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When looking for a classic car to buy, some enthusiasts choose muscle cars, while others select models out of nostalgia, such as vehicles driven by beloved family members. Whatever your reason for choosing your classic car, you’ll want to keep it in good shape with proper maintenance. Here are four tips to help you keep yours in top condition.

1. Restore your classic car to its former glory

Actor Craig Robinson in a classic car | Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Any classic or vintage vehicle may need a restoration to bring it back to its original shine. This means that you may need to refurbish or fabricate certain parts to get the car to work as it should. In some cases, you may need to have certain parts redone, says AAA.

If possible, consider having the restoration work done by a professional. If you plan to resell the vehicle or enter it in car shows or competitions, it is important that the restoration work is carried out to match the original design of the car. Someone who is qualified and familiar with your model will know how to do the bodywork correctly.

However, you don’t want to hire just anyone to do the job. According to MotorTrend, you can get burned by a shop that does a bad job. Do your research and find the most reputable people to work on your classic car.

2. Perform regular maintenance to keep your classic car in good condition

Maintaining your vintage or classic car is essential to keep it in good condition for as long as you own it. Whether you ride it often or rarely, parts can still wear out, dry out, and even rust if you’re not careful. Keeping the vehicle clean is essential, so if any contaminants end up on the paintwork, you can clean it up quickly without any damage.

The chrome finish of classic cars can deteriorate over time, ruining the styling of the vehicle. Keep the chrome as fresh as possible by using a polish designed for your car. Be sure to clean all crevices as much as possible and take the time to keep each area dry to prevent rust.

Another way to maintain your classic car is to perform regular maintenance, such as changing fluids as often as the car manufacturer recommends. Also, if you notice anything wrong with the car, take it to a professional as soon as possible. Leaving a problem unresolved could lead to costly repairs, as parts for your classic car could be harder to find.

3. Store your vintage vehicle during off-peak periods

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If you plan to drive your classic car for only part of the year, find a storage space to park the car when not in use. For example, some owners store their vehicles in the winter and use them in the spring and summer.

Cold climates can wreak havoc on the mechanical parts of cars, and areas with high humidity can also create problems. Choose a well-insulated, ventilated and temperature-controlled storage space to keep your vehicle dry.

4. Drive your classic car to avoid non-use problems

One of the most critical tips offered by AAA is to keep using your vintage or classic car instead of letting it sit all the time. Driving the vehicle will keep mechanical parts running smoothly and help prevent serious leaks caused by dried out rubber gaskets and seals. The motors must also work; otherwise, they will eventually seize up with rust and other sediment. While it’s always possible to get your engine running again in this condition, why take the risk?

But while driving your classic car, make sure to drive on safe and smooth surfaces. Bumpy roads will ruin the suspension and gravel surfaces will dull your paint job. Stick to streets you know well and don’t present any surprises that could bite your car and your wallet in the end.

Owning a vintage or classic car can be a lot of work to maintain, clean, and protect it when you’re not driving it. Regardless of the amount of elbow work involved, having one of these pieces from the past can be rewarding.

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