Car Clinic: Cleaning Classic Cars
Let’s take a look at what you should be doing to keep your classic in good nick for years to come.
If you’ve got a classic car or two in your collection the chances are they’re not on the road every day and the last thing you need is for your motor to be gathering dust in the garage. The classic car market is booming and retro motors are now being revered like priceless renaissance paintings and when it comes to looking after such precious motors, that itself is an art form. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing to keep it looking like new.
Firstly, cleaning a classic car is different from a modern car and using the wrong products can cause expensive damage to your pride and joy. Here we look at some helpful pointers for how to clean a classic car.
Use a High-Quality Towel or Soft Mitt to Wash the Exterior
Avoid using a sponge or brush as this can easily scratch the paintwork. Your choice of soap is also important when it comes to protecting the paint so be sure to avoid any detergent that contains abrasives, as that can be damaging. Remember, regular dish soap is designed to clean plates, not cars. Paying a bit more for quality car shampoo will save you having to pay to mend the paintwork from damage caused by cheap dish soap.
Make Sure you Clean the Car by Hand
It should go without saying but make sure you clean the car by hand, while a car wash might seem like an easier option, it’ll almost certainly do a poorer job than you can do yourself. Not to mention you run the risk of damaging it and you have no idea what soap is being used on your paintwork. A hand wash lets you get into the delicate areas, particularly around the wheels. When washing, while it may be tempting to start with the dirtier areas usually at the bottom, you should always start from the top so the water naturally runs down off the car.
Stick to Washing the Car in the Shade, Never in the Sunshine
The sun has a nasty habit of drying the soap quickly leaving those annoying streaks, especially on the glass. Be sure to rinse the soap off thoroughly and then dry your motor yourself with a high quality chamois leather cloth, to help avoid rust. Classic car owners will know rust is a real pain in the neck to sort so you want to do what you can to stop it from happening. If you’ve got a vinyl drop top you can just use warm soapy water and a soft-bristle brush for good results. Ensure you don’t fold it up while it’s still damp though to avoid permanently wrinkling the surface.
Be Sure to Wax Your Bodywork Regularly
This doesn’t have to be done after every single wash but at least once a month or so. The purpose is to protect your paint from the elements as well as keeping it looking as shiny as it did when it was first assembled. You should also be polishing the chrome on your beloved motor (if indeed it has chrome parts) to keep them looking as good as new. Now let’s not forget about the tyres. It’s extremely important that you take good care of them, as you don’t want to be hunting around for expensive replacements if they split or crack. Tyre conditioner can help with protecting them and will also make the black colour shine.
Part of the fun of owning a classic car is the experience you get from the inside, all the old dials and features are what give the car its old charm, so it’s crucial that you keep the interior looking fresh. When cleaning the windows ensure you use a cleaner that is meant for car windows. Believe it or not a regular glass cleaner for your home doesn’t work the same on the glass in your car. The reason being, over-the-counter window cleaners mostly contain ammonia, which will leave streaks on your car’s glass. When dusting, especially on the dashboard, use a microfiber towel as this will attract the dust to it making your life easier and will give you the best results.
Be Mindful of How and Where You’re Storing the Vehicle too
Classic cars don’t like being in direct sunlight, especially if it’s red as the sun will soon take the shine off it, and humidity can cause rust. Ideally it should be off the road in a secure garage away from the elements. Putting a cover over it will also help protect it. Taking care of your classic car will not only make it run better but will also help hold (or increase) in value so it’s well worth going the extra mile.