8 Essential Safety Upgrades for your Classic Car

The safety features on new vehicles are the most innovative we can imagine, but it’s hard to match that for classic cars. New vehicle models on the market provide some of the most advanced safety features technology has to offer, such as lane-keep assists and 360-degree cameras. But for classic cars, unfortunately, even modern safety measures are inventions that will probably never be released by their original manufacturers. With classic cars there’s only one way to stay safe: buckle up your seat belt every time you get into a vehicle no matter what type it may be. 

Now joking apart, if you’re a classic car lover, it may be worth investing in some upgrades for your ride, especially if you plan to drive the vehicle. In fact, This is especially true for people who will be driving with their children or other passengers on board. 

The safety belt experts at Orion Safety Belts have put together a few upgrades for classic cars that will let you drive safely with the style and grace from years ago.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable old-fashioned ride, make sure to take advantage of these safety features that can save your life. But first, let’s start by making an honest evaluation of our classic rides.

Is your classic car safe to drive? 

Classics are a tricky subject. It’s not simple or cheap to make them safer and it doesn’t always work out well in the end, either. Many collectors want things left as they were precisely because their car is fundamentally different from anything else on the road today – every little detail sets these cars apart from everything else.

As someone who’s knowledgeable about classic cars, it should come as no surprise that they’re not designed with safety in mind, well at least not by modern standards. However, you can make some tweaks to the car so it has a higher chance of surviving an accident.    

What type of Classic Car do you own? 

Before we go about recommending safety measures for your car, it may be a good idea to clear the air about the type of car you own. Yes, we’re talking about making the distinction between different types of classic cars. 

People often use the words “classic” and even just plain ‘old-fashioned’ to describe something as having a particular style or quality that is from another time. There can be some confusion for those in search of antique autos because they may not realize that there are three different categories: classic cars which have been around for 20 years or more; antiques with 45+ years on the clock; then finally we have our prewar automobiles manufactured before 1930 — these would qualify as being classified under ‘vintage’.

So in essence, the antique car is the one you always dreamed of as a little kid. The classic cars are those which have really gone through time and made it this far (you probably own one now), while vintage vehicles are pre-war manufactured before 1930. No matter what type of classic cars you own, it’s important to do certain modifications and upgrades in order for your vehicle to be safe by modern standards. Let’s take a look.

Essential safety upgrades for your classic car 

1. Install a three-point seat belt 

It’s no secret that seat belts are pretty important. But did you know there was a time when most cars didn’t have them? In fact, it was not until 1968 that all new vehicles were required by law to come equipped with three-pointed seat belt systems. That means if your vehicle is older than 1968 then it might not be as safe for you on those long drives out of town or around traffic jams and potholes. Today all cars install three-point seat belts as standard equipment. Technically, the modern belt is designed to better distribute weight and reduce risks of injury in a collision than older two-point belts. But if your car was made before 1968, you may not be driving with this safety feature. 

As much as enthusiasts may want to maintain the originality of their precious collector’s cars, it is important not to neglect safety. In certain cases like seat belts for example, collectors should be sure that they install them properly rather than just leaving them in place and hoping for the best. Now, if you are looking at installing a new set on your classic car, and you are not confident enough to do it on your own, you should get professional assistance as it could make all the difference in the event of an accident.

2. Implement anti-break lockers

After living with a classic car for so many years, it’s understandable to worry about the aesthetic of your vehicle. But upgrading to an anti-lock system can be the difference between life or death and less skidding on slick surfaces. There are few things that can turn a classic car from something desirable to an old clunker. Losing the ability to stop quickly is one of them. Modern anti-lock systems make it possible for drivers to maintain originality while still having modern safety features in place when they need them most – on slippery surfaces or if there’s another vehicle involved in the accident.

Anti Lock brakes allow drivers to maintain steering control when braking unexpectedly and avoid skidding on slippery roads. Anti Lock brakes are becoming a necessity, but it’s unfortunate that classic cars don’t have them.  

Now, when you think of your classic car, the first thing that may come to mind is its unique style. The second thing people often associate with a vintage ride is their drum brakes. Drum brakes have been around for many years and allow drivers to slow down by pushing on two pedals in order to bring friction against brake shoes inside a metal housing which will then create pressure as they rub against each other- but these drums can only take so much before wearing out or cracking due to frequent use. 

Luckily there’s an easy solution: modern disc braking systems offer superior stopping power than traditional drum brakes because instead of relying on efficiency alone, they also rely upon hydraulic fluid (which has higher temperatures) rather than just air under high pressure making them more durable.

3. Install a backup camera for your classic car 

Technology is incredible. If you have a classic car from the 1970’s, then it may not come with any type of backup camera. With limited rearward visibility and an exponential increase in technological advancements over the last decade or so, this can be very dangerous for your vehicle even if it has never had any accidents before. Fortunately, there are many affordable options to consider when installing one on your own.

