Whether your car is a true rarity or just a prime example of auto manufacturing in days gone by, it’s important that you take the right steps to maintain your vehicle. Not only is your car a great looking piece of machinery and engineering that will turn heads wherever you go, but it’s an investment in terms of both time and money. Knowing a few simple maintenance tips will help you maximize that investment and keep it in great shape for decades to come.
Watch the Distance Traveled
One of the most important tips for maintaining a classic car might seem like the proverbial no-brainer. Watch how much you drive the car. Not only does a lot of driving add needless wear and tear to your vehicle, but those excess miles detract significantly from your vehicle’s value. If you’re planning a long trip, use your daily driver or consider a rental car.
Salt Is a Killer
While those in the Deep South won’t have to worry about this very much, a significant portion of the country does have to contend with the effects of road safety methods during the winter. Salting the roads is perhaps the most common way to deal with ice and snow buildup during the cold winter months, but that preventative safety measure can have devastating effects on your classic car. If you choose to drive your vehicle during the winter, make sure you wash it regularly to remove the salt buildup (it might be best to keep your vehicle in the garage until the threat of ice is gone).
Lack of Driving Should Not Equate to a Lack of Maintenance
Most classic car owners don’t drive their vehicles all that much, or for long distances. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about common maintenance items. Just because you only put 3,000 miles on your car in 10 years, that is not an excuse to ignore your oil changes, tire pressure checks and other inspection/maintenance items. Rather than being guided by mileage, use time to determine when another oil change is necessary. Even if you don’t drive your car very much, oil’s viscosity (its ability to lubricate) is lost over time. Change your oil regularly and check your tire pressure, hoses, belts and other fluids often.
Work with an Expert
Maintaining a classic car properly can be really difficult for the average owner. Even simple replacement parts (belts and hoses, for instance) can be hard to find. This can make routine maintenance a real pain in the neck. It might be best to work with a specialist to ensure that your car is maintained properly over its life. A mechanic who deals in classic cars will have a much easier time of it finding replacement parts, and will be much more familiar with areas that have more propensity for deterioration over time. Of course, you can certainly do it all yourself if you don’t mind turning wrenches, but an expert can bring a lot to the table.
Perhaps the most important consideration for maintaining your classic car has nothing to do with specific actions, though. Being vigilant and paying attention to your vehicle at all times is a vital component to ensuring that it lasts as long as possible and that you’re able to nip potential problems in the bud, long before they become huge headaches. Be vigilant, inspect your car regularly and have a plan in place for when things go wrong (because they will). You’ll find this helps you head almost everything off without it becoming a true disaster.
Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of a automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.