When it comes to making sure your favorite car always looks at the top of its game, you know how important it is to give it a thorough detailing, from top to bottom, inside and out. This is especially true when you’re taking care of an older model vehicle, as the years can leave their wear and tear on it unless you stay diligent to keep it looking its best.
But how does taking care of something like an old Buick differ from something modern like, say, a Tesla?
The first thing virtually all people will notice about your vehicle will be its exterior paint job: a vintage car with a worn paint job will come across as worn down and uncared for. Even certain classic models with a stylized patina will only want to have specific patterns noticed, regular dirt and grime are still a big No.
Bringing out the best in your classic vehicle may be a little challenging just based on the exposure to the elements your car has gone through sun damage can fade or even burn away old paint, for example.
This along with other age-related factors can also wear down the protective layers your paint job may have once started out with, making it even more vulnerable to damage; for example, certain waxes use an abrasive rubbing compound, which can be destructive to older-model vehicles unless special care is used.
Polishing older paint needs to be handled with extra care as well due to dents or other imperfections, even minor ones, which have been accumulated over time. Claying – a means of removing deeper imperfections in your vehicle – should be done more thoroughly than with most cars, due to the buildup of the debris your car may have picked up over time.
While modern cars only need a passing glance on their wheels to retain their look and functionality, older cars will need a more in-depth cleaning to remove already-accumulated brake dust and other particulate buildups on the wheels, brakes, and more, which can potentially make your vehicle downright dangerous to drive.
Just like its outside, your car’s interior will need care and attention to keep it clean and functional. Internal paint can be just as susceptible to solar damage and fading: you can address discoloration with dyes, or you may have to consider complete repainting if the exposure damage is too severe. Fabrics and leathers on the seats and flooring will need extra care, as dried surfaces can crack, wear away or even peel off.
When washing items such as floor mats, take care to check the quality of the plastic or other base materials for preexisting damage so that your cleaning process doesn’t inadvertently exacerbate its condition; a softer touch may be needed for many of these components. Older vehicles will also need to have the fabric in the roof and doors addressed, as these can detach from their surfaces and sag over time.
Note that when detailing an old vehicle, take care with switches, levers, and anything else that could be potentially fragile, as finding replacement components should a frail part snap off may be challenging for older models.
As with anything older, the main focus in detailing a vintage or classic car versus a newer model should be about thoroughness and being delicate: modern materials are both more durable such as with modern paint coating, and more easily replaced should any damage or scratches occur, whereas older vehicles don’t have these protective layers while having already endured years of use.
Taking care of these vehicles will ensure that despite their age, your car can still look fresh and young.