Restoring a car, or working on a project car can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. In fact, it’s what every restoration or project should be. So with that in mind, we have put together this list of five pitfalls to avoid whilst working on your pride and joy. Swerve these painful pitfalls and you’ll be onto a winning restoration, we promise.
1) One job at a time
This is the one people always get tangled up in. When you have a car that needs restoring it’s oh so very easy to start taking everything off and apart with giddy enthusiasm. And then you end up with a million things in a million pieces. Don’t fall into that trap. Do the sills need repairing? Then repair the sills. Don’t start taking the windscreen out. Do you need to change the front wings. Try and do that without removing the boot carpet and/or the rear lights. One job at a time. This is best way to make progress.
2) Don’t get overwhelmed
Following on from point one, don’t swamp yourself. Cars may seem simple at first glance, but as we all know, they’re an incredibly complicated mishmash of metal, wires and glass. As such, it’s very easy to get in over your head without realising. So to avoid that, just take your time and be methodical. This is car restoration, it’s not a race. As you’re doing something, take your time to understand how it’s coming apart or how it should go back together. Make notes, read up on jobs before you tackle them.
3) Admit defeat
We’re not all master mechanics. We aren’t all channelling the spirit of Edd China. As such, there are going to be jobs you can’t do. Maybe you don’t have the space, maybe you don’t have the tools, or maybe you’re simply not brave enough. It’s okay. Garages exist for a reason, and as such, they will happily change your clutch, or paint your car, or do the wiring for you. To restore is a car is not to do every single little job. If you can’t do something, call in the professionals. It’s what they’re there for.
4) Tag it and bag it
Taking out lots of screws? Removing a millionty bolts? You are never, unless you’re Rain Man, ever going to remember where they all go. You’re just not. So be methodical and put them in bags and label them up, that way, when you come to reinstall your headlight and indicators in three years, you’ll know what you need to do the job right. Telling yourself you’ll remember doesn’t work. You’ll forget. Save yourself that inconvenience now. Keep it as a project, not a puzzle.
5) Know when to walk away
Even though restoring a project car is a hobby for many of us, there is no escaping the fact that from time to time things are going to get frustrating. You’re going to come across a stubborn bolt, or a particular gathering of wires that just will not play ball. And you’re going to get annoyed. It’s part of the human condition. But here’s the thing; in your annoyed state, you’re not going to remedy the situation. So instead, down your tools and walk away. Go and have a brew, take on an easier job, whatever works. Then come back to your problem part with refreshed enthusiasm and minimal rage. It’ll make all the difference.