If one were to list the things that just get better with age, vintage cars would be up there with jewellery and fine wine. The beautiful, functional cars of yesteryears have a strong following among Kiwis, and in fact, the world’s largest collection of British classic cars can be found in New Zealand’s very own British Car Museum in Te Awanga, Hawkes Bay. Here, one can find over 500 classic cars from some of the world’s most beloved brands, including Ford, Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Austin. The iconic shapes and sizes of classic cars are timeless wonders, even though they may no longer be made.

Be that as it may, there’s no reason for your own vintage car to be relegated to being a museum piece. Some drivers operate under the mistaken assumption that the only way to preserve a vintage car is to leave it in the garage and shield it from the outside world. Contrary to such beliefs, getting the best mileage and the longest service life out of your classic car is a simple matter of caring for its engine, its individual components, and its exterior.

You, too, can preserve your beloved classic car while avoiding costly expenses at the same time. Simply follow these tips to ensure proper care and maintenance!

  1. Get routine check-ups performed on your car. Enlist the help of your local mechanic for advice on adjustments, repairs, or parts replacement to be made on your car. Ask how often you will need to be back at the shop for your car to stay in good health, and be sure to follow your car’s check-up schedule.
  2. Source quality car parts for it. The car may be the vintage type, but that doesn’t mean it should keep running on worn-out or ageing car parts. Preserve your car’s functions by replacing old or damaged components, ideally with NOS or “new old stock” parts. These car parts are original, never-been-used components, which makes them perfect for your vehicle. You can source these from a reputablecar parts and auto parts supplier in NZ.

  3. Change the car’s oil and oil filter regularly. Many of the world’s older cars were built to have superior and long-lasting engines. You can honour this workmanship by lubricating your engine regularly with new oil. Switching the oil, as well as the oil filter, will safeguard the engine from damage—and your wallet from hefty engine repair expenses!
  4. Maintain the car’s brakes. You’ll want your vintage car to look and sound as dignified as it did when it first plied the roads of old. As such, you should make it a point to properly maintain your car’s brakes as well. This will also help you avoid embarrassing and unpleasant screeching, as well as any risks associated with failed brakes. Pump them when you hear an off-putting noise, and replace the brake fluid regularly in order to avoid brake failure.

  5. Pay attention to the car’s tyres. Check your vintage car’s tyre pressure at least once a month, rotate the tyres if recommended by the car manufacturer and by your mechanic, and keep spares that match the fitments of the ones already equipped in your vehicle. Keeping these best practices in mind should keep those wheels and tyres rolling!

  6. Wash and wax to keep your car in pristine condition. The older a car gets, the greater its risk of permanent damage from the elements. Postpone the deterioration of your car’s appearance by being extra careful with it, even in the case of simple build-ups of dust, grime, or animal droppings. Make time for a regular hand-wash, as well as for applying a coating of wax every three months or so.

  7. Invest in a car cover. If you don’t anticipate taking your car outside for more than a few days, park it in your garage, and shield it with its own car cover. This should add an extra layer of protection from rusting due to exposure to the elements, or scratches and dents due to exposure to abrasive materials.

Lastly, don’t forget to take your vintage car out for regular drives. There’s probably no better way to stay attuned to the health of your car than by using it the way it was meant to be used. And if your car is in good working condition, there’s no reason to treat it as if it were a collectible on a glass shelf—buckle your seatbelt, put the keys in the ignition, and drive your classic car as if it were brand-new!