Keep It Classic: How to Store Your Vintage Auto
by Michael Driscoll
Classic cars are worth big money. The Los Angeles Times reported that at the 2013 Monterey Car Week, 726 cars were auctioned off for a total of more than $300 million. Need more proof? Well, according to the Knight Frank's Luxury Investment Index, the average value of classic cars has risen about 430 percent in the last 10 years.
Of course, not every vintage automobile is going to turn out to be an eye-popping investment, but if you've just recently purchased the classic muscle or sports car of your dreams, you should invest the time and energy into keeping it in primo condition. And who knows—one day, your classic beauty could be worth as much as those auctioned off during Monterey Car Week.
Protect It From the Elements
Don't leave your vintage auto out in the elements. Your prized possession needs the protection of a garage, preferably heated, or at the very least a carport. Many collectors also drape a car cover over their vintage auto for added protection.
Unfortunately, there is always a chance that something bad could befall your prized automobile. A freak storm could blow down the building in which your car is stored, or someone could break in and take your vintage vehicle for a collision-filled drive. Even if you don't plan on driving the car often, insure your investment.
When choosing an insurer, make sure that the one you select understands classic cars. For example, The Hartford offers special discounts for antique vehicles and will work with you to get the best coverage for your classic car.
Long-Term Storage Tips
- Before storing your vehicle, spray a silicone spray or a dry Teflon lube on your auto's weatherstripping to prevent it from bonding in place.
- Although it's not a good idea to leave gas in the fuel tank while you store your vehicle, it's also a bad idea to drain your auto completely. Instead, add a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil to your tank before storing your vehicle for long periods.
- Thoroughly clean your vehicle inside and out before storing it for long periods of time. Although some car lovers will put their cars up on jacks or wood blocks, Newsday recommends inflating tires to five PSI over the maximum recommended pressure, which should prevent them from flat spotting during storage.
- Check your vehicle on a regular basis, preferably at least once a month. Because mice are always looking for a dark and warm place to nest, your car's interior or engine compartment will look like prime real estate to them. Inspect your vehicle carefully to make sure they haven't set up shop.
- If your vehicle is being stored for a very long period of time, you should drive it or at least start it periodically in order to keep your engine components lubricated and your battery charged.
About the Author:
Michael Driscoll is a retired New York City cop who blogs while pursuing a law degree.