Restore An Old Car

With prices of many classic cars out of the reach of the average collector, more and more enthusiasts are turning to restoring their dream cars themselves. But like all projects, there's plenty of work to be done before you get there.

how to restore an old car

If you're looking for an old car project to be an investment, you'll need to choose the car carefully, and then do most of the work yourself. I've been fortunate to have done this several times successfully, but I've also had a few projects, which after spending time and money, have abandoned for a loss.

Read: Plan Right and Get Started


Arguably, the three most important elements needed to restore an old car are knowledge, patience, and tools. Automotive restoration tools include hand tools, air tools, bodywork tools, and other specialty tools.

old car restoration tools

Read: Automotive Restoration Tools

Classic car restoration is very time-consuming. Having the right tools saves you time and sweat. You'll also want to set up your garage as effectively as possible.

Read: Set Up Garage Workshop


Just because your classic car is old, doesn't mean the motor needs a rebuild. It may only need minor repair that can be done without pulling the engine out. To determine what is the best course of action, diagnose your engine's condition and symptoms.

Read: Does My Engine Need A Rebuild?

tools needed for an engine build

Read: Rebuild/Repair Old Car Engine


Automotive bodywork is time-consuming, messy, and frustrating, but when done correctly, gives the most satisfying results. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut or "easy way" to doing restoration-quality bodywork. What you put into it is what you get out of it.

Read: Automotive Bodywork


There are two things you shouldn't skimp on during an old car restoration, and those two things are tires and brakes. Even if there's still good usable tread, tires start to dry rot in 5-6 years, even sooner in hot climates.

bias ply tires

Read: Classic Car Tires

Repairing or replacing the brake system is the most important part of any old car restoration. Take no shortcuts when rebuilding classic car brakes. If you notice a low brake pedal, it's probably a sign something is wrong.

Read: Disc And Drum Brake Overhaul


Automotive restoration is much more than just about the old car in your garage. It's about having a reverence for the past and helping to preserve history. It's about meeting similar-minded people who share the same passion, and learning skills you never thought you'd have.

author Mark Trotta

Completion of a major project such as an old car restoration is extremely uplifting. The feeling you get is like no other!


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