Classic Cars - Knowing the basics

Paul Lines By Paul Lines, 29th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Transport>Cars

Before investing your hard earned money into a classic car it is important to know the basics

The need for taking car of your classic car

You have just invested a sizable proportion of your savings in a classic car and, no doubt, your hope is that this vehicle will not only give hours of driving pleasure, but also appreciate in value over the coming years. This is almost certainly the case. However, the way to ensure that the future value is being maximised is to take good care of your classic throughout the time it spends with you. There are a number of aspects to caring for your classic, some which may be time consuming, although a real enthusiast will not mind spending time with their prized possession. But let us first deal with those aspects of care that do not take time and are indeed based more on common sense.

Interior and storage

The interior of a classic car is very sensitive; after all, it has been around a few years. One of the first rules I make with a classis car is never to allow smoking, eating or drinking by anyone whilst in it. Smoking will eventually discolour the fabric of the interior and this eventually may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Discolouration of this nature is likely to spoil the interior appeal and lead to a loss in value. Similarly, eating and drinking will create an element of mess, and certain products can again damage the fabric. At best it will increase the amount of cleaning you have to do and why make-work for yourself for the sake of people having to wait a few minutes until a rest stop?

Staying with the non-time consuming care, it is important when the car is not being used, to store it under cover in a dry location, such as a garage. To provide additional protection you should also use a car cover to reduce the effect of dust, insects and other damaging particles. Keeping you car in a covered storage area will not only protect it from the elements, but also help from a security viewpoint and, to this end, it is important to ensure that the garage is securely locked and alarmed. Even though it is assumed that your classic is fully insured, it will still be heartbreaking to you if it is stolen or damages.

Driving care

The final part of the non-time consuming care is the driving of the car. There are two aspects to this. The first is the way you drive the car. Whilst, especially if your classic is a muscle car, there may be a temptation to race it, remember that it has seen a few years. You don't have to push the car to its limit to prove to yourself or anyone else that it is a power machine. Drive the car with care and consideration and this will reduce your maintenance and repair costs, and it will keep the mechanical parts in much better working order.

The second aspect is weather conditions. It is important to avoid driving the classic in severe weather conditions, such as heavy rain, winds, ice and snow. In heavy rains, ice and snow there is a greater risk of accidents, so why tempt fate? In high winds nature can do damage to your car by throwing branches of trees and other objects at it, which might be costly to repair. In addition, in freezing and snow conditions, the chemicals that the local authorities use to clear roads cam be damaging to the bodywork and increase the risk of rust, which again may be expensive to correct. Thus it is important to be sensible about how and when to drive your classic car.

The basics of maintenance

Now comes the time-consuming care part. With the bodywork and interior of the car it is, in my opinion, important to wash, clean and polish at least once a week. This not only saves the extra time involved if the classic is left for a few weeks, but it also helps in removing any potential damaging particles of dust, oil, insects and other corrosive materials. Furthermore, if you have been out in inclement weather, it is essential that the car is cleaned when you get it back under cover, for the same reason as the weekly clean. I know this may sound like common sense, but it is worth pointing out that the classic's bodywork should be always be washed before you attempt to polish it. This will avoid the possibility of scratching the paintwork with grit or dirt that has not been washed off. Remember, during the cleaning and polishing process, to include the inside of the engine compartment and the boot interior and, with the washing to include the underside of the vehicle.

A word of warning! If you are not sure of products to use for cleaning your classic, seek expert advice. For paintwork, chrome, interior seats and panelling and tyres, it is important to use products that will not damage or discolour the base material. For example, leather requires a different cleaning agent to vinyl.

From a maintenance viewpoint, the items that you should check at least once a week, and certainly before you take the car out, are oil, other important lubricants water, washer tanks and tyre pressures. Always check around the car for signs of potentially damaging leaks as well.

Finally, with routine maintenance, which should be performed on a regular basis, and mechanical repairs, unless you have the necessary knowledge, always ensure that the classic is taken to a centre that has expertise in that particular make and, additionally, it is important to ascertain that original and appropriate parts are used if being replaced. Your classic club or association will be able to advise you in this respect.

A last reminder

Remember, if you treat your classic with respect and care it will give you pleasure for a longer period of time and, when the time comes to part, it will repay you handsomely.


Auto, Automobiles, Cars, Classic Cars, Maintenance, Mechanics, Vintage Cars

Meet the author

author avatar Paul Lines
Having spent a large part of my working life as a business consultant, I am now a full time freelance writer offering content for on-line and print publishers, as well as focusing on creative writing

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author avatar Denise O
29th Oct 2010 (#)

I love a old car. Nice Article.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Oct 2010 (#)

We have a car show yearly in the area where people bring their classic cars.
I really enjoy looking at them, my wife laughs but I quite like the classic muscle cars.

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author avatar Paul Lines
30th Oct 2010 (#)

I am with you mark. Had a Chrysler le Baron for a while when I lived in Spain and it was great

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Nov 2010 (#)

I'm with you Paul. I love restoring older cars. My first one was a 1932 Dodge coupe.

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