How an Elevated Environment Can Affect Classic Cars

classic cars

There’s nothing like the thrum of a proper engine. Modern cars can’t hold a candle to classic vehicles regarding aesthetics and the sheer joy of driving. Maintaining a classic car can be difficult on its own, but the environment in Utah makes it even more so. It takes certain measures to protect your vehicle, which is one of your assets. Make adjustments to keep your car and your trips safe.

Thin Air

Air gets thinner with elevation. You might notice your car running with less horsepower as you go up and its engine sounding strange. Newer models might not have much of a problem with their computer chips and fuel-injection systems.

However, older vehicles will need proper dyno performance adjustments aside from the usual tune-ups. Getting a dyno allows you to get as much horsepower from your vehicle while maximizing fuel efficiency. A typical dyno can give your car an additional 20 to 30 horsepower. You can also opt for turbocharging. A turbocharger sucks in air like a jet engine, compressing and directing it into your car’s engine.

Just note that you’ll also need to tune your car to minimize emissions. Salt Lake City is dishing out fines on vehicles that fail to meet emission standards to curb pollution and minimize the effects of winter inversions.

Harmful Ultraviolet Radiation

Sunlight, and the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that comes with it, gets more concentrated with elevation. Salt Lake City is bombarded with 30 percent more UV compared to states at sea level. Constant exposure to UV can damage your car’s paint job, making it lose its luster and appear drab and faded. Red paint fades the fastest, while blue and violet fade much slower.

You can also minimize fading by going black or white, but what’s a classic car without a bit of color? Preserve your car’s vibrant colors with ceramic coating. The process can cost around $2,000, but your car’s paint job should hold for up to five years.

Of course, not only does UV affect your car, but it also affects its passengers. Utah is second only to Hawaii when it comes to the rate of skin cancer and melanomas. Most Utahns develop melanomas on the left side of the body, the side exposed through the side windows of a car. Your car should have UV protection on its windshield, so you only need to apply UV-filtering film on its side and rear windows.

Particulates During Winter Inversions

Winter inversions bring smoke and particulates — lots of it. Unless your car is constantly housed in a clean room protected from the outside environment, you’ll need to clean your car regularly to remove the dirt and grime. Don’t bother with automated car washes. They often use harsh chemicals, and the rollers and spinning mop things will damage your car’s finish. Go for the two-bucket approach, where you constantly rinse your wash mitt with clean water after applying the shampoo solution.

winter season

Crossing Wild Life

If you’re driving to Wasatch or Summit County, make sure to watch out for wildlife. Almost 60 percent of all accidents involving wildlife occur in these two counties. Deer and the occasional moose can cross roads when you least expect it, causing unavoidable collisions.

While classic cars can take a beating without significant damage, repairs and restorations will also be more expensive. Try to avoid the most rural parts of Utah, particularly in November when the critters start coming out. Drive slower if you’re unsure of the road, and try to schedule your trips during the day for more visibility.

Zealous Cops and False DUI Charges

Classic cars stand out. You might find yourself getting pulled over more frequently than the average driver because of your ride. Utah has one of the strictest DUI laws in the country, with a blood alcohol content limit of just 0.05. A couple of drinks could get you over the limit even if you barely feel the effect of the alcohol.

Cops can tail you after seeing you come out of a bar or restaurant and pull you over, claiming reasonable suspicion of DUI. Protect yourself from over-reaching officers with a dashboard camera. A clear record of your drive can easily refute claims of reasonable suspicion, and most officers will soften their stance once they see a dashcam.

Driving and maintaining a classic car can be a pain and a challenge, and Utah’s environment doesn’t make it more manageable and accessible. Fortunately, the sound of a proper engine and the look of a proper car trumps every disadvantage. Remember to take good care of your vehicle.

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