How to Care for a Vintage Car

A pristine classic car is a beautiful thing, but it requires special care to make sure it stays in perfect condition. Whether you have a vehicle you purchased 40 years ago, or you recently bought the classic car of your dreams, there are a few very important tips to keeping it looking great and running reliably for years to come.

Regular, Routine Oil Changes

We all know that routine oil changes are one of the easiest things you can do to keep your vehicle running great, but it’s even more critical to establish a regular routine with your vintage car, especially if you don’t drive it often. Over time, oil can break down and lose the ability to lubricate your engine properly; a good rule of thumb for a car that isn’t driven frequently is to change your oil every 6 months.

Start Your Car Every 2 Weeks

Since most vintage vehicles aren’t driven that often, it’s important to keep an eye on your engine, cooling system, power steering, transmission, and drive axle for leaks. Starting your car up every 2 weeks will move the fluids through it and lubricate the engine and transmission, protecting it from hardened seals that could cause leaks.

Wash Your Car by Hand

As tempting as an automated car wash can be for the sake of convenience, it’s essential to handwash your vehicle to preserve the paint. Whether you do it yourself or take it to a car wash that offers hand washing, you’ll want to make sure that any materials used on the paint; shampoo, wax, polish, etc. aren’t abrasive. Also, be sure to use soft towels and sponges to prevent any scratches.

Wax Your Car

Waxing the exterior of your car is essential to keep your paint properly conditioned and help it retain its luster. It should be waxed every six months; be sure to apply a thin layer of wax in the shade, or else it may harden too quickly and be difficult to buff out. You’ll also want to make sure that the car is completely dry before applying the wax.

Check the Brakes

If you don’t drive your car very often, it can be hard to keep track of when the brake pads or shoes need to be replaced. Check them every once in a while, either by bringing it in for a service or pumping the brake at a stop sign to check for squealing. If you hear squealing, this is a sign that they’re worn down to the metal, which can cause damage – as well as being a safety issue. It’s also important to have the brake lines and cylinder or calipers checked for leaks. While you’re storing your vehicle, it’s a good idea to back up your car and then move it forward a short distance to keep your brakes from seizing.

Store Your Car in a Safe, Protected Place

Keeping your vintage car in a protected temperature-regulated environment will prevent damage from the elements and rodents. It’s also recommended that you use a car cover, even when you’re storing it in a garage to protect it from dust or other debris. If your car sits for an extended amount of time, it’s at risk of rodents moving in. Rodents and mice will often chew on wires and other components on cars that sit for an extended period of time, but you can take certain precautions to prevent them. Put moth balls in the cowling, engine compartment, and truck, and softener sheets on the tires; some owners also spread moth balls around the outside of the vehicle along with traps. Matching paint for a vintage car can be challenging, as can removing rodent odors. It’s essential to take necessary steps to protect it from pests to prevent expensive repairs.

Taking care of your vintage car is more work, but it’s completely worth it! If you have any questions about your vehicle or need repairs, give us a call at 626-966-5212. While we don’t do body work, we do specialize in vintage and classic car repairs from troubleshooting problems to complete replacement of mechanical and electrical systems!