5 tips to protect classic/collector cars

Collector car ownership has become increasingly popular worldwide with the global classic-car market projected to grow from $30.9 billion in 2020 to $43.4 billion in 2024. Whether they are looking to invest in a classic car or add another one to their collection, it's important for owners of these timeless vehicles to practice the required upkeep to ensure their car remains in mint condition.

Follow these five key tips to learn how to preserve the value of your classic car for years to come.

1. Keep maintenance schedules on track

Regular maintenance checks are important to ensure classic cars stay in working condition. Maintenance checks should include, but are not limited to, checking the engine oil, spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap, rotor, air and gas filters, battery connections, fluid levels and tire pressure. To preserve the life of the engine, consider changing fuel, oil, brake, coolant and transmission fluids, sealing the vents and adding protective compounds.

2. Clean your car regularly

Keeping your classic car clean is essential in preserving its value. To clean the exterior of your vehicle, use a soft rag, automotive soap and finish to remove any road salt, dirt and contaminants. Avoid using a high-pressure washer to keep soap and water out of the lubrication seals. Rinse off the exterior of the vehicle and dry thoroughly to remove any remaining suds and prevent watermarks from appearing.

Wipe down and vacuum the interior to prevent a build-up of dirt and dust. Leather, vinyl and nylon can be cleaned with a dry cloth or cheesecloth with warm water and neutral soap. For fabrics, stay away from water solutions, hazardous chemicals, laundry soaps and bleach – these can discolor and weaken the fabric. Instead, use synthetic detergents, colorless liquids and neutral soaps. After cleaning, use a dehumidifier to dry the inside and ensure no moisture remains.

3. Preserve the paint job

Waxing your collector car is a great way to preserve its paint job and add shine to the exterior. It can also prevent corrosion and oxidation from occurring. Waxing should be done after washing – be on the lookout for any chips in the paint before you begin. If found, a professional detailer can help to repair the damage.

4. Store in safe spaces

Collector cars require additional protection measures to keep them in tip-top shape. Avoid keeping your car outside for extended periods of time, especially in poor weather conditions. Use an outdoor car cover to protect against water and other contaminants, preferably in a soft, breathable material such as cotton. If driven regularly, your car should be kept in your garage when it is not being used.

If you do not drive the car regularly, consider a long-term car storage option. Be sure the storage facility you choose is dry, insulated, ventilated and temperature-controlled to help keep your vehicle in pristine condition. If the building is unheated, place a plastic tarp underneath the car to insulate the undercarriage from humidity.

5. Show it off

Aim to drive your classic car at least once a month for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure the engine is working properly. If not driven regularly, your car’s seals and rubber can dry up which can cause leaks and other problems in the future.

If you store your vehicle for longer than a month, be sure to check for rusted and corroded areas during regular storage upkeep. If found, these areas should be treated with a lubricant right away to prevent further wear.

Are you protected from out-of-pocket costs in the event of a loss or accident? Talk to your independent agent today.


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LC 2023-215