Owning a classic car is a big privilege but it’s also a pretty big responsibility. If you have a vintage vehicle, you’ll know that it’s a lot more than just a vehicle. It’s a piece of history.
Unlike modern vehicles, classic cars require a unique approach to care and maintenance that often goes above and beyond the call of duty. Here are five great tips to ensure your vintage vehicle continues to turn heads for years to come and stays on the road.
1. Park in a Garage
The first step in preserving the charm of your classic car is protecting it from external elements. A garage acts as a shield against harsh weather conditions, UV rays and potential threats like theft or vandalism.
- Rain, snow, and even the scorching sun can deteriorate a car’s exterior. The paintwork can fade and metal parts are likely to rust if exposed continuously.
- A locked garage is a deterrent against theft and ensures your car is safe from potential harm.
- Parking indoors keeps your vehicle free from airborne dirt, tree sap and bird droppings, which damage the paintwork over time.
If you live by the coast, you’ll have the added problem of salt in the air. This can be more corrosive, especially for older vehicles. It’s important to give your car a proper clean regularly (including the underside), especially after bad weather.
2. Regular Servicing
Routine maintenance is crucial for any car, but for classic cars it’s essential. Their unique components, age, and construction necessitate specialised care. You might not need an MOT for many older cars nowadays, but you do want to make sure that you keep everything in tip-top condition. That includes:
- Engine Maintenance: Regular oil changes using the right grade of oil and checking the coolant levels can make a world of difference.
- Brake Checks: Ensure that the brake pads, fluid and lines are in good shape. Remember, most classic cars don’t have modern braking systems, so they need extra attention.
- Electrical Systems: Older cars have simpler, but more vulnerable, electrical systems. Regularly check for frayed wires and ensure connections are secure.
3. Drive More Often
It might sound counterintuitive, but classic cars benefit from being driven. Long periods of inactivity can cause more harm than good.
Driving ensures that the engine oil circulates throughout, lubricating all necessary components. It also prevents the battery from dying or losing its charge. When it comes to tyres and alignment, a trip round town or into the country can do the world of good and ensure even wear.
4. Clean and Wax the Bodywork
Keeping your classic car’s exterior pristine is not just for aesthetics but also for its longevity.
- Use a gentle car shampoo to remove accumulated dirt. Always dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
- A good quality wax not only adds shine but also offers a protective layer against contaminants and UV rays.
- Many classic cars feature chrome details. Use a specialised polish to keep them sparkling.
One thing that can damage paintwork is bird poop. Especially if you live near the coast, you are likely to get some on your roof and bonnet if your car is parked outside. Don’t wait for the rain to wash this off, get rid of it immediately as it can be quite corrosive on paintwork causing unsightly blotches.
5. Don’t Forget the Interior
The inside of your classic car is as crucial as its exterior. An immaculate interior enhances the driving experience and retains the car’s value.
If your classic car has leather seats, use a conditioner to prevent them from cracking or fading. Clean the dashboard with a soft cloth but avoid harsh chemicals that could damage its materials. Finally, vacuum regularly and shampoo when needed. Consider using protective mats to safeguard against dirt and spills.
Check-in with White’s Bodyworks
Taking care of a classic car is nearly always a rewarding experience. The bond between owner and vehicle is unique, some would say quite strange. At White’s Bodyworks, we’ve got more than 20 years of experience helping classic car owners both locally and from all around the UK.
It’s something we’re very passionate about and we understand those little quirks that come with being a classic car owner. Whether you need a service to keep your vintage vehicle in top condition, you need repairs for the odd dent or ding, or you’re planning a full restoration, we can help with everything. No job is too big or too small.
Based in West Sussex, we’re family-owned business that takes classic cars seriously.
If you want to check out what we’ve been working on over the past few years then take a look at our portfolio page.