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If you own a classic car, you probably cherish it more than the average car owner. Those who know you might even say you’re overly protective. Ignore them. Obsessing over your vehicle is absolutely normal. The naysayers have no idea how it feels to be in possession of such a rare gem. Your car is as delicate as a baby, and you must treat it as such. That means taking measures to protect it at whatever cost. The following ten tips will ensure that your car maintains its value and stands the test of time.

1. Detail and Prep the Car

It may seem counter-intuitive and unnecessary, but storing a clean and waxed car is important. Leaving dust or debris may scratch and damage the paint job. Crumbs and dirt in the interiors can also attract pesky pests who leave undesirable odors. Clean the car thoroughly before storage and apply a layer of protective wax on the exterior. You can go the extra mile by doing the following.

  • Put a box of baking soda inside the car to absorb the unwanted smells
  • Use aluminum foil or steel wool to block off the exhaust and deter the pests
  • Apply a lubricant on the door and hood hinges to prevent them from jamming up
  • Clean and dress the wheels
  • Avoid plastic covers since they trap moisture and cause rusting. Use a breathable cloth instead

2. Remove All Contaminants and Oxidation Before You Wax

Removing all contaminants and treating the oxidation that has accumulated over time is a good idea depending on the condition of the paint on your classic car. If it looks shiny but feels rough to the touch, you need to treat it with a clay bar and polish. If the paint appears dull, you will need some buffing. It is important to check the depth of the paint before you commence the buffing. If you over-buff, it could go through the paint.


If you don’t feel comfortable buffing the car yourself, consider contacting a professional. After applying a clay bar and or buff, ensure you follow it up with a good waxing. It will prevent further damage to the paint. Cleaning and waxing your car will help it maintain its show-car shine.

3. Replace the Parts Frequently

Regular maintenance and part replacement is necessary to ensure that your car keeps its perfect condition and lasts longer. The spark plugs in a classic car have a higher chance of deteriorating due to various factors including low-quality manufacturing standards and flooding of the engine. You should make sure to change the spark plugs after every 20, 000 miles. You should also replace the air filter annually and the coolant after 3-5 years.

4. Fill the Tank & Change the Oil

Use appropriate gasoline to fill up the tank and ensure you add a fuel stabilizer according to the instructions of the manufacturer. If available, check the owner’s manual to identify the correct octane for your car (higher is not necessarily better – it depends on the engine). Most cars run fine on unleaded fuel, but avoid high-ethanol gasoline as ethanol can harm non-flexfuel cars (more on that in point #6).  If the tank is not full, excess moisture is likely to build up in the open spaces leading to rust.

The fuel stabilizer prevents gunking up and hardening of the oil. Just make sure to take the car out for a spin to allow the stabilizer to work its magic and to top the tank off afterward. Ensure that you change the oil, too. Dirty oil can make the engine of your car rust prematurely.

5. Regular Checkups

Everybody needs a second opinion once in a while. If you do the maintenance all by yourself, you should consider visiting a qualified mechanic now and then. They could help you out with repairs and adjustments that you may have overlooked which may lead to bigger problems in the future. A professional mechanic will also come in handy if you are looking for parts that are hard to find.

6. Protect it From Modern Ethanol Problems

Running classic cars on contemporary gasoline can lead to a variety of challenges. Most vintage cars run best on pure gasoline and not as well with gasoline treated with ethanol. Because of the federal government’s regulations and logistics in the fuel and farming industries, it can be difficult to find 100% pure gasoline.


Problems caused by ethanol fuel include higher chances of rusting, fuel phase separation, poor gas mileage and condensation in the fuel tanks. Fortunately for you, there are ways in which you can protect your classic car from the dangers posed by ethanol gasoline. They include.

  • Replace the plastic and rubber fuel lines with nylon tubing or ethanol-resistant hoses
  • Use a stainless steel tank instead of fuel tanks made from fiber glass
  • Install a water separator filter in the fuel line connected to the carburetor
  • Use ethanol-compatible rings instead of O-rings
  • Use non-ethanol based fuel treatments to avoid excessive water collection

7. Fill Tires with Air & Put the Car on Jacks

Replacing tires can be very expensive. Maintaining them in storage is, therefore, imperative. Fill them up to the maximum recommended PSI to start with. If you don’t intend to drive the car for a while, use jack stands to jack it up. It will relieve the suspension and the tires from the unnecessary weight. 

The extra support will also prevent flat spotting of the tires. If you store the car on a stone or dirt surface, supplement it with plywood or any other hard surface. It will protect the tires from ground rot.

8. Address the Car Battery & Fluids

If you intend to store the car long-term, consider removing the battery entirely. In case the terminal is corroded, clean it using a mixture baking soda, distilled water and petroleum jelly. Do not store the battery on the ground. Keep it in a climate controlled environment.

If you will start the car often, uses a trickle charger or a battery tender to ensure the battery functions over an extended period. Of course, there has to be a power source in the storage area for this option to work. Before storage, do a quick inspection to ensure that all the fluids including the brake fluid, antifreeze, and transmission fluid are topped off.

9. Invest in Security

Classic cars are rare and expensive. Losing your car to theft is the last thing you would want to see. For obvious reasons, classic cars are an attractive target for thieves. They are easier to break into and harder to track down. You should, therefore, take all the necessary precautions to protect them. When it comes to your car’s safety, do not be afraid to spend.

For starters, you should install a modern car tracking system. But protecting the car from being stolen in the first place is the most important thing. You can enroll your car in the Bureau of Justice “Watch Your Car” Program, disable it using a hidden “Killer switch” or put an alarm sticker.

You should also protect the car at home. Avoid parking it in the driveway. Park it in the garage where it is harder to steal. The security in your home will go hand in hand with that of your car. Get the ADT pulse app to get total control of your home security system.

10. Insure the Car

You should insure your classic car regardless of whether you drive it or store it. The first step is getting it appraised. You should do this after a few years. Insure the car for its estimated value. If you think your current insurance company is not giving your car enough insurance, consider insuring it with a reputable classic car insurance company.

A classic car is an investment. Most of them are ten times more expensive than the original purchase price. You should always endeavor to protect this investment. Due to their delicate nature, classic cars demand more attention than their modern counterparts. Maintaining them is usually very taxing and expensive. But for a serious car lover like you and me, the effort is entirely worth it!

Views: 85

Tags: car, classic, collector, protection, security

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