Using a camera to protect your classic car is surprisingly easy. Plus, you don’t have to make any permanent modifications on the ride itself. There are three different styles of mounted cameras: flush-mount, surface mount or license plate mounts. The compact style is very popular now and these small units do not require any permanent modifications that will ruin the look of your ride. With such a wide variety of compact cameras available, you can easily find the perfect one to fit your needs. 

These tiny and discrete devices are sure not to go unnoticed with their sleek black or chrome finish that will match any vehicle type. This means you don’t have to damage your classic ride in order for it to be able to keep up with modern technology. 

4. Your classic car deserves modern headlights 

The headlights in older cars are not as bright as their modern counterparts, and they’re made with a more fragile material. You should swap out that old-style headlight for something new if you want to improve your visibility on the roads when it’s dark outside or at night.  

From way back in the day, cars have been using sealed-beam headlight bulbs. These are not as bright or efficient as modern halogens in newer vehicles. To improve visibility during nighttime hours and to make a classic vehicle feel more like home when driving at night, you should replace your original headlights with modern options such as LEDs or Halogens. This will offer better illumination that is both brighter and longer-lasting for less cost. More importantly, you can install them without changing the look of your classic car. 

5. Deploy power steering for greater control 

You might have noticed the steering wheel on your car is a little smaller than those found on older vehicles. Why is this? It’s because many modern cars use rack and pinion power steering, which means drivers can control their vehicle more easily when making turns or driving in reverse. The steering wheel, once an instrument of leverage for drivers from the past, is now a relic. Modern vehicles come equipped with power-assisted rack and pinion steering which allow those who drive them to have more control over their vehicle’s direction than ever before.

With the new power steering system in place, it becomes much easier to gain control of your classic car when unexpectedly faced with an obstacle that could otherwise turn out hazardous for you and others around you.

6. Install electronic ignition and keys 

The sound of a points ignition system is like the purr or growl that you get when your car starts. It’s one thing to be in love with an old-fashioned automobile, and it’s another for them not to start at all. It’s no secret that the older your car is, the more likely it will be in need of an ignition system repair. It might not seem like a big deal when things are running smoothly for you now, but there is always going to be a stage where the points ignition system wears out and breaks down on you as well. 

No matter what, you will be left stranded without a working car.

The best way to make sure this never happens is by having an electronic ignition system installed on your engine as soon as possible. They are more reliable and have fewer moving parts than other types of systems which means that it’s less likely for them to break down unexpectedly while you’re driving around.

If you’ve been holding on to your old vehicle, now’s the time to make some upgrades that will help protect it from thieves and burglars. With just a screwdriver or wire cutters, they could be stealing your car in minutes. Old cars are easy prey for thieves because they lack the modern security features that newer models have. Modernizing your old keys is necessary if you own a classic car. 

7. Sound deadening for improved comfort in classic cars 

The material used to absorb sound energy within your vehicle is what sets it apart from the rest. There are many different types of materials that do just this, such as butyl rubber, mass-loaded vinyl and lead. Each helps make your car’s interior quieter by absorbing any excess noise received through the environment or manufactured sounds like music coming out of speakers in a stereo system. Today, sound deadening is one of the most popular upgrades for a classic car and is a great way to make your ride more comfortable and quiet.  

The interior of most classic cars gets hot quickly, especially when they don’t have air conditioning. If you’ve got a high-power engine or large diameter exhaust system then keeping up with temperature is even harder. A layer of sound deadening material should do wonders by making your vehicle feel more comfortable. 

8. Get radial tires for your classic car

One of the more unique aspects of classic cars is that many were fitted with bias-ply tires. These types of rubber are woven in a cross pattern, which means they’re much hotter than other tire designs and will wear down faster too. This also limits your car’s ability to handle difficult terrain.

There’s a big difference between radial and bias tires. Radial tire design eliminates many of the issues with traditional, old-fashioned designs like those found on most passenger cars today. They offer superior handling, stability when cornering or turning sharply at high speeds because they keep their shape due to cords that don’t intersect one another in any way; you get better traction too.

It is not a question of whether or not radial tires are better than bias-ply. Radials provide superior traction, handling and cornering capabilities that have been proven in the market for decades now. Now, if you are searching for classic authenticity, many companies manufacture radial tires with a bias-ply look. Radial designs offer the aesthetic of ‘yesterday’s world’ while keeping up to date on safety and performance aspects in today’s era.

Should I make modern upgrades for my classic car? 

Car enthusiasts have a wide variety of options when it comes to upgrading their classic cars. Upgrades can include increased safety, performance, and comfort features such as touchscreen command centers or interactive dashboards with premium sound systems. For those who prefer speed, upgrades like turbos and superchargers are available for that extra boost. The modern upgrades, by and large, are a matter of preference and not much of a necessity for classic car owners. 

Even though many classic cars undergo a makeover to be as safe as today’s vehicles are, they can never escape their original design flaws. Perhaps, safety wasn’t always considered in the design process for classic cars. Even with upgrades, we can never change how a car is fundamentally designed to work – and that means there are inherent risks involved when driving older vehicles.

Rest assured, you’re in
safe hands

Get in touch with our friendly team today to work out your requirements and we can deliver exactly what you need.