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Classic Car Maintenance Tips | Maintain Collector Cars

Posted on 2020-01-17

Classic car owners often worry about how they'll keep the vehicle safe from damage. Knowing how to keep an antique car gives their owners greater peace of mind and keeps the vehicle running well. If you need tips for caring for a collector car, you've come to the right place. Volo lives and breathes classic cars, with a huge inventory of collector cars and an auto museum to prove it.

This article will teach you how to look after your classic car and incorporate these tips into your classic car maintenance.

Check on Important Areas of the Car

One of the first steps to maintaining your classic car is to keep an eye on some of the crucial areas. Checking fluids, watching out for rust and testing the brakes are all part of a complete maintenance package. To care for your car properly, you should routinely check these three main areas:

1. Check Fluids

One of the most important ways that you can protect your car is to monitor the levels of fluids in your car. Low fluids can cause damage to any type of car, but it can be especially damaging to older vehicles. The following tips will help you keep your fluids at the right level:

  • Change your oil: Keeping your motor running should be your top priority. Low oil levels or old oil can cause irreparable damage to your motor in a short amount of time. To prevent the damage from occurring, you'll want to check oil regularly and change it out consistently.
  • Change differential oil and transmission fluid: Though it's not as common as changing out your oil, you should still switch out your transmission fluid and differential oil regularly to keep your car running well. While newer cars only need the fluids changed out at the service interval, you'll want to switch the fluids out more often in a classic car. Ensure that you only use recommended gear oils or transmission fluids that have the right viscosity.
  • Flushing the cooling system: Whether you have a classic car or a new one,  the car's cooling system should be flushed out at least once a year. Once you've flushed the old coolant from the car, replace it with half distilled water and half coolant. This mixture should prevent any deposits from building up that will stop the fluids from easily flowing through the cooling system and corrode it.

2. Look for Rust

Another problem that classic cars typically run into is rusting. To prevent this, you can apply lubricant to areas where the corrosion has occurred. Lubricants such as WD-40 are known to do a good job of stopping the spread of corrosive rust spots. As a preventative measure, you can also keep the car away from water.

3. Test the Brakes

Whenever you take your car out on the road, you'll want to know that it's safe to drive. Test your brakes regularly, listening for any noises that seem off and feeling if anything is different when you press down on them. 

To care for your brake system, you should bleed the brake system at least once a year. This process will purge any air bubbles that, if left unchecked, will reduce the hydraulic pressure significantly. Also, watch the brake pads since uneven wearing can harm the rotors. Brake pads are fairly inexpensive to replace, so it's often better to switch them out than to risk damaged rotors.

Keep the Car Clean

The best way to protect your classic car is to keep it at all times. Unlike a regular car that needs to be washed every two weeks, an older vehicle that's regularly driven needs to be washed once a week for superior protection. Collector cars will be more susceptible to damage from dirt and grime build-up, making it crucial to know how to clean them properly.

classic car maintenance tips

Below you can find an overview of what you should be cleaning:

1. Clean the Exterior

One of the most important tips for caring for a collector car is that you should only handwash your classic car. Taking it to a car wash can damage it and not effectively clean it. When you handwash your car, you'll want to use cotton chenille towels or sheepskin washing mitts, along with a soft-bristled toothbrush for hard to reach areas.

While you're washing it, you'll also want to use a soap that's specially designed for an older vehicle and that will not dull your paint job. After you've cleaned the car, rinse it off and dry it with a soft towel.

When you're done driving your classic car, another tip for proper classic car maintenance is to hose down the undercarriage. By hosing it down every time you finish driving the vehicle, you'll wash off the dirt and salt kicked up from the road that would otherwise corrode the untreated metal surfaces under your car. Another commonly forgotten area is the wheel wells. To keep your car running for as long as possible, you'll want to wash the wheel wells out consistently. 

2. Wax the Car

One of the best ways to keep your car clean and safe while you drive is to make sure it has wax applied. Before you take your car on the road, the car should be cleaned, polished and waxed. By waxing it, you'll ensure that the car is totally protected from anything the weather throws at it. 

If you don't drive your car regularly, you should reapply the wax every few months to keep the weather, dirt and grime from harming it over time. For those who drive their classic car all the time, it's best to apply the wax more regularly, with experts recommending that you do so every six to eight weeks. 

3. Clean the Interior

When you clean your car's interior, you'll want to make sure you're using the right cleaners for the material of the interior. For example, vacuum a vinyl or leather surface with an upholstery attachment to prevent any damage to the material. Check the interior for fabric, vinyl, leather and plastic surfaces, among others, to make sure that you have the appropriate cleaners for each of them. After all, you don't want to damage your vehicle while you try to clean it.

