How to look after your classic car

Wed Aug 11 2021

There are some major differences between looking after and maintaining your standard car than there is for a classic car. A classic car will require a lot more care and attention. We are going to look at some of the best ways you can keep your classic car in great condition. Like many classic car owners, you may find the maintenance of these vehicles all part of the joy of owning them. However if you are new to owning a classic car it could be difficult to get to grips with exactly what you need to do, but our tips and tricks can help you whether you are an experienced or inexperienced classic car owner. 

Hibernate your car during the winter

This may sound strange, as you may have only heard the term hibernate when referring to animals, but it's also true that many classic cars could do with a rest during the winter months. This is mainly due to driving in wet and wintry conditions in an old car is not recommended. Storing your car indoors, inside a garage, is preferable which will protect it from corrosion. Once it is protected from the elements it would be a good idea to open the windows of the car to keep it aired out. If you don’t have the option to keep it in a garage and it has to be kept indoors, then you should invest in a purpose built cover for your type of car, which can protect it against direct sunlight and moisture.

As well as it being a good idea to store your car away during the cold months, this is a good time to work on and maintain your car when it is not being used.

Before storing your car

Before you store your car away for a few months you should make sure that your car's new home is clean and damp free, as moisture could cause corrosion or mould. Give your car a good clean and a polish, and it’s vital your car is completely dry before storing it. If your car would be exposed to direct sunlight make sure it is covered up to stop the paint from fading. 

Before releasing your car

As the warmer seasons are round the corner, you should get ahead of yourself and do any necessary maintenance work so your car is ready to drive as Spring hits; 

  • Get your car serviced - Including brake pads and tyre pressure. 
  • Wax it - Clean, polish and wax.
  • Charge up the battery - Batteries can drain during the colder months, especially if they are not being used.

Regularly check the cars fluids

Not keeping on top of the fluids could be damaging to your classic car, and there are a few different fluids you should be checking; 


Every few weeks you should be checking your oil, and you should be making sure it's a nice amber colour. You should also try rubbing the oil between your fingers to see if it’s free of dirt and grit. You should be changing your oil and filter around once a year, or after every 5,000 miles, although some classic car owners would change the oil after only 1,000 miles. 


You should be checking this regularly and making sure there are no signs of contamination. You need to be looking out for any white, milky looking liquid or any bits floating in the liquid. You should have a 50/50 split of distilled water and antifreeze, and once a year perform a coolant flush which will help avoid corrosion and rust.

Brake fluid

You should check the level and the colour of the liquid, it should be a light golden-yellow colour, but if it is any darker than this it could mean it's contaminated. Brake fluid can easily collect moisture, so it’s a really good idea to get rid of and replace the fluid once a year. 

Start your car often

Even though you might be keeping your classic car off the road for a few months, it is still a good idea to start the car every couple of weeks or so. Let the car hit a normal running temperature before turning it off. On a good day you should really take your car out for a spin, even if it is just a couple miles. This will help avoid issues such as your brakes or clutch sticking, or your hydraulics failing. 

Keep the handbrake off

On occasions, on older cars, it is possible for the cables to seize and then fail to release when you turn the handbrake off. To avoid this you can leave the handbrake off but use chocks under the wheels to keep the vehicle in place. 

Keep your car original

Resist the urge to customise your car, as classic cars can decrease in value if it is not in its original form. There are certain exceptions to this, it would be fine to upgrade your brakes, suspensions, steering or cooling systems, but try and maintain the original parts of the car. 

Enjoy the drive!

Unless you only keep classic cars with the intention to sell them, you should really take the time to get out on the road and enjoy driving experiences that most people have never had. They don’t make them like they used to. 

If you are looking for insurance for your classic car, look no further than Insurance1 for your classic car insurance.