Over the last few years, there’s been an increase in the sale of muscle cars throughout the country. Lots of people are getting interested in purchasing and restoring these classic cars. Are you part of this group?
If you’ve been interested in figuring out how to restore a muscle car (whether you recently bought it or it’s been in your garage for years), we’re here to help. Explained below is everything you need to know if you’re getting ready to restore your car to its former glory.
Common Car Restoration Mistakes
Restoring a muscle car can be tricky, and a lot of enthusiasts unknowingly make some pretty serious mistakes along the way. The following are some of the most common car restoration mistakes you ought to avoid:
Skipping the Test Drive
It’s always a good idea to take your car for a test drive before you get to work on it. The test drive can tell you a lot about the state of the car and which aspects of it need the most attention.
If you skip the test drive, you’ll be going in blind and could end up spending a lot more time and money than you planned at first.
Starting with the Engine
It may be tempting to start your project by addressing the engine. This can be a big mistake, though, especially if you think it’s going to take a long time for you to get to the rest of the car.
If you rebuild the engine and then let it sit and gather dust for months, you could find yourself having to spend more time and money on it later.
Neglecting Paint and Metalwork
Leaving paint and metalwork until the very end is a classic rookie mistake. It often takes a lot more time and money to get the exterior of the car up to par, especially when you’re dealing with a classic muscle car. To avoid this issue, focus on these aspects early on to ensure you have the budget for them.
Buying Parts Too Soon
It’s important to make sure you have the necessary parts to fix up your car, of course. However, some people make the mistake of buying parts too soon, before they know exactly what their car needs. As a result, they may end up out a ton of money with a bunch of unnecessary parts getting dusty and rusty in the corner of their garage.
Not Acknowledging Mistakes
Many car restorers also make the mistake of letting their ego get in the way.
They don’t want to acknowledge that they messed up somewhere along the way. This, in turn, results in them spending more money and time than is necessary because they refuse to ask for help.
Don’t be like this. Own up to your mistakes and get help so you can move forward.
How to Restore a Muscle Car
Now that you know what not to do, let’s go over what you should do when you’re restoring a muscle car. Here are some essential steps you ought to follow to get your car on the road again soon:
Set a Budget
Before you dive into a big restoration project, it’s important to figure out how much you’re comfortable spending.
If you have a clear budget to follow, you’ll have an easier time prioritizing certain aspects of the project to ensure everything gets done on time and in the most efficient way possible.
Conduct an Assessment
To figure out how much you should budget for the car restoration, you need to conduct a thorough assessment of the car first. This includes taking it for a test drive (assuming it’s driveable at all).
Unless you have a thorough knowledge of cars and how they work, you’ll want to take it to a mechanic as well for an inspection. They can let you know exactly what’s wrong with it and (roughly) how much it’ll cost to fix it.
Once you learn the state of the car, be honest with yourself about your abilities.
Do you have the time and know-how to fix all aspects of the car on your own? Or, are there certain things that you want to outsource?
There’s no shame in collaborating with a professional when repairing your car. Be honest about what you need upfront, though. This’ll save you time and money in the future.
Gather Your Equipment
After you’ve determined the extent of the repairs needed, it’s time to gather your equipment. In addition to basic repair equipment like a jack, wrenches, and screwdrivers, you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate Miata parts or Mustang parts for your specific car.
Remember to be strategic about when you purchase these parts, though. You don’t want to buy them too early and have them sit in your garage for months or years.
Start with the Body
Starting with the body is almost always the best approach to take when restoring a car. This is often the most time-consuming part of the project and can take up quite a bit of your budget, so it’s best to address it early on.
Keep the Battery Charged
Don’t forget to keep the battery charged throughout the project, too. Your battery will go flat in about four weeks if it’s not charged properly (it could even go flat sooner during the winter). Make sure you keep it charged so you don’t run into trouble (or have to deal with a replacement) while you’re restoring your car.
Start Restoring Your Car Today
Now that you know more about how to restore a muscle car, it’s time to get to work.
Keep this information in mind as you begin and you’ll have a much easier time restoring your car. Even if you’re brand new to the world of car restoration, you can get your vehicle up and running if you follow these guidelines.
Don’t forget to check out some of our other car-related articles today for more information and advice on everything from purchasing parts to finding the right insurance provider.