How To Take Care of a Classic Car
Whether you got a great deal or spent years restoring it yourself, owning a vintage automobile comes with a certain level of caretaking stress. From maintaining the engine to keeping the finish looking good as new, classic cars require a soft touch and some basic mechanical knowledge. If you’re looking forward to many years of long drives with the top down and the radio playing, here are a few tips on how to take care of a classic car.
Watch the Fluids
Basic advice for maintaining any car: keep the fluids topped off and clean. Periodically check the levels on the oil, brakes, transmission, radiator, washer, and other fluids that keep the car running smoothly and relieve stress on the vehicle. Older vintage vehicles might not require power steering fluid or the like, but you should still check with your mechanic. Ensure all filters are regularly changed as well, and your car will thrive. Of course, bring it into a skilled mechanic for regular checkups.
Keep It Clean
Looks aren’t everything, but they’re certainly a big part of the appeal of owning a vintage vehicle. Store it where sunlight, precipitation, gravel, door dings, and the like can’t damage it. Cold weather is no friend of vintage cars either, decreasing tire pressure and causing wear and tear, increasing oil viscosity, and icing up fuel lines. Keep your car warm on and off the road. Finally, give it a good wash, vacuum, and wax every few weeks—just be sure to pick a cleaner with a gentle touch.
Find the Right Mechanic
You can’t bring a vintage vehicle to just any mechanic. Classic cars require specific parts and services, and your average car repair chain probably doesn’t have anyone who specializes in them. Word of mouth and great references are key. Ask for recommendations at vintage auto shows and on classic car owner forums. Look for online reviews as well. When you contact the mechanic, make sure they have specific experience with your make and model. Finally, give the mechanic a “test run” with a small repair and see how they handle it—and you—as a customer.
Hit the Road!
Want to know how to take care of a classic car? Drive it. A vintage car is never truly happy (nor is its owner) unless you take it out for a spin every few weeks. When you put the pedal to the metal, you’re ensuring the fluids are flowing, any moisture in the engine is blown out, and all the moving parts are getting a real workout. Don’t push it too hard, of course, but make sure your classic car isn’t just a museum piece posing in your driveway or your garage. You’ve got it—flaunt it!
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