Restoring a car can be an immensely satisfying project to undertake. Seeing an unloved, battered, rusty auto transformed into a gleaming, beautiful, desirable car takes many months (or years) of effort, but it’s a great way to learn new skills and could even result in a significant amount of money. If you’re considering finding and restoring a car, then follow this simple step-by-step guide to car restoration to ensure you do a great job.
Restoring any car is often complex and time-consuming, but you can save a lot of wasted effort by researching your car first. Look for owner’s guides or manuals, which can easily be picked up in second-hand book shops and thrift stores. Research other owners’ experiences on blogs and Internet forums to see if they can share any tips or advice. Don’t be afraid to talk to professional mechanics, too.
You need to thoroughly inspect your car to establish exactly what needs to be done. List all the items that need replacement and those that need repair. This can be a time-consuming stage and may mean that you have to dismantle parts of the car, but it is much better to establish and plan for the scale of the task at the very beginning. With your car fully inspected, you can identify exactly what you need to buy.
Many owners enjoy this part more than any other. There is nothing more satisfying than finding a rare part or a bargain. Scour junkyards and second-hand shops. Talk to mechanics and dealers to see if they have any old parts that they may be willing to sell to you. Many old cars and parts are sold at auction. You may prefer to buy two cars of the same make and model at auction and cannibalize them into one. The most difficult parts may be available online. It’s good to find as many parts as possible before you start restoring but you can source them as you go along, too. You may not be able to find a genuine manufacturer’s part, so be prepared to compromise and use newly manufactured parts if you have to. Remember, also, that genuine parts are normally quite expensive. If a supposedly genuine part seems very cheap, then it may be too good to be true.
Once you have all the parts you need (or enough to get going), you should draw up a plan of what you intend to do. Use the owner’s manual to establish a sensible order and structure to your restoration. You should, for example, always work on the body work last, as it is easily damaged when you are working on the engine or the underside of the car. Planning helps you establish whether you need storage space for the seats and wheels, for example, as well as room to actually work on the car, too.
Of course, the hard work starts when it comes to the execution. Make sure that you have an appropriate working space. A garage or detached workshop is ideal, as you need to keep the car dry at all times. Create storage space for parts that have been removed and subsequently will need to be replaced, and ensure that you have various sizes of containers to keep all the smaller parts together. Set aside the appropriate amount of time for each task, and, above all, don’t rush. Taking car restoration step by step is not only logical, but it allows you to savor each aspect of your project. You should enjoy the experience of restoring your car, so take time to get it right and have fun.