04 May Top tips for Classic Car Repair
It is the ultimate labour of love to restore a classic car back to its former glory. Repairing a classic car (we define a classic as any car that’s between 25 and 50 years old) requires time, patience, and most of all skill. Bodywork in particular brings about a challenge because most of the time these jobs require a controlled workshop environment.
If you have a classic car in need of repair or restoration, it’s important you invest money in the right places and have a clear vision for the project. Going into a repair without understanding what’s truly needed is a recipe for disaster.
Following several years working on classic cars, from BMW’s to Aston Martin’s, we’ve prepared a series of top tips for you below for classic car repair. Hopefully, these’ll help you get your classic repaired the right way.
OEM-spec parts are very, very important for fit and finish
Materials are very, very important for fit and finish so always try and source OEM body parts. If that isn’t possible, custom-made parts will suffice. Try and steer clear from cheap parts made from ABS plastic. Classic cars never used this plastic in their construction, and in many cases, it is not a suitable material replacement for steel or aluminium.
Don’t be scared to refinish wheels
If your classic car has original steel wheels, you can change the way they look with powder-coating or spraying. Both are very popular, although powder-coated finishes are more durable than spray painted finishes. At the same time, your wheels will be sanded down to remove any imperfections. You can spray or powder coat other steel trim too.
Repainting is a skilled job – it should never be done by an amateur
The first thing people notice about any car is its paint, and that especially rings true when the sun is shining on it. Bad paintwork (paint that’s poorly blended, the wrong colour or in some cases over-sprayed) sticks out like a sore thumb. Classic cars look even worse because people old paint and poorly finished new paint do not blend.
Panel beating is also a skilled job
Classic cars are usually made from steel. Steel panels are harder to reshape than modern aluminium panels. However, that isn’t to say it can’t be done. ‘Panel beating’ is an old-fashioned but very accurate term for the job. It involves using tools and the brute force of a hand to reshape panels to remove dents and imperfections.
Bad welding and fabrication is noticeable
Most classic cars will only need welding and fabrication in places that can’t be seen, such as the undercarriage and chassis. However, should a classic car need this service on the body work, it is important only a very experienced welder does the job. Bad welding and fabrication sticks out more so than bad paint and to put the job right could be very costly.
Don’t pay the price for cheap repairs
You pay for what you get with a body shop. The most experienced body shops charge plenty for labour because they know what they are doing. Be wary of body shops that offer you super-low prices. They won’t take the time to repair the body work to an OEM standard and there’s a chance they won’t even use OEM-spec materials.
Always choose a specialist body shop
You should also use a specialist body shop for your repairs. Ideally, a body shop that specialises in repairs for your make of vehicle. The next best thing is a body shop with plenty of classic car repair experience. These guys will know all about panel removal and fitting, sectional repairs, sills, floors and resprays.
Always look for a warranty with the work
If you’re getting your classic car repaired with a body shop or garage, you should always make sure they offer a warranty or guarantee with the work. We, for example, offer a 5-year guarantee on our classic car repairs. This is a guarantee against poor workmanship and materials for complete peace of mind.
Looking for classic car repair in Leeds?
Looking for classic car repair in Leeds? Whichever stage of the project you’re at with your pride and joy, if the body needs repairing in some way we’d be delighted to assist with the work. Call us Monday to Friday 8am-4.30pm on 0113 440 1327 to discuss classic car repair. You can also visit our classic car restoration page to find out more about our services.