Avoiding Mistakes When Cleaning a Classic Car

Avoiding Mistakes When Cleaning a Classic Car

Posted by Anderson Restoration Parts on 24th Nov 2023

A bit of care is needed when cleaning any vehicle, and classic cars are some of the best examples. Classic car owners often want them to be pristine from a cleanliness perspective, whether for a car show, a ride around town or just a simple showcase in the front yard, and knowing how to achieve this without risking any damage or other issues is important.

At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're here to help classic car owners with a huge range of restoration part needs, with parts for major brands like Cadillac, Lincoln and numerous others. We also regularly provide tips and expertise to clients on important care areas for their vehicles, including cleaning and related needs. Here are some common mistakes that we see made when cleaning classic cars, plus how to steer clear of them and ensure that your vintage car not only looks great, but is not at any risk in the process of getting there.

Pressure Too High

While it's understandable to want to blast any dirt off the surface of your classic car, using too much pressure can be detrimental to the vehicle's paint and finish. Pressure washers are great for cleaning modern cars, but when it comes to classics, they can often damage the paint or strip off any decals.

As an alternative, use a low-pressure nozzle or even a garden hose to gently rinse off any loose dirt and debris before moving on to the next step. This will help prevent any damage to the car's exterior while still achieving a clean result. Also be sure to never aim the nozzle directly at any seals or weather stripping, as this can cause leaks and other issues down the line.

Using the Wrong Products

Another common mistake is using harsh or abrasive products on a classic car's exterior. While these may be effective for removing grime in other situations, they can strip off paint or damage delicate chrome and trim pieces on vintage vehicles.

Instead, opt for gentle, non-abrasive cleaners specifically designed for classic cars. These products will be effective at removing dirt and debris without causing any damage or discoloration.

Skipping the Drying Process

After washing your classic car, it's important to thoroughly dry it off with a soft cloth or chamois. Skipping this step can lead to water spots and streaks, which can be difficult to remove and may even cause damage to the car's finish over time.

When drying, work in small sections at a time and use a clean cloth or chamois to prevent any leftover dirt or debris from scratching the paint. Also, make sure to dry any nooks and crannies where water may collect, as this can lead to rust or other issues.

And while you may be tempted to "air dry" your classic car, this is not recommended as it can also lead to water spots and streaks.

Neglecting the Interior

While the exterior of a classic car may get most of the attention, neglecting the interior can have negative effects on its overall appearance and value. Make sure to regularly vacuum and wipe down all surfaces inside the car, including seats, dashboard, and carpeting.

For leather interiors, use a gentle cleaner and conditioner to prevent cracking or fading. And for fabric seats, consider using a protective spray to repel stains and make future cleanings easier.

No Waxing or Sealing

Another important step in cleaning and maintaining a classic car is waxing or sealing the exterior. This helps protect the paint from UV damage, as well as creating a barrier against dirt and debris. It also adds shine and luster to the vehicle's finish.

When choosing a wax or sealant, make sure to use one specifically designed for classic cars, as these will be gentler and more effective on vintage paint jobs. And always follow the instructions carefully to ensure best results.

Cleaning a classic car requires a bit of extra care and attention, but with the right products and techniques, you can achieve that pristine look without risking any damage or issues. Just be sure to stay away from high-pressure washers, abrasive cleaners, and skipping important steps like drying and waxing. And don't forget to give the interior some love as well!

At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're always here to provide tips and advice for keeping your classic car in top shape. Visit our website to shop our selection of restoration parts and accessories, and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns about caring for your vintage vehicle.