Restoring a classic car is a very time consuming and rewarding experience. It can be very daunting if it’s your first car restoration; you’ll need the patience to stick with it and prepare for it to take longer than you expect.
Even if you’re choosing to restore classic motors as a hobby, you may be able to sell them and make some profit from them. Alternatively, you may want to customise the car and add your personal touches to make it unique to you. Ultimately, vintage car restoration is a big commitment, so make sure you take the time to choose the car you want.
This article will highlight the primary considerations for restoring cars and how PlusGas can help speed up the process.
Should I restore a classic car?
Before you start your old car restoration project, here are some key things to consider:
All cars suffer from wear and tear problems. However, specific makes and models will have issues characteristic of the car and something to look out for before purchasing. If you have decided on a particular make and model of the vehicle you want to buy as a project, do some further research to understand what common faults you need to look out for. This could be anything from wiring issues to rust forming in the sills and wheel arches. Familiarise yourself with these issues and understand what tools, expertise and most importantly, the amount of budget you will need to rectify these issues. Browsing web forums of enthusiasts will undoubtedly help and visit local clubs as their members often have experience fixing these problems.
After spending many hours researching where to find old cars to restore, you’ll be delighted when you find your dream car. Before you get too enthusiastic, it’s essential to check the supply of the parts you will need for the particular make and model. Some classics no longer have spare parts available. The next best thing is autojumbles or specialist fabricators that can make you the part you need.
If the part supply is limited for your chosen vehicle, this will add extra stress and time if you need to replace parts. If you join a classic car club, you can share experiences with other members who have the same passion, and you may even be able to exchange spare parts.
Vehicle restoration isn’t a cheap hobby, and it depends on the car you buy and how much work needs doing. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a vehicle you want, as you’ll be investing a lot of money and effort. Many classic car restorations can cost over £20,000, so you may want to decide on a budget before you choose your car. Also, allow a 30% buffer for any unexpected expenses!
Assess your skills
Prepare to learn new skills as you may not be an expert in all the processes required, such as welding and electrics. To help develop your skills, many colleges offer car body repair courses and training in restoring old cars for beginners. This training can help save you time by learning to do the job correctly. Haynes Manuals and restoration books and videos can also be beneficial. However, you may need to lean on some classic car specialists for particular elements, such as spray painting. Many restorers expect to use specialists for specific tasks, so you should not see it as a failure. As long as you know your capabilities, you can budget for any professional work required.
Do you have the time?
Restoring a vehicle isn’t a quick task and requires dedicated time to help the project to progress. If you find you already lead a busy life, you may want to consider how much time you can devote to working on a vehicle. Suppose time is tight and you still want the joy of owning a classic car. In that case, opting for a vehicle that has already been restored could be an option, where you then focus on maintenance and keeping the vehicle in tip-top condition. This option will cost you more upfront, and most enthusiasts will say the enjoyment comes from working on the car and driving it. Review how much time you have available each week and how much of that you can commit to working on a classic project.
Before you purchase your dream car, you need to consider where will you store it. Vehicles that need restoring don’t often have a valid MOT or are taxed, so you must keep the car off public roads. Ideally, you will need the vehicle close to home, so it is convenient to work on. You may be lucky enough to have a garage or carport, but check the dimensions of the garage/carport to ensure the vehicle will fit within this space and provide you with enough room to work on it. Car covers are another option if you plan to store the car on a private driveway, or you could look at renting storage. Keep in mind that additional storage will eat into your budget, and it is vital to check whether the facility has electricity for your power tools. No access to electricity will mean using a generator if permitted or using cordless power tools.
Can you restore a rusted car?
Once you’ve chosen your classic automobile, the first step is to strip down the car to assess how much work you’re dealing with and inspect surface rust and corrosion levels. When stripping down the car, it’s good to label any components (and store them safely) and photograph how they fit for future reference.
PlusGas penetrating spray helps speed up the strip down process and prevent nuts and bolts from shearing. If you have any seized up bolts, this can cause delays, add to your costs if damage occurs and prolong the time required on the project. Spray PlusGas and leave it for a few minutes to penetrate and help you undo bolts easily and prevent shearing, especially if the car’s been standing still for a long time. Here are some examples of metal car components and mechanical parts that are prone to seizing:
- Brake calliper
- Brake bleed nipples
- Wheel nuts
- Lock mechanisms
- Circlips and jubilee clips
- Steering knuckles
- Axle nuts
- Suspension bolts
- Cylinder head bolts and exhaust brackets
Other ways to use PlusGas as part of classic car restorations:
- Use PlusGas as a water-displacing spray to pre-treat the metal parts to avoid moisture build-up and remove and adjust them easily during your restoration process.
- To maintain smooth movement on any moving parts, such as on window regulators.
- To remove excess grease and grime on well-used parts by using a rag to clean the surface.
Find out more on how to use PlusGas for vehicle maintenance and repair.
Watch how PlusGas can be used to speed up vehicle maintenance:
What tools do I need?
You will need a wide variety of vehicle repair tools and supplies for your restoration job. As it’s intensive work, choose high-quality, heavy-duty tools that will last the duration and won’t need replacing.
Many power tools and equipment are versatile, and you can use them for other projects, but ensure you include these costs in your budget. However, you may not need some tools if you choose to outsource particular processes to a classic car garage.
Here are some critical tools needed to restore a car, but this is not an exhaustive list:
- A right angle grinder
- Wire brushes
- Sockets and wrench
- Torque wrench
- Breaker bar
- Power drill and drill bits
- Wire strippers and cutters
- Torx-head, Allen-head and Ball-head drivers
- Mole grips
- Inspection lamp
- Floor jack, axle stands and dollies
To help prolong the life of your automotive restoration tools, use PlusGas to clean and maintain them in top condition.
As you start working on your classic restoration, you may want to break the project down into stages to celebrate when you achieve each milestone. This achievement will motivate you to continue until you can enjoy the finished result and start thinking about the next project!
If you have used PlusGas during your vehicle restoration, then let us know. We love to hear about the projects our customers are working on.