Buying a classic carBuying a classic car offers an attractive design and driving experience but what are the potential pitfalls of buying an old car?

There are usually well-documented things to look for when buying any classic, but you should:
• Know what you’re buying – if it’s been restored, is the work of a high standard. Is it original? If not, are the modifications appropriate and installed correctly?
• Check for rust everywhere – particularly the places you can’t usually see, so peel back carpets and pay special attention underneath and inside the wheelarches
• Ensure it has been converted to run on unleaded petrol – it can be an expensive conversion if it hasn’t been done
• Find out if the seller has any replacement parts – it could be easier than sourcing them yourself
• Check for persistent blue smoke, which can indicate expensive internal oil leaks, and excessive white smoke which can point to head gasket failure – another costly repair
• Know how you’re going to get it home – you might need a trailer for a non-runner

Whatever classic you choose to buy, there will be an owners club for it. Clubs are invaluable in helping you buy and maintain your classic – and most have good social events to help make the most of your ownership.

Why buy a classic car?

• You’ll own a piece of history
• Unique driving experience
• Enthusiastic owners’ clubs and events
• Can qualify for low-cost classic car insurance and pre-1973 cars are road tax exempt
• Can be a good investment, increasing in value

Other considerations

• No warranty
• Servicing, parts and repairs can be hard to find and expensive, particularly if the manufacturer no longer exists
• Maintenance or restoration costs can be considerable
• Little protection offered in an accident
• Many are sensitive to rain, snow and road grit, limiting their use to the summer months
• A garage is essential to store and maintain a classic car properly
• Most classics need constant attention and maintenance

How Auto Trader can help:
Vehicle Check
Car valuation

More in-depth buying advice:

How to choose the right car:
Buying a used car | Buying a new car | Setting your budget
Comparing new and used cars | Choosing the right car
Buying an imported car | Buying a classic car

How to buy a car:
Contacting the seller | Inspecting a used car | Test driving a car
Haggling with sellers | Doing the paperwork

How to pay for your car:
Understanding car loans and finance | Checking your credit rating
Returning a car