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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Six Simple Maintenance Tips for Classic Cars

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Keeping a classic car or truck in tip top shape takes a lot of time and effort. A healthy budget doesn’t hurt either, but it is often the simplest maintenance steps that can have the biggest impact.

While there are plenty of maintenance measures you will need to take over the lifetime of your classic collector, these are six maintenance tips you need to incorporate into your regular routine to keep your prized possession looking its best.

1. Safe and Secure Storage
We think this is common sense, but it needs to be stated. Nothing will keep your vehicle in excellent condition like proper storage. Sun, bad weather and other natural elements can cause major damage to your vehicle when it is left outside. It should be your top priority to provide your car safe and secure storage. You also might want to consider taking it a step further and cover you car with a paint-friendly cover.

2. Wash Your Vehicle by Hand
You might find a car wash in town that you trust with your classic car’s paint job, but for most of us we need to rely on ourselves to get the job done right. Use a very mild soap, microfiber wash pads and have plenty of clean cotton towels or a chamois on hand to wash and dry your car.

3. Keep Fluids Fresh and Topped Off
Fresh fluids help to keep your car or truck running with optimum performance. We suggest changing your oil every 1,000 miles. This might seem excessive compared to the oil in your daily driver, but fresh oil is the bloodline of your engine. New oil will really help preserve the life of your motor. Transmission, the differential, and cooling system should also be checked regularly and topped of or flushed out and replaced whenever necessary. You really can’t over do it with fluid changes.

4. Drive Your Classic Regularly
You need to drive your vehicle at least once per month to help keep everything in working order. Leaving your car parked for too long can dry out the seals and cause other internal issues. If the weather does not permit taking your car out for a spin then at least fire up the motor and let it run for 20 minutes or so to burn off any buildup and circulate fluids. As soon as the weather breaks, take your ride out at least once or twice a month minimum.

5. Check Your Belts and Hoses
This is a good routine to get into every time you change your oil. Belts and hoses are really susceptible to wear and tear. One bad belt can really have a domino effect on the performance of the rest of your car’s system. Every belt or hose under the hood needs to be replaced every five years maximum.

6. Monitor Your Cooling System
As vehicles age it is likely that issues with the cooling system will develop. Keep a close eye on your radiator, heater core, head gasket, freeze plugs and other components of your cooling system for any leaks. Be sure to use a hot or cold weld to repair any leaks. Those simple sealants can plug up your system and slow down the flow of the coolant. If everything on your coolant system is operating fine, but you experience overheating issues then it is probably time to replace your thermostat. It is a simple and inexpensive fix that can save you from major headaches out on the road.

Maintaining your classic car or truck in show condition is certainly going to take a lot more work, but these six simple maintenance tips will play a big part in keeping your car or truck running and looking good. Let us know if you have any simple tips of your own that you use to maintain your classic collector.

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