How to Maintain a Classic Car

If you’re a classic car enthusiast, it’s important to know how to maintain your ride. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort to keep your classic vehicle in good condition.

One of the main problems classic cars encounter is rust. Salt corrodes the metal and paint, leaving rust spots that can be difficult to remove.

1. Change the Oil

The oil in your classic car serves as a vital lubricant for the many parts of the engine. Using the wrong oil or not changing it regularly can lead to wear and tear, which will reduce the car’s performance.

As a general rule, you should change the oil every 3,000 miles or so. This is based on the type of vehicle you own and how often it’s driven.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the filter too. A quality oil filter will protect your engine from dirt and other contaminants.

2. Change the Filters

One of the most important things to do when maintaining a classic car is changing the filters. An air filter catches dust and dirt before it enters your engine, where it can cause damage.

To change the filter, lift up the hood and locate the box connected to your car’s engine via a long tube. Then unscrew the old filter and fit a new one.

If you aren’t sure, ask your local mechanic for help.

To remove the old filter, use an oil filter wrench (these should be supplied with your new filter) or a screwdriver. Make sure the mounting surface of your engine is clean before you begin and smear some fresh oil onto the rubber seal around the rim of the filter. Once the filter is off, invert it into a catch pan and drain the oil.

3. Change the Brakes

Changing the brakes in a classic car can seem intimidating, but it’s a relatively simple job that anyone can do with the right tools. Not to mention, it’s a cheap and easy way to maintain your car and save big bucks over the long haul.

The first step is to lift the car up on jack stands. The lug nuts need to be loosened and the wheels should be removed before you can expose the brake calipers.

With the calipers exposed, use a C-clamp to compress the piston of each caliper until it’s flush with the caliper housing. This will allow you to remove the caliper and place the new pads in it.

4. Rotate the Tires

Tire rotation is a crucial part of maintaining your classic car. It can extend the life of your tires and help your car perform at its best on the road.

Most tire manufacturers recommend rotating the tires on your vehicle at least every 5,000 miles. You can refer to your owner’s manual for a tire rotation schedule.

The rotation pattern depends on your vehicle’s year, make, model and wheel type. Some cars require a front-to-rear rotation, while others use an X-pattern or a forward cross.

Staggered wheels, for example, require directional tires that are optimized for the side the tires need to be mounted on. These have a specific tread pattern that’s optimized for the direction of travel, so the little arrows or triangles on the sidewall indicate which way the tire is supposed to be turned.

5. Wash the Car

As a classic car owner, you want to keep your prized possession in the best possible condition. One way to achieve this is to regularly wash it.

When washing your classic car, it’s important to use the right products. For starters, don’t use dish soap; this will strip wax off of the paint and dull it over time.

Instead, purchase a high-quality auto soap designed for vehicle use. These contain thick and foamy agents that will leave your paint looking gorgeous.

Another tip to remember is to dry the car properly after it’s been washed. Don’t dry it with a regular towel; this will leave mineral marks and scratch the paint.

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