Protect an Antique Car

Antique cars need regular maintenance, proper storage, and conscientious drivers. You should wash and wax the car each month to protect its exterior. Changing the oil regularly, flushing the coolant, and lubricating the drive lines will protect the car’s engine. You can also protect an antique car by driving carefully on well-maintained roads in good weather conditions.


Performing Regular Maintenance

  1. Wash and wax your car once a month. Using sheepskin or cotton washing mitts, wash the car with a car wash soap formulated for antique cars. Rinse the car and dry with a soft cloth. Apply wax according to product directions.[1]
  2. Change the oil regularly. You will need to change the oil in a classic car about every 2,000 miles. If you have a car that was manufactured before oil filters were common, make sure you change the oil every thousand miles. This will prevent sludge from building up in the pan and oil galleries.[2]
  3. Check belts and hoses when you change the oil. When you change the oil in an antique car, you should also inspect the car’s belts and hoses. Replace belts and hoses that show signs of leakage or swelling. You should also replace belts and hoses with cracks in them.[3]
  4. Flush the coolant. Make sure you flush an antique car’s coolant once a year. Changing the coolant annually will prevent corrosion in the car’s cooling system. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water will work for most cars.
  5. Lubricate the drive-lines every few months. Many classic cars have driveline components that need to be lubricated regularly. If your car has driveline components, lubricate them every 2-3 months.

Driving an Antique Car

  1. Drive the car regularly. You will enjoy the car more if you drive it regularly. Aim to drive the car at least once every couple of weeks, or more often if possible. Make sure you drive the car respectfully, and take its needs into account. For example, if the engine shakes when you drive it above a certain speed, consider driving slower.
  2. Check the oil before every drive. Make sure the oil level is where it should be before you take your car out on a drive. If your car develops an oil leak, it can cause damage to the car’s motor. If you notice oil leaking from your car, take it to a mechanic as soon as possible.
  3. Avoid driving in bad weather. Don’t drive the car in wet or wintry conditions. Exposure to moisture can lead to rust. Drive the car on roads that are clear and completely dry. You should also avoid driving the car on roads that are treated with salt, chemicals, or ash after precipitation.[4]
  4. Drive on roads that are in good condition. Part of protecting your car means avoiding roads that might cause damage to the car. Stay away from rough roads, and do not take the car on a dirt road. Make sure you avoid potholes, which can damage your car.[5]
  5. Always park in a safe, well lit area. When you are out driving your antique car, you will want to carefully consider where you park it. Find a parking spot that is well lit and as close to an occupied building as possible. To avoid unwanted dings and dents from other motorists, try to not park too close to other vehicles.[6]
    • Always lock your car when you park it and remove valuables from the vehicle.

Storing an Antique Car

  1. Store the car in a clean, secure garage. Store the car in a garage that has been cleaned and prepared for the car. Remove any objects that might fall and damage the vehicle. Watch out for evidence of rodents while you prepare the garage and remove the rodents before storing the car.[7]
    • Consider renting a space in a climate-controlled storage garage designed for cars.[8]
  2. Clean your car before you store it. Before you put your antique car in storage, you should wash and wax the vehicle. You should also clean the interior. Allow the car to dry and wax to set before placing the car in storage, because trapped moisture can create corrosion.[9]
  3. Change the oil and fill up the tank. Make sure you change the car’s oil before you place it in storage, to prevent dirty oil from rusting the inside of the car’s engine. Filling the car’s gas tank all the way up will prevent moisture from accumulating in the empty part of the gas tank.[10]
  4. Remove spark plugs if you are storing it for longer than 6 months. If you plan on storing an antique car for longer than 6 months, you will need to remove all of the vehicle’s spark plugs. Removing the spark plugs will prevent rust and corrosion.[11]
  5. Consider installing an anti-theft device. Placing a security system in an antique car can help prevent theft. Consider installing an electronic security system that will alert you if the system is breached. You can also try using a physical device like the Club, which effectively disables a car’s steering wheel.[12]