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Archive for October, 2017

Purchasing the Classic Car of Your Dreams

Buying a classic car might be one of the most exciting purchases you’ll ever make, so it pays to do to your homework. Antique and vintage cars can be costly to purchase, restore, and maintain.

Whether you’re looking for a project car to work on yourself or a fully restored show car, you’ll want to make a smart, informed decision.

Deciding what to buy

There are numerous options when buying a classic car, but before getting out the checkbook, it’s good to think about what’s right for you.

  • Be careful about the investment. Making money on classic cars can be very difficult. Buying something simply because you think it’s a good investment can be risky as the collectible car market is very volatile. Experienced dealers will tell you that a collectible car is only worth as much as someone will pay for it; the ‘book value’ isn’t a guarantee. If this car will be for fun, focus in on cars that you would be proud to own and drive for years to come.

  • Decide how it will be used. Think carefully about what you want to do with the car. Will it be driven daily or just on weekends? Would you like to show it? Will it sit in your garage under a tarp and rarely get used?

  • Establish an affordable budget. Carefully figure out what you want to spend and stick to it. Keep in mind that restoration projects can be very, very expensive. If you buy a fixer-upper, you may quickly exceed your budget on parts and labor. A bargain car may end up costing you more than a pricier, but cleaner version.

  • Do your research. Be sure to check the average retail value to get a baseline price. Read any information you can find and check auto auctions and price guides to help determine what the fair market value is for your car. Be extra cautious when buying a car on the Web. eBay has good tips on purchasing a classic car online .

  • Check mileage. As with most used cars, the fewer miles on the speedometer, the more the car is probably worth. Don’t be afraid to purchase a high-mileage car; just be sure it is reflected in the price.

Inspecting the car

Careful inspection is very important when buying a classic car. You may want to use an inspection service. Or if you want to do it yourself, here are a few things to consider:

  • Clear title: Check if the car is registered to the seller or not registered at all. Fees and penalties can really add up if you need to research and apply for a title.
  • VIN: Make sure the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the title matches the official VIN tag on the car. If they do not match, it’s possible it may have been in a serious accident or be a counterfeit or stolen.
  • Interior: Original is best. Check if the seats, upholstery, badges, radio, dashboard, and emblems are damaged or not factory original. Finding and replacing these can really add up.
  • Exterior: Try to examine the car in natural daylight. Look for the condition of the paint, obvious dents, and panels that are misaligned or mismatched. Major welding marks can be a sign of a clip job — attaching the front or back half of a junked car to a vehicle after it has sustained severe damage.
  • Rust damage: A little can be expected, but if complete sections of floorboards or body panels are rusted or show signs of repair or replacement, you should be very cautious. If a professional did not do the repairs correctly, there’s a good chance the rust could return.
  • Test drive: If the car is running and safe and legal to drive, take it out for a spin. It’s a good opportunity to check for any serious problems. Listen for anything out of the ordinary, such as noises, squeaks, and clunks. If it feels loose going around corners or over bumps, there may be costly suspension problems.

Maintenance and Care

Finally, your childhood dream car is sitting in your garage and is officially yours. Time to show it off to the world, right? Well, not exactly. After picking up a classic car, it tends to need a little bit of care for the present and consistent care for the future.

To lend a hand, here are five easy classic car tips:

  • Before you take it out, taking it in for a good, strong, handwash is a must. But that’s not the only time to take it for a wash. To maintain the perfect look, washing it and keeping it as clean as possible will keep salt, grime and other impurities from becoming permanent throughout the exterior.
  • After handwashing your classic ride, it’s time to really give it a shine to show off that custom paint job. And waxing is the best way to really make the paint pop. Done about once every six months should do the trick as well as chrome polish on the chrome trim throughout.
  • Wash and wax has the exterior shining but that’s only half of the battle. When riding around town, showing off the interior to friends, on-lookers and passangers is just as important. That’s why protecting the leather and vinyl from sun damage and stains is vital. Simple leather creams, vinyl cleaners and UV blockers can help here.
  • Having a good looking car is good for anyone looking at it while it’s parked but the ride and engine is what really turns heads. With regular oil changes and other fluid changes, your engine should remain in peak condition.
  • Pulling up to a stop light with a beautiful ride and a loud engine can garner some attention.But once the breaks squeal, it may receive more laughs than oohs and ahhs. That’s why it’s important to maintain the breaks and pump them whenever possible to keep them as smooth as possible.

