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As their very nature makes caring for them at times tricky, what should you know about classic car maintenance in order for your investment to hold its value? 

In Australia, the classic car market has low spreads and volatility, but with high liquidity. The prices are barely affected by supply and demand, as there’s simply not enough classic vehicles still around, especially those considered to be of both high value and high quality.

Buying any used car comes with it’s own set of dangers, and usually has a long list of factors to check if you wish to avoid purchasing a lemon, and when it comes to purchasing a vintage collector’s car, this list only gets longer. 

Once you’ve settled on your vintage find, regular and ongoing classic car maintenance is often paramount when it comes to keeping them in tip top shape – but is it as simple as just checking the water and oil? 

The Ten Commandments Of Classic Car Maintenance

Just like any car, vintage models can’t be left alone or ignored for too long if you wish to keep them in pristine condition, and to ultimately hold their value. However, the maintenance that classic cars require does differ when compared to servicing a more modern vehicle. 

Read The Manual – Whether a car is new to you, or you’ve had it a while, spend time reviewing the owner’s manual. In order to properly care for its unique needs, you want to know your vehicle inside and out. In the event that you don’t have the original owner’s manual, you can always find a copy online.

Keep It Clean – Vintage and classic cars are more prone to rust when compared to more modern makes, so to try and avoid this be sure to wash down your vehicle every time you take it for a spin – particularly if you live near the ocean. Make sure you do your research as to what products are suitable before you give your classic a wax too. 

Store It Properly – Ideally, classic cars should be safely stored in your garage, and not exposed to dirt or elements that can impair the car’s mechanical performance, chip the paint or contribute to rust. Avoid using a tarp as a means of further protection, and instead invest in a custom car cover for a snug fit. 

Stay Original – Although it can be tempting to make some “tweaks”, maintaining the value of your classic car involves sticking to the blueprint, and keeping it in its original form as much as you possibly can – that means limiting physical modifications, engine upgrades and even aiming to find the most suitable parts if and when required. 

Use The Right Products – While many proud owners often pay careful attention to the paint and exterior of a classic car, the upholstery inside the vehicle counts for just as much. Don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to selecting products for cleaning your classic car, and instead read the fine print on things like leather and carpet cleaners to make sure they’re suitable. 

Keep It Hydrated – No car will run without it’s essential fluid intake, so that means regular checking and topping up of the car’s water, oil, brake fluid, coolant or antifreeze, and transmission fluid. Sparking the ignition of your classic car without enough of these on hand, you could inadvertently cause major engine damage. 

Don’t Forget Air Filters – Along with checking and changing the car’s fluids regularly, you should also replace your air filter as part of your classic car maintenance routine. Your car’s air filter supports optimal engine performance by keeping out pollution and other dust, which is especially important in areas with poor air quality.

Watch Out For The Tyres – Depending on things like if your vehicle has all-wheel drive and the overall weight distribution of your car, the general rule of thumb is that tyres tend to wear unevenly. Rotating the car’s tyres regularly helps to ensure that they are wearing at an even pace, as they’re not the cheapest or easiest thing to replace. 

Get It Insured – All the safety precautions in the world sometimes aren’t enough to protect your classic car against unforeseen events, such as fire, flood or theft. Owners of vintage models often prize them as one of their most significant investments, so one often forgotten component of classic car maintenance is protecting both yourself and the car via an insurance policy. 

Take It For A Spin – The old saying goes “if you don’t use it, you lose it” – and the same logic applies to your beloved classic car. Get the wheels turning, engine running and gears changing in order to avoid any potential degradation from staying stagnant for too long. Even if the vehicle in question is decades old, all cars were made to be driven. 

As we’ve seen even in regular used car sales, which are also experiencing a boom in demand, the current market explosion for vehicles classed as collectors items can simply boil down to demand exceeding supply. If you want to ensure that your investment goes the distance and ultimately holds its value, then classic car maintenance is a non-negotiable.