Considering Restoring A Classic Car? Here Are A Few Tips For Beginners

Whether you're crazy about 1960s muscle cars or love foreign sedans from the early 1930s, for most classic car enthusiasts, their dream is to own a vintage vehicle of their own. If you can't afford a fully-restored classic masterpiece, you next best bet is to restore a vehicle yourself. However, before you take on this task, here are a few tips to help you get started – including which jobs you should leave to the professionals:

Ask Yourself a Few Important Questions

Prior to purchasing your classic vehicle, Cars Direct urges beginners to choose the right project for their budget and skill level. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a classic car that needs some work:

  • Are you looking for a car with a few simple cosmetic issues, or are you willing to take on a project that requires much more time, effort and cash?
  • How much time do you have to devote to the project?
  • What is your budget?
  • Are you planning on tackling most of the projects yourself, or are you going to hire a professional to tackle the majority of the build?

These questions will dictate the type of car you'll purchase. For example, if you're looking for a car with a few minor issues, be prepared to spend more for the vehicle out right. Conversely, a car that is more damaged will typically cost less up-front, but you will probably wind up spending more money on parts and labor.

If you only have a few days or weeks, a car that doesn't require much work is the best option for you. However, if you are planning on devoting every weekend and spare moment to the build for the next few months, go ahead and get a car that needs a lot of work.

Finally, if you're planning on hiring a professional to take on the majority of the project, be aware that you will wind up spending more money – but it is well worth the extra cash. A professional will have the tools and expertise required to restore your classic car in far less time.

Jobs Most Beginners Can Tackle

You may consider yourself a classic car expert, but do you have the skills and tools necessary to take on the more complex aspects of the restoration? Don't get in over your head, and instead, here are a few jobs that most beginner backyard mechanics can handle:

  • Replacing the headlight casings and headlight bulbs
  • Replacing the air filter, spark plugs, windshield wiper housing and blades
  • Flushing the radiator
  • Replacing the brake pads
  • Replacing the radiator hoses and serpentine belts
  • Replacing window belt strips

These are all projects that can easily be completely on almost every budget. Additionally, these are ideal projects if you don't have the money to purchase specialty tools or you don't have a large space to tackle the repairs.

Jobs to Leave to the Professionals

Finally, although there are many projects that beginners can easily tackle, there are other chores that should be left to the professionals. These projects require specialized tools and skills that most novice mechanics simply don't possess:

  • Exterior painting – especially if you want to match the original paint color: Many paint colors are discontinued, which can make it difficult to match. A professional auto body technician will have the experience necessary to restore your vehicle to a near perfect match of the original color.
  • Interior upholstery work: Ripping out and replacing the interior upholstery is tricky and very easy to mess up. This is a job that once again requires specialized tools and training.

Restoring a classic car is a fun project, especially if you choose the right vehicle for your budget and skill level. If you're considering restoring a classic automobile, the best way to get off on the right track is to locate a professional auto repair technician in your area who can help you tackle the more complex projects. You can check out a site like to find an auto body repair shop.