The 10 Best Ways To Maintain Your Classic Car

August 23, 2022

The 10 Best Ways To Maintain Your Classic Car

Owning a classic car isn’t just a fun activity—it’s a responsibility. Just like owning a piece of art requires commitment from the owner to ensure the work is preserved and maintained, a car owner must do the same with a vintage vehicle.

Our guide offers the 10 best ways to maintain your classic car that every owner should follow to ensure their vehicle stays looking amazing and functioning perfectly.

Consult the Manual

Whether maintaining your everyday car or keeping a classic running strong, your best tool will be the owner’s manual. Think of the owner’s manual as your vehicle’s bible—it contains all the essential information you need to keep your car running stronger for longer.

Make sure that when you buy a classic car, it has an owner’s manual. If the vehicle doesn’t have the original manual, most car manufacturers offer the owner’s manual for every vehicle they’ve ever produced available online for free. At worst, you might be able to buy a used one online from another car owner.

Keep It Clean

It’s obvious advice but still worth mentioning—if you want something to last longer, keep it clean. This advice is even more true for classic cars, where cleanliness helps a vehicle stay running and maintain its value.

Wash and wax your classic car regularly, even if you haven’t taken it out for a spin between washes—dirt and mold can take hold quickly and ravage a vehicle. Wash the car by hand—skip drive-through carwashes—and only use soap and detergents from auto shops specifically designed for cars.

Get It Serviced

Even if you don’t drive or use your classic car often, that doesn’t mean you can get lazy with its service schedule. It’s crucial to keep your classic car serviced, which means maintenance such as:

  • Changing the oil
  • Checking the transmission fluid
  • Flushing the cooling system
  • Inspecting the brakes
  • Repacking the wheel bearings
  • Lubing the drive-line
  • Checking ball joints

Pro Tip

Older models typically require special oil—consult the owner’s manual before changing the oil.

Rotate Tires

Tires are expensive and finding the right set for your classic car can be a chore. Instead of replacing your tires every couple of years, get them rotated regularly to keep and preserve the original tires.

Tires can wear unevenly, especially if the vehicle has been sitting in storage without moving for months or years. Ensure the tires are correctly inflated and take the car out for a spin every so often to work the tires.

Protect the Exterior

We all want our classic cars to shine and glisten for as long as possible, right? It’ll take some work to protect and preserve your vehicle’s exterior.

We mentioned washing the car regularly, but don’t forget about wax. A layer of carnauba wax doesn’t just make your vehicle shine like new but offers a layer of protection from dirt, dust, and harmful UV rays.

Pro Tip

If you’re serious about protecting your classic car’s exterior, consider investing in a heavy-duty paint protection film or ceramic coating.

Store in a Controlled Environment

Perhaps the best way to maintain your classic car and ensure a long and fulfilling life is to store it in a controlled environment. We’ve all heard stories of people keeping their classic cars in barns for decades, but that’s one of the last places you want your vehicle to rest for long periods.

A temperature-controlled garage is the best way to preserve a classic car. If that’s not an option, any place that’s dark, clean, and dry will be a comfortable spot for a classic car to rest. Just make sure there are no rodents or pests that can get after the car!

Pro Tip

If you’re storing a classic car for an extended period, disconnect the battery or install a battery tender to ensure it doesn’t die between uses.

Make Immediate Repairs

If there’s something wrong with your classic car or a part you must replace, don’t dawdle or procrastinate—make the necessary repairs immediately. We all know that repairs and maintenance on a classic car will typically be more expensive than a standard one, but that’s the added responsibility owners take when purchasing an older car.

If you must order new parts or hunt for old components that only fit your vehicle, get it done as quickly as possible. A classic car in top performance shape will last longer.

Skip the Upgrades

Adding some cool new parts or technology to your classic car may be tempting, but it’ll only decrease the value and cause problems. Classic vehicles with original or stock parts are always more valuable than those with modified parts and upgrades.

If you need to replace a part, stick with stock options for your model instead of modern ones. The closer the classic car is to the original manufacturer, the more valuable it is in the eyes of collectors.

Avoid Hazardous Driving Conditions

You may want to take out your classic car as much as possible but be wary of the driving conditions. A decades-old vehicle can’t take the same kind of punishment from the weather and road as it used to, so ideally, you should only drive it in pleasant conditions.

Avoid adverse weather and driving conditions—avoid dirt, gravel, or roads under construction when in your classic car. An occasional spin around the block in the rain isn’t a big deal, but it’s best not to make a habit of driving in potentially hazardous conditions.

Keep the Engine Warm

Don’t forget to drive the car! Some collectors find custom vintage cars for sale, purchase them, put them right into storage, and then forget about them for years.

But if you want your vintage vehicle to stay in top shape and persevere, it’s wise to take it out occasionally to let it stretch its legs and keep the engine warm. Ideally, you should take the classic car out once or twice a month for about 30 minutes—provided it works and runs properly.

We hope our guide has been helpful! Keep our tips in mind when caring for your classic car—we’re sure it’ll stay road-worthy for years to come!

The 10 Best Ways To Maintain Your Classic Car