How to Maintain Your Vintage BMW

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How to Maintain Your Vintage BMW

A vintage BMW is dream car for many drivers. To be considered vintage, most cars have to be at least 30 years old. As BMW has been producing cars since the 1920s, that means there are a lot of models that are classified as vintage. If you are a vintage BMW owner, you can keep your car in top condition by performing some maintenance. This means looking after the exterior, interior, and mechanics of the vehicle.

You may also need to take care when storing the BMW, as most vintage cars are not driven daily. Some owners even store their cars for the winter to keep them safe from water, cold weather, and road salt. Vintage BMWs can be bought from private owners and online at websites like eBay. The supplies to care for an older car can be purchased in an car accessories shop, DIY shop, from a BMW dealer, and on eBay.

Wash and Wax the Exterior of Your Vintage BMW

Washing and waxing the outside of the vintage BMW is essential to preserve the body of the car. Regular cleaning helps to keep corrosive elements and dirt off the surface. These elements can destroy the paintwork and even the metal body of the car in the long run.

Products for Washing the Car

The exterior of the vintage BMW should be washed regularly when it is driven, and also when it is put into storage. Use materials and tools designed to be gentle on paintwork. This includes soft cotton or chamois cloths and a gentle car shampoo. Special materials do not scratch or lift the old paint off the car's surface, so they help to preserve the original paintwork. Below is a table of the best products for taking care of the exterior of your vintage BMW.




pH balanced shampoo

Removes dirt


Meguiars Car Shampoo

Cotton cloth

Removes dirt

Dries car

Use 100 percent cotton

100 percent cotton cloth

Chamois cloth

Removes dirt

Dries car

Autoglym Chamois Cloth

Detailing clay

Pulls contamination from the surface

Autoglym Detailing Clay

Car polish

Removes the dull surface from the paint

Simoniz Car Polish


Protects paint

Adds shine

Turtle Wax

Washing and protecting the exterior of a vintage BMW completely takes a few hours. Gather the products in one place before starting to clean the car.

Washing the Car

Wet the surface of the vintage BMW thoroughly with clean water, then apply the pH balanced shampoo using the cotton cloth. After rinsing off the shampoo and while the car is still wet, use the detailing clay to remove stubborn surface contaminants that were not removed with the shampoo. The clay actually pulls out contaminants from the paint without damaging the surface. Rinse the car again and dry with the cotton or chamois cloth. If the BMW paint is dull, which can happen for vintage cars, use a very gentle car polish to help to bring a shine to the surface. The final step of the process is to apply the car wax to help to protect the surface for the next 8 to 12 weeks.

Care for the Leather Interior of Your Vintage BMW

Many vintage BMWs have a leather interior. As leather is an organic material, it is prone to decay without proper care. To care for the leather properly, wipe down the seats and apply leather conditioner monthly.

Caring for Cracked Leather

If the leather interior has become stiff and is cracking, then more involved maintenance is required to get it back into good condition. Firstly, ensure that the entire leather surface is cleaned with mild soap, water, and a brush. Dry the leather thoroughly with a soft cloth. Apply a leather filler compound to the cracks. Ensure that the compound is the same colour as the leather seats. Allow it to dry, then sand around the edges of the cracks with 240 grit sandpaper to remove a very small amount of the surface so that it is level with the rest of the leather. Apply a leather repair solution to the entire surface. Once the cracked leather is repaired, you can maintain it with leather conditioner to keep the problem from reoccurring.

Fix Mechanical Concerns for Your Vintage BMW

Vintage BMWs need a lot of mechanical attention to stay in a good driving condition. With years of consistent maintenance and gentle treatment, drivers can keep most of the original parts on their BMW. However, there are some components that wear out and need to be replaced. Every 80,000 km, make sure that the car has a general tune-up by checking and replacing components as required. These components include the spark plugs, belts, coolant, and filters. All of the hoses and belts should be replaced eventually, so be prepared to do this or take the car to a professional mechanic. Also, check the wheel alignment and bearings, and the engine compression at least once a year. Consider having a sealant applied to the undercarriage to prevent rust.

Regular Oil Changes

Every car, old and new, needs the oil changed regularly. The manufacturer, BMW, recommends its own brand of oil, BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil, for all of its vehicles. However, it may be difficult to get the recommended oil for the car. There are alternative brands that BMW has approved for topping up the oil, including Castrol and Mobil. Vintage BMWs should have regular oil changes to help to prevent the build up of engine sludge and to keep the car running smoothly.

You can take the car to a professional mechanic to have the oil changed or do it at home. Most BMW engines use 5 litres of engine oil. Officially, most BMW engines only need an oil change every 16,000 km. However, most professional mechanics recommend that you change the oil every 4,000 to 5,000 km. Vintage BMWs should have an oil change closer to the 4,000 km mark.

Store Your Vintage BMW Properly

Part of maintaining a vintage BMW is storing it properly when it is not in use. Always store a vintage car in a garage to keep it away from the elements. Add to this a protective cover made of cotton flannel, which is soft on the paintwork and allows good air circulation. Before storing, wash, detail, and wax the car to remove potentially damaging contaminants from the body. Drain all of the fluids from the vehicle, particularly the engine oil, and replace the brake fluid. Lubricate all of the joints with a fresh coat of grease to protect them over a long period of disuse.

If the car is going to be in storage more than six months, remove the petrol from the tank and run the car until it is completely out of the system. Also, remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Roll down the windows slightly to allow air circulation inside the vehicle. Add a box of baking soda to keep odours from building up. Block the tailpipe with a cloth to keep small animals from getting inside to nest.

Buying Supplies to Maintain Your Vintage BMW on eBay

You can find all of the supplies that you need to care for your vintage BMW on eBay. Most of these supplies are affordable, and many are sold by sellers with multiple listings of car care accessories. To find these items quickly, start on the eBay home page and enter keywords, such as the make, model, and year of your vintage BMW and the type of product that you are looking for. Filter the results by price if you want to stick to a certain budget.

Searching by Postcode

You may save a little bit of money on postage and packaging by narrowing your search to a specific location. You can search by postcode or use the filter option on the search results page. The site requires your postcode and a distance in order to find local sellers. After entering this information, eBay updates the results automatically to show the closest matches.


Caring for a vintage BMW is a commitment for any owner. These vehicles are well built and last as long as they are cared for properly. As the vintage BMW get older, there are extra steps that you need to take to keep the car in the best possible condition. However, the rewards for this extra work include the chance to own a vintage car and its ever increasing market value. Start by keeping the car clean. Wash, detail, polish, and wax the exterior. Keep the leather interior looking great with leather conditioner. If there are any cracks, they can be fixed with some time and patience.

Vintage BMWs are also likely to have a few mechanical concerns. Address these by replacing old hoses, belts, and keeping the wheels aligned. This type of maintenance should be performed more often than it would be on a new vehicle. Oil changes should also occur more frequently; use a BMW approved engine oil for the best results. eBay sellers offer a range of car care supplies to maintain your vintage BMW.

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