Classic Car Restoration Tips For A Movie-Worthy Ride

More than ever, people are looking to buy used cars to help them save money on one of the biggest regular expenses for the average family. In fact, used vehicles sales have been on the rise for seven consecutive years. However, not everyone buys used vehicles just to save money; some do it for the look and feel of a classic vehicle, or to recreate one of their favorites from the big screen. Plenty of people have restored their classic cars to look like the DeLorean of "Back to the Future," the Dodge Charger of "Dukes of Hazard," and many more. If you want to have a great looking vehicle that costs less to start, a classic car can be a great option. However, you'll need to be ready with these tips so you can properly restore and maintain your vintage vehicle.

Know What You're Willing To Spend

When it comes to classic cars, you might think you're getting a good deal at first. However, the initial price tag can be misleading. While you might save on the initial purchase price for a used vehicle, you'll more than make up for it in repairs and maintenance, even if you do the bulk of it yourself. In 2009, the revenue of machinery maintenance and heavy equipment repair services in the U.S. totaled around $29 billion. Set a budget while you're shopping for your classic car, and know what you can spend on both the initial purchase and repairs combined. This will help you avoid breaking the bank in pursuit of a great new vehicle.

Materials Matter

For those new to car restoration, you might be surprised to learn just how much the materials you use in your restoration can make a difference on the final result. Having the right type of metals and maintenance materials greatly change the overall outcome. While it can be nice aesthetically to match the existing material, it's sometimes worth making a bit of an upgrade for the sake of durability. Stainless Steel 304 is the number one most common grade of stainless steel, so plan on using a fair amount of that.

The materials you use to maintain your car once you've got it restored matter as well. Be careful when it comes to filling up the gas tank, making routine repairs, or even just changing out your oil. Semi-synthetic lubricants contain less than 30% oil content in concentrate while pure synthetics contain no oil whatsoever. The choice you make on your oil will directly impact your engine's performance, and these differences really start to matter once you get a car that's more than a decade old.

Don't Go Alone

Finally, when you start looking into restoring a classic car, you'll want the best advice and help there is out there. But where do you start looking? Check with friends and family to see if you know anyone personally who can help you out with restoring your car. If that doesn't work, many areas have clubs and organizations dedicated to car restoration and helping out beginners. Contact these groups or attend a meeting to see what you can learn from other restoration hobbyists. Some might even be willing to help you fix up your first car and get it ready to take out on the road.

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Classic cars look great out on the road and on the silver screen, but it takes a fair amount of work to get them there. However, the skills you learn along the way can ultimately help you save money on a car that you feel proud to drive around town. Just be sure to use these tips to keep your classic car running smoothly once you've gotten it fully restored.