Why Your Classic Car Deserves the Best Treatment

Whether you classic car is a rare and extremely valuable sports car, or a more humble, but equally cherished vehicle, it’s likely that you’ve made a considerable investment in it. That may not be in purely financial terms, it could be the effort you’ve put into restoration or it could just be an emotional thing.

How ever you look at it, your classic car deserves the best you can give it, so let’s look at a few inexpensive ways to help ensure you can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

Proper Maintenance Means OEM Parts

If long-term value is important, not only is regular maintenance important, so are the components you use. Wherever possible you should use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts – those that were specified for the car when it was built. That goes not just for obvious components, but for little bits and pieces like spark plugs and oil filters.

With some classic cars these aren’t always easy to find. Either use a specialist garage, or check with owners clubs. Even if originals are no longer available they should be able to recommend an acceptable replacement. Don’t just go for the cheapest option. Not only will it devalue your car, it could cause long-term damage.

Beware The Environment!

Prevention is better than cure, they say. Part of that prevention is keeping your classic vehicle regularly serviced and in top mechanical condition. The other part is being careful about its environment – and it’s about more than just the weather.

We all know that rain causes rust, so if you can avoid inclement weather so much the better – but if you enjoy driving your vehicle it’s bound to get wet sometime. How much you worry about it depends on how precious your classic is to you, but it’s a fairly quick and easy job to dry bodywork (keep a specific cloth for the task so you don’t risk scratching paintwork).

More serious are the effects of salt, and what professionals call “bird lime” (droppings, to you and me).

The first you’ll pick up when there’s been ice and snow. It might make the road safer but it’s extremely corrosive to the underside of your vehicle and should be avoided if at all possible. The second is surprisingly acidic and can start to eat into your paintwork in a matter of hours.

If you find droppings on your car, clean them off as soon as possible. There are a number of waxes and protective products that can apply when you clean your car that will also help prevent this kind of damage. A regular cleaning regime, inside and out, will not only keep your car looking it’s best, you’ll also notice things that need attention while they’re still minor.

Regular Driving Or Not?

Although some people wrap their classic cars in cotton wool (or in hermetically sealed and environmentally controlled containers), it’s actually beneficial for them to be driven. It lubricates the moving parts, keeps batteries in good condition, etc. Old tyres can degrade quite badly if left sitting for any period.

If you are going to leave it parked for any length of time, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery and store it separately (be careful that stoppers are properly secure so you don’t spill acid). There are products you can place in the interior to absorb moisture, which can damage fixtures and upholstery. Again, you can get advice that’s particular to your classic from owners clubs.

Finally, make sure you have adequate cover in case of collision or accidental damage. Classic car insurance is usually very affordable, particularly on restricted mileages, and you’ll ensure you get proper compensation. A general policy might not view your vehicle as having the kind of value you have invested in it.

Gillian Kearney has extensive experience as a classic car trader. Her articles mainly appear on classic and vintage car blogs.

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