Owning and caring for a classic car isn’t the same as caring for a new one. Classic cars need a lot more time and attention to keep them looking and performing well. Because of the age and condition of the parts, they need a lot of love to preserve their appeal. If you’re a new classic car owner, accepting the amount of care they require is the biggest hurdle you’ll face. Here are a few tips on how to take care of a classic car, so you can enjoy it for years to come.
Keep it Covered
During the winter months, especially in the north, it’s a good idea to hibernate your car. Keep it in a garage away from the weather. Wet, salt-covered roads are a gigantic no-no. The salt will eat away at the metal on the car and start rusting it. Keep it covered when you transport it to and from shows or where you store it, as well. If you can, use an enclosed trailer shipping company when you move it long distances, so flying debris can’t take a chunk out of the paint job.
Keep it Clean
Even if your car never sees snowy roads and temperatures below 50 degrees, it’s a good idea to wash it regularly. Don’t take it to an automatic car wash, though, as the brushes and high-pressure power washer they use will damage the car’s paint and finish. Use a soft cloth, mild soap with no abrasives in it, and the garden hose to wash your car. After it’s all shiny and clean, put a layer of wax on it to protect the paint and make it pop.
Even classic cars aren’t meant to sit in the garage all the time; they’re meant for you to drive and enjoy. Drive the car to keep it in good condition, and you can also find out if there are mechanical issues you need to fix. While the car is in storage, it’s a good idea to start the engine every other week, if not every week. Doing this will get the fluids and parts moving for a bit and keep them lubricated. You should also roll the car forward while it’s in storage, so flat spots don’t develop on the tires.
Never Customize the Car
If you ever plan to sell the car, don’t customize it in any way. The resale value of classic cars depends on how close to stock they are. This isn’t limited to just the look of the car, either. All engine components, mechanical parts, wheels, grills, and anything else that came with the original car needs to be on it. Collectors aren’t interested in slick wheels, aggressive stances, or aftermarket parts; they only want original classic cars.