The Most Common Problems With Classic Cars

Lake Oconee Boomers

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The Most Common Problems With Classic Cars

It’s no wonder people love classic cars. They’re stylish, have impeccable craftsmanship, and stand out amongst the boxy and mass-produced vehicles of today.

But classic cars are also old. About 20 years or older, typically. If these cars were human, they would thrive in their prime; but they’re no spring chicken in car years. And because they’re old, they face problems that you wouldn’t normally see in newer vehicles.

Here are some of the most common problems with classic cars and how to prevent (or fix) them, so you can keep your classic car looking classy and driving smooth.


Most classic cars come with old cooling system parts not designed to keep up with modern driving. Classic cars also consume heavy amounts of motor oil, leading to wear and tear on the engine. A worn-down engine, then, is more susceptible to oil leaks and oil burning. This leaves the engine more prone to overheating than usual. If your classic car is overheating, any of these are the possible cause:

  • a rusted radiator
  • broken fan belt
  • broken fans or thermostats
  • clogged radiator hoses
  • cooling system leaks

Is there a ton of blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe? You could have a problem with the motor oil. Installing a pyrometer gauge on your classic car is one way to keep track of your engine’s temperature and detect overheating early.

Damaged Paint

Do you want to keep your classic cars’ original paint job? Unfortunately, the paint won’t last forever. The next most common problem with classic cars is unavoidable paint problems. Eventually, the paint will oxidize.

You can extend the life of your car’s paint by always parking it in the shade, never cleaning it with harsh compounds or dry cloths, and regularly waxing the exterior. But when you start to notice rust spots, chips, and sun damage, it is time for a new coat. The good news? In most cases, painting a classic car doesn’t decrease its resale value. In fact, it can even improve it!

Broken Brakes

One unique thing about classic cars is that they don’t have dashboard warning lights. This means if something in your vehicle goes awry, it won’t tell you.

Classic cars usually come with worn-down brakes. Since your vehicle can’t alert you to problematic brakes, every classic car owner should have the brake system inspected and replaced before or after purchase. You should also take your car in for regular brake inspections to ensure nothing goes wrong in the future.