There’s a lot of work and care that goes into maintaining a classic car. Not only can parts be challenging to come by, but older cars are also more prone to problems. If you consider yourself relatively handy, there are some basic repairs and maintenance tasks you can probably tackle yourself to save some money. Still, it’s important to understand when to bring your classic car to a trusted mechanic or other auto professional to handle more complex repairs.
When to DIY Car Repair
Ultimately, you should only attempt DIY repairs on your classic car that you are 100 per cent confident and comfortable in your ability to fix them. The last thing you want is to make a mistake during what should have been a routine repair, resulting in even more damage and higher repair costs.
The good news? You don’t need to have a ton of experience to handle some basic repairs and maintenance tasks on a classic car. One of the simpler tasks you can likely perform on your own is that of replacing spark plugs when they go bad. Just be sure to purchase the correct replacements for your type of vehicle and this should be a relatively quick and easy fix.
Some other common DIY car jobs (with the right tools and experience) include:
- oil changes
- replacement of windshield wipers
- topping off of fluids
- air filter replacement
- tire pressure adjustment
- DIY car detailing
Handling your own repairs can be a great way to save money while keeping your classic car in the best shape possible. For example, by doing your own car detailing, you can easily save hundreds of dollars by not using a commercial service to clean and detail your vehicle. Of course, you first need to make sure you have the right supplies (this could include waxes, microfiber towels, detailing brushes, glass cleaner, etc.).
Anytime you decide to embark on your own car repair, it’s a good idea to have a copy of your owner’s manual readily available for reference. Depending on the age of your classic car, obtaining a manual may be challenging. If so, consider looking for a copy of a Haynes manual for your car’s make and model; this can be very helpful when it comes to tackling basic repairs and maintenance.
When handling DIY repairs, it’s also important to make sure you have the right tools for the job. At the very least, keep your garage stocked with:
- adjustable wrenches
- torque wrenches
- a socket/ratchet set
- plenty of screwdrivers
- a jack
- work gloves
When to Seek Professional Car Services
As you can see, there are plenty of car repairs you can probably handle on your own—but when it comes to caring for your classic car, many larger repairs are best left to a professional.
Replacing window glass (especially windshield glass) is just one example of a classic car repair that should always be done by a professional. Glass replacement can be very complicated, and even a small error in alignment could have major consequences for you behind the wheel that could cause trouble on the road or make driving unsafe.
Likewise, whether your classic car has a manual or automatic transmission, any gear replacement or transmission repairs should be handled by a qualified and experienced auto mechanic. Mistakes with these repairs can cause serious and costly damage to your engine.
Some other examples of classic car repairs that are best left to professionals include:
- engine repairs
- car battery replacements
- electrical system repairs
- major body work
When replacing parts in your classic car, working with a professional auto mechanic can also give you added peace of mind. That’s because many reputable mechanics will include not only a warranty on the replacement part that is installed, but on the labour for the part as well. This way, even if the part fails or you run into a related problem after the repair, you can take your car back to the shop to have it addressed at no additional cost to you.
Having proper repairs done on your classic car can help maintain its reliability and optimize your car’s lifespan. Meanwhile, you can retain your classic car’s value by keeping it properly maintained with help from a commercial auto repair expert.
Taking the Best Care of Your Classic Car
While there are certainly some repairs you can DIY with your classic car, it’s important to understand when bringing your car to a qualified mechanic is the more sensible or safer option. And of course, having the right classic car insurance policy in place can help take some sting out of paying for car repairs, so be sure you have a policy that’s working for you and the kind of classic car you’re driving.