Classic Car Value: 10 Tips To Maintaining It

Classic cars can be fun to drive or display in your driveway. But if you want your chosen old-school set of wheels to last, you must know how to take care of it. That's easier said than done, especially since modern cleaning chemicals can do a number on antique paint jobs and rims.

When you look to trade in your antique car or classic automobile for cash or auction results, it’s essential to know your classic car's worth. Dealerships and classic car collectors will be able to help, but the appraisal guides can be confusing when trying to do a collector car market review.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you find the value of your classic car, no matter what your specific vehicle or whether it's in mint condition.

Today, look at some smart tips for maintaining your classic car value.

Twelve Tips To Maintaining Your Classic Car’s Value

  1. Keep Classic Cars Clean
  2. Monitor Your Fluids
  3. Read the Owner’s Manual
  4. Avoid Modifications
  5. Routine Maintenance
  6. Drive Classic Cars Safely
  7. Invest in Proper Storage
  8. Get Your Vehicle Insured
  9. Replace the Air Filter
  10. Keep Classic Cars as Original as Possible
  11. Rotate the Tires
  12. Stay on Top of the Brakes

Keep Classic Cars Clean

There are many ways to maintain your classic car’s value over the years and even decades.

For starters, you need to keep your vehicle clean. That means:

  • Carefully clean your vehicle with gentle soap and water. You can find nonhazardous soap that will not strip away the paint or protective materials on your classic car.
  • Wax your vehicle regularly. The wax layer is a protective shield and prevents dirt from impacting the vehicle’s paint or metallic coatings.
  • Use a car cover or dust cover. This is especially important if your classic car does not often get used. But it’s also crucial if you want to drive your classic car for a while and store it outdoors, even for a short time.

Don’t forget to clean the interior of your classic car. You need to clean and maintain the leather seats, upholstery, and dashboard to retain its pristine look and overall value.

Monitor Your Fluids

You should also regularly check the vital fluids of your classic car. These include the oil, the transmission fluid, and the coolant. Here’s a breakdown of all the fluids you should monitor:

  • Engine oil. You’ll find the dipstick for engine oil near the front of your vehicle’s engine or behind the engine if it’s a rear-wheel drive car. The engine oil should be yellow or amber; if it’s black or brown, it needs to be changed.
  • Coolant. You can find this at the radiator cap. Engine coolant should be a bright color like blue, pink, green, red, or yellow if it’s in good condition
  • Power steering fluid. The suitable power steering fluid should be pinkish or white wine in color
  • Brake fluid. Quality brake fluid will be white wine or amber color if it is good to go
  • Transmission fluid. Your transmission fluid needs to be amber or red — otherwise, it needs to be changed
  • Windshield washer fluid. This is typically orange, red, green, or blue

Read the Owner’s Manual

It's also a good idea to read the owner's manual for a classic car, especially if you have just purchased it. The owner's manual can tell you about many gimmicks or quirks of the vehicle and offer tips about cleaning and maintaining it over time.

For example, if you purchase a new classic car but can’t find the engine oil dipstick, the owner’s manual might tell you exactly where it is so you can check it regularly.

Avoid Modifications

Classical vehicles' genuine construction and unique aspects account for part of their allure. If you want to maintain your classic car’s value, try to avoid modifying it. Don’t install a new engine, change the room or trim, or give it a new paint job.

You should preserve your classic car in as many ways as possible without letting it degrade over time.

Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance is key to preserving any vehicle’s value, especially classic cars. To do this, find a mechanic or auto maintenance shop that you trust and take your vehicle in for maintenance at least once per year. This is true even if you don’t drive your car regularly.

If you want to avoid exposing your vehicle to debris or limit accident risk, see if you can find a mechanic or auto professional to come to your garage and perform maintenance on your car there.

Drive Classic Cars Safely

Naturally, if you ever take a classic car out on the road, you must drive it safely and carefully. Follow all the rules of the road and avoid freeways if possible. No one wants to ruin a good Ferrari, Porsche, or other classic used or new car.

You can also drive classic cars safely by:

  • Driving them at the right time of day, such as after rush hour ends
  • Driving them in the daytime rather than at night, when visibility is lower
  • Driving them when you are fully alert and can pay attention to other drivers and roadway hazards

Cruising in a classic car is fun. But remember, it always comes with the possibility of damage or an accident.

Invest in Proper Storage

You should adequately store any classic car you plan to keep for years. Ideally, you should have a dedicated spot in your garage or a separate garage from your regular or commuting vehicles.

