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Making your classic car safer to drive

Making your classic car safer to drive

Without doubt modern cars are safer than vintage and classic cars.

For all their good looks, character and style, vintage and classic cars have some safety shortcomings compared to their modern counterparts that roll off today’s production lines.

Even the most basic modern cars come standard with ABS antilock disc brakes, air bags and accident roll cages.

And that's just the cheap ones.

Scale up and the safety features only get better.

With a bit of work your classic car will not only look good but can be brought ‘up to speed’ for safe, reliable and efficient, modern motoring.

Here are some tips for things you can do to make your vintage and classic car safe for 21st century motoring.

Disc brakes

Adding a modern disc brake system to a vintage or classic car will make the world of difference in its ability to be controlled and stop at speed.

Your vintage or classic may have its original drum brakes that provide effective stopping power but require frequent adjustments as they wear.

Power steering

There are conversion kits that can be easily fitted to older vehicles that will increase their manoeuvrability.

The cost and types of aftermarket kits that are available will depend on the make and model of your car.

Check for rust and damage

Get key suspension components and the vehicle's frame checked for damage or rust.

Frame damage or weakness or failing suspension parts can cause a serious accident.

Old parts don’t last forever

It’s more than likely that all the original rubber mounts and seals of your older car are worn or have perished and brake lines, engine mounts, and body-to-frame mounts may need to be replaced.  

As well as the rubber parts, the actual steel brake and fuel lines might be rusty or worn and may need to be checked or replaced.


Check to make sure you have modern three point seatbelts and that they're correctly installed.

Dashboard gauges

Older cars have basic dashboard gauges and problems like overheating or inefficient charging may not be noticed until it’s too late.

Replacing the guages will allow better monitoring and will help identify any potential issues.

Temperature and charging gauges are the most important and you can add them under the dash or hide them in the glove box to keep your vintage or classic car’s originality.

Radiator fans

One of biggest frustrations you might face with an older car is what the fan does when stuck in traffic, which is likely not spinning very fast!

Replacing the old mechanical fan with an electric one will reduce the potential of overheating.

Electronic ignition

Until the mid 70’s most cars had a points ignition system, which needed regular adjustment and cleaning to keep your engine starting and running smoothly.

Points deteriorate over time and the result is poor high speed performance, incomplete combustion and other timing problems.

An electronic ignition system replaces your old contact breaker points with a modern one that you wont have to think about and you’ll get better reliability, easier starts, more power and a more fuel efficiency.

Covered for an accident in your classic car? Check out NRMA's Veteran, Vintage and Classic Car Insurance.

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