Winterizing Your Classic Car

Before the first flakes begin to fall, it’s a good habit to prepare to winterize your classic auto to ensure proper storage for the lengthy winter season. Here is a detailed step by step guide from our friend’s at Hagerty Insurance.

Before Storage

  1. Select a dry, dark location for storage — preferably with limited access. Concrete flooring is best at keeping away moisture. If you must store your car on a dirt floor, place a plastic barrier under the vehicle, and place carpet pieces or plywood under the tires.

  2. Give the vehicle a good wash/wax. Putting on and removing a vehicle cover will lead to unwanted scratches if the car is dirty.

  3. Fill the fuel tank (preferably with premium) and add fuel stabilizer. Be sure to run the vehicle to move fuel stabilizer into the carburetor, fuel rails, injectors, etc. The fuller the tank, the less room there will be for air, which carries moisture that can lead to fuel contamination and possibly rust within the tank.

  4. Change the oil and filter right before putting away the vehicle. The clean oil will reduce the risk of harmful contaminants working away at your engine during hibernation — and you’ll be ready to go in spring.

  5. Check the antifreeze.

  6. Add air to the tires.

  7. If you’re storing your car offsite, some insurance companies require you to report the address of the offsite location. Check with your insurer to determine your policy’s requirements.

When Storing

  1. Place baking soda refrigerator packages in the interior and trunk areas.

  2. To keep insects and vermin out of the car, put a plastic bag over the air cleaner/air inlet and exhaust pipe(s). You also can cover these with aluminum foil and tape securely. Place mothballs in the tailpipe and around the outside of the car, or insert steel wool in the tailpipe.

  3. Place the vehicle on jack stands. This step avoids tire flat spots and adds longevity to the suspension because it is not supporting the vehicle’s weight during storage.

  4. For your battery, take one of the following actions: Unhook the battery by removing the negative cable first and store it separately — never on a concrete floor and preferably where it will not freeze; or leave the battery in the car and put a battery tender on it, if there is power available. That way if you want to start it a few times in the winter you don’t have to put the battery in and out.

  5. Close all of the windows.

  6. If the vehicle will be exposed to freezing temperatures, be certain no personal items that may freeze or burst are left in the vehicle.

  7. There are varying theories about periodically starting the vehicle. This writer feels unless you get the engine up to operating temperature for a good 10-plus minutes to burn off the water vapors that initially develop at startup-cold operation, starting is not a good idea. Anything less will leave water in the combustion chamber and all exhaust components.

Bringing Your Baby Back to Life

  1. Charge the battery for a solid 24 hours. When returning the battery to the vehicle, attach the positive cable first.

  2. Once your car is uncovered, inspect it for any signs of insect or vermin damage.

  3. Remove the baking soda units. If you forget them, they may spill during driving.

  4. It’s a good idea to check for floor leaks, check all fluid levels, and check the tire pressures.

  5. Remove plastic bag (aluminum foil) from over air cleaner/air inlet and exhaust pipe(s).

  6. Apply the brakes ensure they work and that you have a good pedal. The steel brake lines can rust out and leak, and vermin can chew through the rubber brake hoses.

  7. Start the vehicle and check for any fluid leaks.

  8. Give it some extra time to warm up, and check the lights, horn, etc., while the temperature begins to rise. Drive it slowly for a mile or so. Some components such as transmissions and rear-ends require movement for full/proper lubrication.

  9. After driving a bit, check it again for leaks, etc.

  10. Your car cover may have become dusty over the long winter months — give it a good cleaning according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  11. Lastly, but most importantly, do a burnout for me!

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