Furthermore, you should invest in proper storage materials and accessories, such as:

  • A quality car cover. However, make sure the car cover doesn’t fit too snugly over your vehicle, as it may scratch the wax or paint layer by accident
  • Covers for any openings in the car, like the tailpipe

Get Your Vehicle Insured

It’s always wise to insure a classic vehicle at the earliest opportunity. Traditional car insurance can be expensive, but it’s well worth it if your vehicle is damaged. In that case, you’ll be able to repair it quickly and restore it to working condition.

Your vehicle insurance may also be cheaper if you never take the vehicle out (and never plan to do so except for car shows and similar events). Generally, if you have a good driving record and are known to be a safe vehicle operator, you’ll also have a lower insurance premium every month.

Note that you may need to use a valuation tool or price guide, such as a Hagerty Valuation Tool, to find a fair market value for your vehicle. Such valuation guides are what insurers use to determine the insurance rates for used cars of many makes and models, including classic car prices or collector car values.

Replace the Air Filter

You must occasionally replace your vehicle's air filter, even if you don't use it often. The air filter cleans the car engine's air to mix with the gas. You can easily replace the air filter in the engine compartment — new air filters are very cheap. Replacing the air filter is crucial since it affects the sound of your classic car's engine and how well it runs: factors that may affect how high it scores at a classic car show or how much you enjoy it.

Keep Classic Cars as Original as Possible

As mentioned earlier, keep your classic car as original as possible. Don’t, for example, put new seat covers or mats inside the vehicle’s interior. Instead, try to keep all the original accessories and pieces of the car intact. The closer you can keep your classic car to its original form, the better you’ll enjoy it, the higher it’ll score at car shows, and the more it’ll be worth if you ever plan to sell it.

Rotate the Tires

Even if your vehicle rarely hits the road, you should rotate the tires every time. All vehicles put different forms of pressure on their front and rear tires. That’s why rotating both pairs of tires between those slots is essential. This balances out the pressure and ensures that the tires wear down roughly equally.

If you fail to do this, your car could perform less smoothly than you imagine, and you’ll enjoy driving it much less.

Stay on Top of the Brakes

Remember to get the brakes for your vehicle checked from time to time. Good brakes are vital for safe driving. Over time, the brakes or brake pads can become worn down, mainly if your car is old. Get new brakes to replace the old ones if necessary, though try to keep the brakes in the same model or type as the previous ones to maintain your classic car’s value even further.

What Is the Value of a Classic Car?

The value of a classic car is contingent on several factors; it’s not just a price tag. For example, a classic car’s value may come from:

  • The age of the vehicle. In many cases, an older car is worth more than a newer one simply because it’s older.
  • The vehicle’s make and model. Specific makes and models are certainly more popular and prized by antique collectors than others.
  • The quality of the car. Classic cars whose owners didn’t adequatelymaintain won’t be worth as much as vintage vehicles that their owners have perfectly preserved.

On top of all that, a classic car's value somewhat depends on you. For example, according to an appraiser, you may personally prize the first classic car you ever collected, even if other cars in your collection are technically worth more.

Use a classic car valuation tool or value guide to figure out what you should price your vehicle at.

How Do You Calculate the Value of a Classic Car?

Speaking of appraisers, they are the primary means by which you can calculate the value of a classic car. When you contact an appraisal agency, they can review the current and historical asking prices for a classic car and help you determine an accurate and worthwhile price for your vehicle.

This can be advantageous if you ever want to sell your classic car or if you need to find a company to underwrite an insurance policy for it.

Are Classic Car Values Dropping or Rising?

Classic car values tend to fluctuate as they get older. After a certain point, very old antique vehicles lose some of their value, while cars that become "classic" (usually after 20 to 30 years old) start to increase in value as collectors seek to acquire them.

Classic cars from the 50s and 60s may decrease their values slightly over the next few years. But classic cars from the 70s and 80s may increase their value even further over the same timeframe. Ultimately, remember that traditional car value mainly depends on subjective tastes and cultural forces.

Bottom Line

Maintaining your classic car’s value is a matter of patience, preparation, and careful usage. If you want your classic car to last, you need to use it like the pristine and antique automotive machine it is.

You’ll also need to think carefully about moving your classic car from place to place. Fortunately, Carvaygo can help whether you need to move your classic car around town or to a new home. Contact us today to ask about enclosed car shipping and our other services.

Sources:
Will Collector Car Prices Rise or Fall in 2022? | Wayfarer Insurance Group
How to Check the 6 Essential Fluids in Your Car | Popular Mechanics
How Often Do I Need to Wax My Car? | News | Cars.com

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