Are you a petrol head? Do you love the smell of burning rubber? Seriously, if you are fanatical about cars and have always wanted to do one up either for your enjoyment, out of necessity, or to make some money selling it on, here are some important things to consider when buying a car to fix up.
Cars and everything involved with them costs a significant amount of money. It is, therefore, crucial that you have a fair amount of money to fund your project. You will initially need finance to cover the second-hand car’s purchase and further cash to buy parts and perhaps pay for a mechanic at a general auto repair garage to carry out work too tricky or intricate for you to do yourself.
If you don’t have enough savings to fund your project, you may want to consider applying for a bank loan which you could pay off when you sell the done up vehicle, if that is your plan. If you borrow a lot of money from the bank, you might want to think of little ways to make money using the car. For example, you could get paid by brands to market their product with a vinyl wrap on your car. At least you would be making the most of the vehicle and are repaying the debt, or you could turn your pride and joy into an Uber? If you have a friend who has a similar passion for tinkering with automobiles, you could join forces (and finances) with them.
A Place for Everything
Cars aren’t small, and you will need a large area in which to store them and work on them. If you are lucky enough to have a garage on your property, that is perfect. If not, you could work on the car in your driveway, at a friend’s garage, or consider renting a garage in the local vicinity. It is better to have a place that protects the car from extreme weather, and that is lockable to prevent the car and your expensive tools from being susceptible to theft.
Find a car
Now that you have the finance and a place to work, it is time to look for the vehicle. Do some research about what type of car you would like to fix up. Would you like to bring a classic car back to its initial glory, or are you looking to buy any old banger and do it up so that it is road-worthy?
Classic cars might be more expensive and harder to find than modern ones, but if this is what you want, look at advertisements in classic car magazines, websites or consult other classic car enthusiasts and see if they know of any projects available in your local area.
If you want a more modern car, check out local car auctions, eBay, garages, online sales, and private adverts in local shop windows or newspapers. Don’t be in a hurry to make a choice. The more work you have to do, the longer it will take and the more you’ll spend on parts.
Supply of Spare Parts
Once you have found a car you think is suitable for your project, do some further research before you make a purchase. If your vehicle is vintage, ensure that you will be able to source genuine parts for it and at a reasonable price.
Contact vehicle salvage centers to see if they have the same car type as you are buying and whether they will supply you with the required items. Online car collector groups or car sales websites are other excellent places to look for supplies. It would be disastrous if you had restored your classic car to a level of 99% and could not locate one crucial part or had to pay a phenomenal amount of money to get it shipped in from a distant source.
Assessment of the Vehicle
When you visit the car for the first time, you will need to make a thorough assessment of its condition. Always look at the car in daylight or in a well-lit area. It might be beneficial to take a professional mechanic with you who can advise you on the amount of restoration work needed and its cost.
Look at the car’s engine, bodywork, and glass. When you take the car for a test drive, make sure you are starting the car from cold, so when you start it up, you can listen for any adverse rattles in the engine and blue smoke from the exhaust when you first start it up and accelerate. Blue smoke can be a tell-tale that the piston heads or the oil filters are starting to go.
When driving the car, listen for any peculiar noises or vibrations and make sure no warning lights are flashing on the dashboard. Check that the brakes work and that the vehicle does not veer sideways when you take your hands off the steering wheel. Switch on all of the car’s electrical components, such as the radio/cd player, the fan heater and air conditioning, lights, and horn.
Ask to see all of the paperwork that comes with the vehicle. This data should give you an idea of the car’s life, such as any repairs carried out upon it, whether or not it has been serviced regularly and if it is insured.
If you think the car is the right one for your project, think about your budget. Will you be able to perform the work required yourself, or will you have to pay a mechanic to do some aspects? Will your budget cover the cost of buying the car, the cost of parts such as tires, brakes, body panels, paint, electrical supplies, furnishings, and engine parts? To ensure you will have no nasty surprises along the way, write down an inventory of all the things that need to be done, what they should cost, and add 30% as a contingency fund.
Let the Work Begin
When you have found the right car for your project, it’s time to get to work on it. Plan a schedule and how you will perform the project. Does the project car need to be dismantled? If so, work from the bottom up. Remove the parts that need replacing and restoring. Catalog them as you go, so you know where each piece goes. Take your time and do the job to a high standard. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Buying a car can be fun, but hard work, nevertheless, enjoy restoring your car to its former glory!