- Hero image by: Chris Breeden. All other images as credited. Art, text and errors by: Chris Breeden

5 classic car mechanical problems

Five things to look out for and some simple solutions.

40w ago

14.5K

Let's face it, as much as we love our Classics, we will never be able to drive them as much as we'd like! As a result of that, our pride and joy will spend much of it's time setting in a garage. I'm convinced that the worst thing that can happen to a car is for it to set for too long of a time. Not using a car can be as abusive as over use. Here are 5 common problems faced with owning a Classic car and some simple solutions.

1) FLAT TIRES:

A flat can ruin your day! Photo by: Chris Breeden

A flat can ruin your day! Photo by: Chris Breeden

We've all experienced that moment of walking up to our cars and seeing them setting a little crooked! "Is a spring broken?" or "a shock bad?" have all went through our minds. We are usually relieved to find a flat tire. In the time it takes to drag the airline out, plug up an air compressor and track down the tire gauge we can easily correct this problem. If you always seem to be airing up the same tire it might be a good idea to check the valve stem. They can become loose and cause the air to leak out over the course of several days. Check it with some soapy water, looking for bubbles to appear. If the valve stem isn't the answer, then consider removing the wheel and checking the whole tire. The solution to this annoyance might just be a simple tire plug. Oh, while we are on the subject: Check your spare tire!

2) NON WORKING LIGHTS

Give the police a rest and check your lights regularly! Photo by: Chris Breeden

Give the police a rest and check your lights regularly! Photo by: Chris Breeden

Non working lights are a disaster waiting to happen! In order to figure out why you have one not working grab a test light and head directly for the not burning lamp. First, test to see if you are getting electricity to the bulb by checking the socket. A majority of the time not working lights are due to a burnt out bulb. If you are getting power to the socket, then the problem is the bulb. If power isn't present at the bulb socket then the problem is deeper and is going to require some experience with wire troubleshooting, but most of the time the bulbs the problem. Consider putting two spare bulbs in your glove box in case this happens while out on a drive.

3) DEALING WITH DEAD BATTERIES

Be sure and give your battery a good charge when you are bringing a car out of winter storage. Photo by: Chris Breeden

Be sure and give your battery a good charge when you are bringing a car out of winter storage. Photo by: Chris Breeden

We all know what the sound of a low battery is like. Usually, these things come up at one of two times. When we head out to the garage to start our car or while trying to restart after driving. While both are annoying, the latter can be expensive. The solution to this is to install a battery tender on your car. These devices will keep your battery topped up while the car is setting at home. If you run into problems out on the road, then a good old set of jumper cables can really save you, but only if you have a set. Most people do not carry them around anymore, so it's a good idea to have a set in the trunk of your classic.

4) OIL CHANGES AND GREASING

You'll need a few special tools to change our classics oil, but they are worth it! Photo by: Chris Breeden

You'll need a few special tools to change our classics oil, but they are worth it! Photo by: Chris Breeden

Doing these two things yourself will save you money and time in the future. You might be able to get it done cheaper at a shop, but most shops are only going to change the oil. They aren't going to notice things about your car that would be apparent to you. Also, they aren't going to grease it correctly. So put on some old clothes, break out the floor jack, jack stands, oil pan, wrenches, rags and that greaseball, grease gun and get to know your car! The first time you find something and correct it before it becomes a problem, you'll thank me... You're welcome!

5) INSTALL A POINTS ELIMINATOR KIT

Accel Point Eliminator Kit. Photo from accel.com

Accel Point Eliminator Kit. Photo from accel.com

Just let the old style points and condensers die! They had a good run, but the world moves forward and using these is as pointless as using a 6 volt electrical system. If you still have one of those, then how are you reading this? I know you don't own a computer. The new kits will eliminate all of the bad things surrounding the old style and no one will ever know you've changed them out.

So there you have it! Those are my picks for the 5 easiest things to fix with any Classic car. These problems can be annoying, but much like everything with Classic cars, a little attention can cure them and allow you to...

Keep on Cruisin'!

Art by: Chris Breeden

Art by: Chris Breeden

About the Author:

Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck.

30.1K23/6-4/22/19

Join In

Comments (7)

  • Bought a 74 Beetle new...after 45 years of occasional driving, and my retirement, I overhauled the engine (took it to 1776), converted to 4 wheel disc brakes, electronic ignition. Driving it early and often during the cooler months and loving every minute of it! Original paint....Germans know how to build cars! Don’t have to get a state inspection sticker and only renew registration every 5 years...guess my last drive will be to the cemetery!

      10 months ago
  • The flat tire and dead battery, oh the memories

      10 months ago
  • Aside the points kit, these problems apply to literally any car. Not just classics.

      10 months ago
    • I thought this was going to be about vapor lock, or other carburetor issues

        10 months ago
  • You forgot adjusting valve lash and drum brakes! And flushing out carbs. Oh the fun! The thing is it could be fun.

    I never had battery problems. Alternators and generators either worked or didn't. Rebuilt units could be very flaky. Bulbs were far more accessible in "ye olde days". These days, you almost have to dismantle the entire front clip to deal with a headlight. If you could follow instructions, carb rebuilds were pretty easy. You might as well rejet them for better performance while you're in there. Drum brakes were easy to adjust, just miserable to change pads on. Those springs were torture. Valve adjustments were just tedious and time consuming.

    Often these "chores" included a good amount of camaraderie. On a nice Saturday there could be two or three cars in my driveway being tinkered on.

      5 months ago
  • Most common old gas and Rodents.

      10 months ago
Loading...
Loading...
7