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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Top Ten Classic Car Care Tips

Waxing_CarLate night infomercials try to convince us that there are miracle cures and magic polymers that can fix any paint scratch or keep our engines purring like new. The truth is that all the quick-fix gimmicks and specially formulated car care products in the world won’t be the reason your classic car or truck continues to run well and look great. It is regularly scheduled, proper care and maintenance that older, high six-figure mileage vehicles require.

The secret to keeping your classic running and looking great is as simple as following a regularly scheduled maintenance routine and using the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil and fluids. This in conjunction with replacing parts that become compromised from wear and tear, like spark plugs and engine belts, is what will make a real difference.

Here are 10 maintenance tips that you can follow to help keep your classic car or truck in tip top shape:

1. Change the oil. Nothing will destroy a motor quicker that old or low oil levels. On the other hand, nothing will keep a motor running smoothly than regular oil and oil filter changes. It is the life blod of every motor and should be a number one priority to check and change regularly.

2. Flush the cooling system. At least once a year every car whether old or new should have its cooling system flushed out. Replace the old coolant with a fresh 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water to help prevent the system from corroding or developing any deposits that can restrict flow through the system.

3. Change transmission fluid and differential oil. This may not have to be done frequently, but it the more often you can do this the better. Newer cars require it at their service intervals, but classics could really use this a little more regularly. Make sure to use the recommended transmission fluid and gear oil with the correct viscosity.

4. Keep it clean. Washing your car regularly will help to ensure you are removing any harmful impurities that will eventually eat away at your paint’s finish. Don’t forget about the undercarriage as well. Salt and road grime are really good at finding their way into every nook and cranny. Be sure to clean the underside of your car really well to help all the exposed parts clean and corrosion free.

5. Wax on wax off. Wax is crucial in keeping the paint looking its best. You should give your classic a really good waxing at least once every six months. While you are at it, you should also apply some chrome care to the chrome trim to help keep it shining.

6. Protect the interior. Keeping your classic out of the sun is one of the best ways to protect the leather, vinyl and plastic in your interior from fading and drying out. There are also leather creams, vinyl treatments, and UV blockers that can also help to protect and preserve your classic car interior.

7. Check your ball joints. All too often we see ball joints fail before their time should be up. Regularly checking them to ensure they are packed with the grease they need is all you need to do. A dry ball joint will surely fail quickly while a well greased joint can last a lifetime.

8. Lube your drive-line. Many components of your drive-line, like the u-joints, require regular lubrication as well. Checking to see that everything looks greased well can save you a lot of money and frustration should any part of your drive-line need to be replaced. You may need to remove the drive-line to get to the grease fitting depending on your vehicle.

9. Repack your wheel bearings. You should regularly inspect, clean and repack your wheel bearings with the recommended grease. This might not be the quickest job in the world, but it is cheap to do. You will save yourself tons of money on pricey repairs down the road. It doesn’t need to be done monthly, but you should certainly do it at your regularly scheduled major service intervals.

10. Pump the brakes. Regularly test your brakes to make sure everything feels right and isn’t making any strange sounds. Bled your brake system at least once per year. It is cheap to replace while calipers, hoses and sensors are not. It is also a good idea to keep a close eye on your brake pads to ensure they are not unevenly wearing down your rotors. Pads are another relatively inexpensive item to replace.

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