Upkeep for Clunkers: How to Maintain an Older Car

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We originally published this in January of 2014, but we thought it was so important for those of you who have cars you love, that we updated the information.

Has your car racked up the miles over the years? Some people lovingly refer to their old clunkers as vintage or classic. Whatever you call it, an older car is special. Whether it kept you and your family safe through years of carpools and road trips, or it was your first car and it’s still running, you can’t deny that it needs special care.

These simple tips should help you maintain your car and ensure its safety and reliability for years into the future.Vintage classic american car in the streets of Old havana


Your brakes are obviously a key part of your car’s safety and operation. An older car is more prone to brake trouble after years of wear and tear. Be aware of your car’s brakes as it ages.

Pay attention to the strange noises as you drive, park, reverse and brake. These are clues that something isn’t right. It’s easy to ignore them in an older car, but you should actually pay closer attention to the squeaks, clangs and whirring noises that happen as you brake. Our team can check your brakes pads and shoes, brake fluid, wheel bearings and other brake parts. Make an appointment at AAMCO Kansas City to have our specialized brake technicians take a look and make any brake repairs necessary.


Check the tread of your tires, and check often. If your tread isn’t deep enough, you’re at risk for hydroplaning and trouble on snowy roads. Your wear bars are a sure sign that you need to replace your tires. To be aware of the tread sooner, use the quarter test. Stick the quarter into the tread with Washington’s head in the shallowest part of the tire’s tread. If you can see the top of George’s wig, it is time to start shopping for tires.

Take Care of Leaks

If your garage is stained with a series of colors, your clunker has a problem. Slide a piece of cardboard under your car and check it after a night of being parked at home. Water may drip from the air conditioner, but there should be no other liquids. This test helps you identify the colors and smells of your leaks. Take this knowledge to your auto technician to help them diagnose the leak and fix your car’s problem.

Caring for your older car is so important. It’s served you well for many years, so it deserves a little TLC. These easy maintenance tips should help you keep your car in good running condition for even more years. For a full inspection of your loyal car, call AAMCO Overland Park at (913) 766-2350.

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