There are two reasons you would want to restore a car: first, your present car needs a lot of work, so you decide to fix it on your own; and second, this is the only way you can afford to have your dream car. Whatever your reason is for restoring a car, one thing is for sure: it is a bit overwhelming. The prospect of restoring a car sounds like a daunting task, so even experienced car enthusiasts don’t even try to do it.
But if you have already decided to restore a car, you’ve taken the first step already. Now, all you have to do is plan what you need to do. Even the most complex of cars can be restored if you know these lessons first.
Know Your Options
What kind of car do you want to restore? What is available that you can afford? Visit used-car lots so you can make a list of car models and brands that you might want to restore. This way, you will also know how much you need to shell out for a used car. Older models that are less maintained will be cheaper than well-maintained models that are just five or six years old. If you are looking for a classic car to restore, the best place to find them is in a used car dealership.
Join a Club
You will learn a lot just by joining a club for people who restore cars. People join these clubs because they want to learn and share their experiences. That’s what you are going to get by joining car restoration clubs. You can learn from the mistakes of others who are also doing the same things you do. Clubs are full of friendly people who are passionate about their plans to restore a car. You will even pick up some pointers on where to find certain parts and suppliers.
Prepare to Learn
Even though you are confident about your skills, you might be lacking in some that are important in restoring a car. For example, you need to learn welding, bodywork, paint, electrics, and upholstery. If you’re going to pay for all these services, you might as well just buy a new car because it will cost that much. The exciting thing about restoring a car is the process of learning.
You can even think about enrolling in a class that will teach you the basics. You can learn the rest of the things online and via your peers in the club. Don’t be overconfident about what you know. It’s essential to learn from the experts.
Invest in Tools
Do you only have a basic set of tools? You might want to invest in a more comprehensive toolkit because you will need all those when you start restoring your car. And it’s not only hand tools that you need. Add some power tools, too, such as a grinder and power drill. These will be handy when you start to remove and replace car components.
Enjoy the Milestones
Restoring a car takes a long time. Unless you can spend a month doing only this, you will need months (and sometimes, even years) to see a fully restored car. Remember to tap your back for the little milestones. If you see one aspect of your car in a finished state, treat yourself to a good dinner. That’s how much work you’ve already done. Take the process one step at a time.
It will take time before you can finish restoring a car. Sometimes, components are not going to be available for a long time. You have to order them from outside the country, so they take months to arrive. You also have to learn to compromise. You won’t always afford the component or part that you want. There will be some compromises along the way as you have to choose a different brand or make. Nothing beats the excitement of turning an old junk car into something you will proudly drive on the road, but you have to be patient before you reach that point.
When you are finally done with the project, you will be proud of what you accomplished. Take that car on a spin even when it is not fully furnished yet, so you can be sure that the mechanics are working well. That’s when you can start on the exciting part of making it look like a classic or turning it into something better aesthetically. After the hurdles of restoring a car’s engine, the part about its aesthetics is what’s exciting for car restorers.