Classic Car Maintenance Tips

Maintenance of your classic car often comes down to simple checks;

Chattering Windshield Wipers

maintenance of your classic carDo your windshield wipers chatter and skip even though they are new? Your windshield is probably dirty! Yeah, you cleaned it with Windex after washing the car, but it’s still dirty with an invisible film of road salts and oils. This film has to be scrubbed off. The best product to accomplish this task is Bon Ami cleanser, still found in its original 1940s-style can in the supermarket. Wet down the windshield, liberally sprinkle the powder and scrub with a soft-bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly and dry off with paper towels. You can clean most wiper blades the same way too, since the films accumulate on them as well.

Do this before washing the car to avoid mess, and Don’t use Ajax or Comet or any other chlorinated or pumice-containing cleanser. If you do, you’re going to have to learn how to re-polish the windshield glass.

Masking Made Easy

The problem: Painting stuff without having to remove it from the car. You know, that linkage on the carburetor needs some color but not getting paint on the carb itself, the intake manifold or valve covers. Or, maybe the panel holding the radiator could use a coat of paint but it’s so much trouble to remove the radiator, hoses, brackets, etc. Maybe you’re coloring the door panel and need to mask the handles, or touching up a small area of the dash. Using newspaper and masking tape is difficult, time-consuming and usually lets overspray through.

The solution: Aluminum foil. Everybody has a roll of this inexpensive product. It “forms” itself over any shape easily and quickly, and masking tape sticks very well to its edges without the nuisance of cutting newspaper and trying to hold it while sticking a strip of tape to its edge. Also, aluminum foil works great to cover carburetor intakes, generator/alternator air intakes, A/C compressors and all the other things you don’t want to get wet when you clean your engine.

Whitewall Preservation

Back in the day we washed the car and then used the same soapy water and a brush to clean the whitewalls so they came out nice and bright. Today’s whitewalls seem to turn beige after a few weeks and the auto parts stores’ shelves are filled with special sprays to clean whitewalls. Many of these products work, but leave a cloudy film on the body of the tire and cause it to lose its soft sheen.

Whitewalls become brown because of the synthetic compounds in the tire rubber. As the tire sits these compounds mix with air and become the brown film. It cleans off the tire but stains the whitewall.

One of the best, and least expensive methods of cleaning whitewalls is a bleaching cleanser, like Comet or Ajax. Wet the tire, cover a wet scrub brush with the cleanser, and scrub the whitewall. You will see it brighten up instantly. Scrub the entire circumference, then wash off the whole tire with soap and water.

If you like to use preserving or shining agents be sure to read the label to see if it should be spread on whitewalls.

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