There's nothing more satisfying than getting your hands on a rare vintage model or a used car you've always dreamed of owning.
But owning an older car is a labor of love, and you'll likely have to do a bit of work on it before you're ready to take it out on the road.
So, here's a list of five key steps to help you restore a used car to its former glory.
Step 1: Restore the Panelling
Before you even step inside the vehicle, simply looking at its exterior can tell you where the first opportunity for restoration is.
If you notice any scratches, dents, or lost paintwork on any of the panels, get this sorted out as soon as you can. If you leave it, it could end up developing rust and causing further damage down the line.
This is unlikely to be something you can manage on your own, however, so call in professionals to help you. Get in touch with registered panel beaters who can remove scratches and dents as well as replace lost paintwork so your used car looks good as new.
Step 2: Restore the Upholstery
Once you've got the outside sorted, it's time to take a look at the inside. Seating upholstery – especially leather – is prone to wearing out over time, while interior paneling that has been exposed to lots of sunlight over the years can appear cracked or damaged.
Take your car to a garage to get the seats reupholstered and the paneling replaced. If you've got some cash left over at the end, you could even consider replacing the speakers with a jazzy new sound system.
Step 3: Replace the Tyres
Even if the tires on the vehicle looked to be in reasonable shape when you bought the car, it's still worth upgrading them with a new set as soon as possible to ensure the quality and safety of what you're driving.
New tires will improve the performance of your car, and make it easier to handle, particularly in extreme weather conditions, reducing the risk of accidents.
Step 4: Upgrade the Safety Features
A car that's past a certain age won't be equipped with the high-tech safety features you can expect with modern vehicles. But owning an older car shouldn't mean that you have to compromise on safety.
Retrofit your used car with modern seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features so you can enjoy cruising along in your vintage car with the peace of mind that you're protected if anything goes wrong.
Step 5: Service the Engine
Diesel and petrol engines tend to become inefficient over time and are more likely to fail with each year that passes.
Get your used car engine serviced to check if it's running properly and see if any parts need to be replaced to help it run more efficiently.
There are even some places that will retrofit an electric motor in the place of petrol and diesel engines, to ensure your used car runs smoothly for years to come. It's not a cheap option, but it means you can enjoy a classic car without worrying about the cost to the planet.
Remember, no two used cars are the same – each one will be a different age and have varying mileage, which will determine how extensive your restoration will have to be.
Don't compromise on cheap repairs – in most cases, this will just mean the repairs won't last long and you'll be back for more extensive fixes further down the line.
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