Maintaining your Classic Car

There is still some debate over the terms; ‘vintage’, ‘veteran’, and classic car, when it comes to classifying older vehicles. Generally speaking, most can agree that the guidelines consist approximately of the following:
  • Veteran- officially a car made up to and including December 1918.
  • Vintage – officially a car made between 1919 and 1930 (although the term is often used to describe any car made before World War II).
  • Classic – generally any car that is that is still popular but no longer in production. Commonly, this term is applied to cars from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. However, some enthusiasts state that the car must be at least 25+ years old and cannot be a fairly new model.
There are some special considerations when owning a classic car, and it involves more than just its exterior appeal.  These include;  


  • Drive it regularly Don’t let your pride and joy classic car stay hidden away in the garage. If it is roadworthy and registered, aim to drive your car every couple of weeks for at least several kms. This wakes up the transmission, brakes, suspension, steering, climate system, and all the fluids, seals and gaskets. It also provides a good opportunity to make sure everything is running smoothly, and catch any small problems before they turn into bigger ones.
  • Check the Fluids Regularly check the engine fluids, including engine oil and coolant/antifreeze. Coolant is particularly important, as this will prevent the engine from freezing in very cold temperatures.
  • Treat Rust Spots and Corrosion Applying lubricant, such as WD40, to any spots of corrosion before storing the car will prevent the spread of rust and decay.
  • Pump the breaks To keep the breaks in good condition, pump them routinely.
  • Keep it Clean If you can, hose down the undercarriage of the car after every drive. Salt, dirt and grime can cause corrosion of untreated metal surfaces. Make consistent cleaning and waxing a priority. A good hand wash, followed by a wax (a few times a year at least) will prolong the life of the exterior. Also consider an under-seal to protect against rust. Don’t forget to protect the interior as well with a quality leather protectant.
  • Recharge the Battery Older cars’ batteries, especially those that aren’t run often, will lose power quicker. Regular driving, or idling for around 10 minutes, will bring the engine up to normal operating temperatures and allow the battery to recharge. If you aren’t planning on driving the car for over a month, disconnect the battery to help it stay charged.

Storing your vehicle

  • Keep the windows rolled down slightly This helps the air to circulate and prevent that unpleasant musty smell.
  • Try to avoid direct sunlight on the paintwork Over time this can fade the paintwork. If this is unavoidable, cover with a lined, breathable and waterproof car cover.
  • Leave the Handbrake Off Handbrakes can tend to seize on older vehicles so leave it off and chock the wheels instead. However, keep in mind the vehicle will benefit from regular drives, so this step may only apply to ‘project’ vehicles.
  • Keep a Full Fuel Tank A vehicle that is seldom used can collect moisture in the fuel tank. To limit the amount of condensation, store the vehicle with a full fuel tank and aim to top it up after every drive.
  • Remove or Lift the Wipers Windscreen wipers can collect moisture and, in very cold climates, can freeze onto the glass. To avoid potential damage, lift them to an upright position or remove them altogether when storing your car long-term.
  • Turn the Tyres Regularly A vehicle that is rarely used can develop flat spots on the tyres. Turning the wheels regularly (even if it is the simple act of reversing out & back in) will help to avoid this. If you’re planning to store the car for over a month without driving it, you could remove the wheels and store them horizontally somewhere dry, while using jack stands to support and raise the vehicle.

Regular servicing

Even if maintaining your vehicle is part of your passion as a collector or classic car enthusiast, you should still have your car checked regularly by a qualified mechanic. An experienced mechanic will be able to spot those problems that an untrained eye may miss, and avoid other problems down the track.

Service you can trust

At Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic, we look after all makes and models and take pride in our attention to detail and clean service. With our experienced and friendly mechanics, you and your pride and joy will be in good hands. Follow us on Facebook for information, helpful tips and great deals.