn’t permit it, starting it often is the next best option to ensure consistent performance.
Don’t engage the handbrake
As your classic car will be an older model, there is a risk of the cables seizing up if you leave the handbrake on for too long. Of course, you need the handbrake, especially if you need to park on a slope.
To overcome this, keep the car in gear even with the engine off. You can also put blocks behind the wheels and twist the wheels into the curb to prevent the car from drifting down the slope. This isn’t ideal in terms of parking, but it will prevent the handbrake from the handbrake getting stuck.
Unhook the battery
If you know you won’t be able to get to your car to start it for a while (and also don’t trust anybody to shoulder the responsibility for you), it’s wise to unhook the battery. This will stop the battery from going flat, which allows you to get back into the car and drive off when you return.
If you don’t trust yourself to unhook the battery, a professional mechanic could offer advice. Alternatively, battery trickle chargers will also prevent it from going flat if you can’t drive it for a long time.
Top up the fluids
Oil and water levels are two of the most important things for your classic car, so you must check and top-up the fluids when necessary. While modern cars will alert you when the levels are running low, this may not be the case for older cars, so you’ll need to be diligent.
Failing to keep these fluids at the correct level could cause severe issues. So, if you don’t trust yourself to remember, make a note on your calendar to remind yourself when you need to replenish oil and water, as well as other fluids that are vital for safe and efficient driving.
Check it over
You might think you know a lot about cars, but your knowledge pales in comparison to a mechanic. If you want to guarantee your classic car continues to work, get it checked over and serviced every year.
You’re best off seeking out a mechanic who has plenty of experience with classic cars, particularly those of the same make as yours so they can identify common problems and offer the right solutions.
Use the right cleaning agents
You should clean any car, but you must clean your classic car as often as possible. During the summer, this is a great way to kill time over the weekend, although it isn’t as fun in the colder months.
You’ll want to ensure you use the right shampoo as well to prevent streaks or problems with the paintwork, so look at dedicated products such as Williams Racing wash and wax car shampoo that will make cleaning easier without going to a car wash.
Keep the windows open
Nobody wants to get into their car and get hit with a funk. Old cars have a habit of creating this, though, so you’ll need to keep it ventilated. This is easy enough to do by cracking the windows slightly, as it will allow air to circulate without allowing the elements to damage the upholstery, or invite any critters in to take up residence.
Avoid fluctuating temperatures
Fluctuating temperatures can have a severe effect on your classic car, so you must avoid these as much as you possibly can. Switching from hot to cold and back again too suddenly could cause condensation, which may lead to mould and mildew. This is the last thing you want for your car, so block any gaps in the garage and keep it well insulated.
Love it as it is
The chances of you customising your classic car are slim, but there are horror stories of buyers getting too overzealous and missing their cool modern gadgets. The whole idea of a classic car is to celebrate the period it was made, so while you might miss your Bluetooth and GPS, it’s essential that you love it as it is and don’t customise it to maintain its integrity.
The first few weeks of owning your classic car will be obsessive. You will check in on it every few hours. You’ll make sure that any mud or stains are quickly dealt with. If you want to guarantee your classic car survives the test of time, you must keep the care and maintenance up for as long as you own it, ensuring money well spent.
** This is a collaborative post