Making Your Vintage Car Safe (Part 2 of 2)

With their striking, timeless looks and massive rumbling V8s classic American muscle cars have become legends, beckoning back to a simpler time with a pure unadulterated driving experience. So it can be easy to forget that most vintage cars came with minimal safety features or with none at all. But with the advent of modern automotive safety technology, deaths related to automobile accidents dropped significantly in past decades. With this safety technology and a little help from the aftermarket, making your classic car safer is possible.

Braking System

Probably one of the most important things to update and maintain on your vehicle is the braking system. Replacing your classic car's soft brake lines alone can have a massive impact on your vehicle's stopping distance; these rubber lines can wear out much faster than standard hard brake lines. Worn out soft rubber brake lines can flex and swell under pressure, causing delayed or uneven braking. Many aftermarket companies offer braided steel lines that alone can greatly improve your vehicle's braking ability. If you want to take it to the next level, swapping out your old tired drum brakes for a new set of disk brakes is probably the best safety upgrade you can make to your classic car, with less chance of the brakes locking up and will improve stopping distances.

Lights

Whether it is to see at night or let the car behind us know that we are slowing down, the lights on our vehicles are our way of communicating with the outside world when we are driving. Between bad wiring and old halogen lights, classic cars can fall short of our modern-day standard of safety. Replacing old dim light bulbs along with faded plastics and glass that can reduce the brightness of your vehicle's lights. If you are looking to take your car to the next level and fully update your classic car's lighting, many companies offer advanced LED light kits available for just about every application. Most classic cars do not have hazard warning lights, An unlit broken down car on the side of the road can create a dangerous situation at night, so it is a good idea to carry a roadside safety kit with road flares, reflectors, or flashing light indicators to alert other drivers of your location.


Fire Safety

Even if you don't own a Pinto, your classic car catching on fire can be a very real and scary possibility. Most old cars leak a small amount of fluid; although generally overlooked by most, this can be a big fire hazard. An overheating engine can easily ignite oil, and even antifreeze. Rats, mice, and squirrels can be unbelievably destructive, from ruined uplustry to their foul smell. But can also be the cause of a fire. Whether from half-chewed wires or an ill-placed nest. Regularly inspecting your vehicle, especially if you have stored or have let your car sit for an extended period of time, can be a simple yet foolproof solution. If you do often store or let your car sit, investing in some close box rat traps can also significantly reduce the problem. Often overlooked, the only thing separating the trunk and often gas tank from the cabin of the vehicle is the back seat on many old cars. This can be very deadly in a rear-end collision; adding a rear metal firewall can be a life-saving modification that can usually be done relatively easily. Carrying a fire extinguisher in your car paired with a quick-release mount can be a simple safety precaution to prevent a fire from spreading if disaster strikes.

Insurance

Less of an aspect of safety, but definitely a very important part of classic car ownership is good insurance. If disaster does strike, having good insurance can be a lifesaver. Not all insurance companies are created equal, nor are their policies. Be sure you have a classic car policy that has agreed-upon replacement cost if the vehicle is totaled is extremely important for the owners of collectible cars.


(Read Part 1)

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