A classic car is a special purchase. It’s not something you buy out of necessity but rather something you buy because it speaks to your heart. It could be the car you dreamed of owning when you were a kid, or maybe it’s the one your parents owned years ago. You might even buy classic cars as an investment in the hopes that their value will increase over time. No matter why you buy a classic car, it deserves special care to keep it looking good and ready to drive for years to come.
Keep it covered.
Classic cars are beautiful and it’s tempting to leave yours sitting in the driveway for the world to see. There’s nothing wrong with showing off your pride and joy, but don’t leave it exposed to the elements all the time. Weather is your car’s enemy. The sun, rain, and wind take their toll. The sun fades paint and sensitive interior fabrics, rain leaves residue on that shiny exterior you worked so hard to wax, and wind blows dirt and sand against that beautiful finish leaving scratches.
Whenever you aren’t driving the car, make sure it’s protected from the elements. Keeping classic cars in a garage whenever they’re not in use is the best way to protect them from harm. If you don’t have a garage, then at least put a car cover over your classic. Those who live in winter climates (and who won’t be taking their classic car out when the weather turns) should consider a storage service to keep the car protected.
Classic cars like clean.
It’s important to keep your classic car clean, especially if you drive it during bad weather. Salt from winter driving, mud and dirt from rainy weather, and even the road grime that builds up on a sunny day should be cleaned off. Make sure you clean the outside and inside of your car and occasionally give it a thorough detailing. It’s also wise to get the undercarriage washed to be sure corrosive chemicals aren’t harming delicate parts. You might not be able to see the undercarriage, but if it’s covered with salt and chemicals, you’ll know it’s dirty when parts begin to rust. A thorough cleaning keeps your car looking good and helps avoid costly repairs.
Classic cars need insurance.
Even if you don’t drive it as often as your modern car, classic cars still need insurance because accidents happen to everyone. Classic car insurance includes many of the same items found in a regular insurance policy. Typically, there’s property coverage to repair or even replace your car and any property along with collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. There’s also liability coverage in case you’re involved in an at-fault accident and medical and personal injury protection for the medical expenses of you and your passengers. Talk to your insurance agent about classic car insurance. They can guide you to the right coverage for your vehicle and make sure you can repair or replace your vehicle if things go wrong.
Perform regular maintenance.
Classic cars require much of the same regular maintenance as modern cars. You’ll need to keep the oil filled and take your classic in for an oil change at regular intervals. The windshield wiper blades should be replaced any time they’re leaving streaks behind and the tires need to be checked every month to ensure the tread is still good. Even if you don’t drive this car as much, perform the same monthly maintenance checks as with your modern car to make sure nothing is overlooked.
It’s also a good idea to find a mechanic or auto body shop with experience maintaining classic cars. Do research about who does this work in your area. Once you find a reputable shop, ask them if they’re familiar with your specific car and make sure they are comfortable keeping it maintained. Cars today are not the same as the cars built years ago, so finding a classic car mechanic is important.
Budget for repairs.
Parts for modern cars are readily available with established pricing you can easily research. Classic cars are a whole different world. Parts can be hard to come by and if they’re particularly rare or difficult to produce today, then they’re going to be expensive. Do a little research before you buy your classic to make sure you have enough money to keep your car in good shape.
Even something as simple as a tune-up that doesn’t require special parts can be much more expensive on a classic car. Prices can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, all depending on your car. Budget carefully so you’re not left with a classic you can’t maintain. Remember, your classic car doesn’t come with a warranty like a new car. Anything that goes wrong is going to be your responsibility so budget accordingly.
If you’re the proud owner of a classic car, what are your ownership tips for those looking to take the plunge? Share them with us in the comments below.
For a free quote on car insurance from AAA, click here.