Taking a Road Trip with a Classic Car
Ah, a long relaxing drive across the country, wide open roads, and endless horizons before you. It’s been a favourite (dream) vacation for most people ever since people started owning cars and there’s no better way to do it than in a beautiful classic automobile.
Classic cars are elegant and lend a certain air of romance to road trip adventures. Sadly though, they are also more likely to develop problems than newer cars. Don’t let car troubles ruin the road trip of your dreams! We’ve put together this nifty little set of tips to help you enjoy your road trip with a classic car and make lots of great memories.
Get your mechanic’s approval!
You keep your classic car in mint condition, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready to take on hundreds or thousands of miles. Take the car to a mechanic who knows your vehicle and talk to him about the trip you want to take. He might suggest you get ahead of any problems by replacing a part or two. Also, ask your mechanic for recommendations of other garages along your route that you could go to in case of any difficulty. Bear in mind though, that classic cars require specialized care and many regular garages won’t be equipped to work on them. You don’t want to trust your vehicle’s repairs to just any auto body shop!
In the case of an issue, you can also talk to your insurance company, as they will have a list of approved mechanics. You can trust in the quality and expertise of this work, as your insurance company can hold these businesses accountable (plus they want to make sure everything is done right the first time).
Learn some minor maintenance.
It would be worthwhile to learn how to fix some of the smaller problems your car might be prone to as well as take care of minor maintenance such as oil changes. You don’t have to be a mechanic yourself but think of this as the classic car version of learning to sew a button back on. You wouldn’t want to have to go to a tailor for something little like that, right?
Insure your car properly.
Have you looked at the insurance policy for your classic car lately? Make sure it will cover any damages that may happen on the trip you’re taking. This is very important because some classic car policies assume the owner is only going for an occasional drive and the policy might not explicitly include coverage for long trips since these are demanding on the car and many policyholders might never use such coverage.
Similarly, make sure your policy will cover the full length of your trip! Many classic car policies have driving limits of a certain number of kilometers since, more often than not, classic car owners choose not to drive very far in these vehicles.
Are you driving into a foreign country? Double check to make sure your policy will cover your vehicle and you. It may actually require that you notify your insurer in advance. Your broker will also be able to guide you on issues relating to international driver’s insurance.
Also, ask your broker, does your insurance include roadside assistance? If yes, make sure you’ve got that info handy on your trip! Classic cars need special handling and cannot be picked up by just any tow truck.
You may also want to ensure you’re protected in case something happens to you - travel medical insurance is a necessity if you’re planning to leave Canada (and especially if you’re going to the US, as medical costs there are astronomical). While trip cancellation or interruption are "nice to haves," travel medical is really essential to ensure you're not paying huge fees to take care of any emergencies that may occur.
Where are you going?
Learn all you can about the road conditions and weather of areas you’ll be driving through. If you’re stuck for ideas, how about these classic road trip adventures:
- Top 12 Road Trips in Canada
- Alternative Canadian Road Trips (World Nomads)
- Canadian Road Trips for Families
- Best American Road Trips (Lonely Planet)
- Four Classic American Road Trips, from Niagara to New Mexico (The Guardian)
Travelling in a classic car will be a memorable adventure. You can make sure all your memories are wonderful by following the tips above.