In your cleaning process, you should remember to dust off your classic car with a microfiber towel. Additionally, you should vacuum it to get rid of any dirt since a dirty floor is more likely to retain any dampness. If a damp carpet goes unchecked, the dampness can go under the floor and cause rusting. 

Another good way to protect the interior of your vehicle will be to use UV blocking creams designed for leather or vinyl treatments. The material used in the interior will determine which treatment or cream you should use. Whenever you look to clean your seats or remove a stain, always do your research on what foam or cleaner will work best on it.

Find the Right Storage Space

Part of car maintenance is making sure that you have it parked in the right place. Classic car owners who know how to take care of their car will make finding a good storage space a priority. A high-quality storage place will protect the vehicle from the weather and stop corrosion on key parts of the vehicle.

A good storage place will not have a gravel or dirt floor, as this kind of flooring will increase the chance that moisture gets into the car and damages it. Flooring should also have good drainage, with common surfaces including concrete or asphalt. Additionally, a good storage place will keep your vehicle out of the sun while also storing at a consistent temperature that never reaches freezing. 

part of maintenance is storage

Tips for Storing Your Collector Car

After you've picked a garage to store it in, you'll still need to keep up with the car. Below you'll find some of the top storage tips to store your car correctly:

  • Avoid direct sunlight: If the place that you store your car has a skylight or windows, you'll want to keep the vehicle away from direct sunlight as it can fade the paint. To prevent the lighting from hitting the vehicle, place shades over the facility's windows or use a car cover over the vehicle. The best car cover will be lined for the best protection and be breathable.
  • Store in a damp-free garage: Along with avoiding direct sunlight, your car should be stored in a garage that isn't damp at all. Moisture and humidity can cause mold in the interior of the car as well as corrosion. If your storage facility is prone to humidity, you can use a dehumidifier or heater to help keep the garage dry. If you plan on storing your car for an extended time, keeping the garage dry is a must.
  • Leave windows down: Another way you can maintain your car is by leaving the vehicle's windows cracked open while it's in the garage. Having the front windows slightly down will reduce any musty smell that can build up in an older car, as air will be able to circulate freely through the car.
  • Don't use the handbrake: Handbrake cables on older cars have a tendency to seize up. To prevent any damage to the vehicle, you should know that it's best not to use the handbrake, and instead, chock the wheels. 
  • Have a full fuel tank: When you store your vehicle, you won't want to bring it in with a tank half-empty. If a car isn't driven for a while, condensation can form in a fuel tank, possibly resulting in mold. Keeping the fuel tank full will help you keep the condensation to a minimum. Topping off the fuel tank every time you bring it back to the garage is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your car running correctly.
  • Get rid of wipers: Wipers can be moisture collectors and, in cold temperatures, freeze to the glass, which can potentially damage the vehicle. You can either put the wipers into an upright position or just take them off when you plan to store the car for a long time. 
  • Disconnect battery: If you leave the car in a garage for an extended period, the battery is likely to drain. To keep the battery charged, it's best practice to disconnect the battery if you're planning on leaving the car immobile for over a month. 
  • Turn your tires: When your car is parked for an extended period, its tires can begin to warp or form flat spots. Turning your tires every couple weeks by taking it out on the road, or even just reversing it out of the garage and immediately back in, will help you keep the wheels maintained. If you're not going to drive the car for longer than a month, you may want to remove the wheels, stacking them horizontally.

Tips for Driving Your Classic Car

If you've wondered about how often to start a classic car or drive a classic car, you should know that one of the best ways to keep your car running smoothly is to drive it regularly. 

drive your classic car regularly

Typically, you'll want to drive your car once a month, if not more. The main issue that harms older cars comes down to it not being used consistently. When a car sits in a garage, unused for months on end, the rubber and the seals of the vehicle will start to dry out. The longer they go unused, the more they will dry up. When these components become dry, you'll open your car up to a higher chance of leakage.

To prevent the vehicle from leaking, you'll just need to drive it around semi-regularly. As car collection maintenance goes, this is probably the most fun maintenance job you can do. Driving the car once or twice or a month will help you slow your car's aging process significantly. When you take the car out, it's best to keep it running for at least half an hour. By running it, you'll get rid of any condensation or dampness that will have built up. 

Find Your Dream Classic Car at Volo

If you're looking to purchase your first classic car or want to add a new one to your collection, Volo Museum Auto Sales is your go-to auto destination. With a large number of classic cars, we're confident that we have a car that you'll love. Browse our inventory today to find your dream car.

If you have any questions while browsing our selection, don't hesitate to contact us.

find your dream classic car at Volo


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