Everyday Retro Car Maintenance: Useful Tips

Contrary to popular belief, keeping a vintage car does not imply keeping it indoors and wiping it daily with a specialized cloth.

No. You want to treat your expensive car as carefully as possible. Keep liquids under control and wipe them as often as possible.

That’s what we learned when we talked to Andy Coyle, owner of Laguna Classic Cars, where he oversees about 30-40 classic rides. All his beauties up to the 1970s are in mint condition.

If you have a classic car, you probably want to keep it in the showroom condition. Here are some useful tips that will help you direct your beauty retro car in its best shape and shine.

Keep the Fluids Filled

The first thing you need to take care of is making sure you have fluids in your car. Oil, water, brake fluids. The car will not work without oil and water. It needs grease and water to keep it cool, so it doesn’t overheat.

Please make sure the car heats up, i.e., keep the temperature warm and the car cools down on its own. It also means that you need to monitor the liquids carefully and change them regularly. You can do this yourself, all you need is a detailed instruction manual for your car.

Hit the Road Regularly

Another thing is to drive your car: use it at least once a month. The number one problem with old cars is that they are not used regularly. Drive it, chase the car around its steps. Turn the wheels, gears, and engage the tires.

What Is Damaging to Cars

All the seals and rubber parts will dry out if they are not used. Then leaks develop. You are able to slow down the ageing process by using your car at least once a month, ideally twice. Start it and heat it up for at least half an hour. It will deflate any moisture and condensation and will be the best thing you can do other than have oil and water in it.

Except for the obvious: what the hell is the point of owning one of the best machines ever made if you don’t let it do what it was built for?

On the contrary, if you have to move a car around the country, never drive it all the way. It is best to use a reliable vehicle transport company to move your expensive vintage car.

Must-Have Tools

A bucket, a soft rag, and car wash are what a retro car owner needs. Soft towels after that, just for body care.

There should be a formula for car washing. A dish with soap will take the wax off the car and damage it. Various companies make amazing tools and products. Ensure that you choose respectable ones.

Park It in a Suitable Place

The most important thing is not to park the car on mud or gravel, because it will let moisture into the car from below and accelerate its degradation.

On a similar note: make sure that the surface on which your chariot sits has good drainage.

Keep It Away From Direct Sunlight

The sun ages a car very quickly, especially the paint. And it bakes the interior, making the fabrics change colour, and vinyl and plastics become fragile and broken. The sun, especially in California, takes a heavy toll on a car.

Avoid Extreme Cold

It will bring moisture that will rust the car, and locks will become wet and freeze. The wipers will also freeze on the windshield.

Starting the car will help prevent this, as well as keeping it in a good garage. Use a soft broom to clear the car of snow.

Keep It Clean

Make simple steps to keep your car as clean as possible, especially when the roads are cold and saline. Salt corrodes paint and metal. The cleaner your car is, the longer it will last. And not just looks and exterior: don’t forget the chassis and the seat.

Wash the wheels well. Vacuum the interior to prevent dampness. If you have dirt in your carpets, it will trap moisture and go under the floor and rust under the car will begin to form.

Make It Shine

Apply as much wax as you can. Polish can revive the paint, but if your paint is in good condition, all you need to do after washing is dry and add good wax.

If the paint is degraded in any way, you may need to call in an expert for sand washing. They take water and very fine sandpaper, remove the edges and polish them with different grit strength. Only an experienced person should do this.

Avoid Rookies, Go Pro

Whatever you do, never go to someone who’s never worked on a classic car. They can take the paint off your car from the edge of the buffer.

It would help if you read about your car online and in workshop manuals. You can also ask for advice at car shows.

A good guy will need three or four hours for a whole car, depending on what you are doing, and it will cost about $150. That’s well-spent money.

You may have to do it once every two or three years, but if you’re going to service your car, you won’t need to. It is incredible how quickly you can get a car that looks like it needs a good paint job to be pretty presentable.

The Upshot

Maintaining a vintage car does not require much money, but certainly a decent amount of time and attention to detail. There is nothing better than daily checks to keep your beauty in the best condition possible.

This feature has been provided to Front Seat Driver with commercial consideration by an independent company. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Front Seat Driver.