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Planning An Automobile Restoration Project

   By: David Maillie

The best place to start your automobile restoration project is with good planning. You will need to set a budget of what you can afford to spend on your car. Bear in mind that unexpected expenses are typical and costs will increase. Build a cushion in your budget to allow for these unexpected costs. Evaluate what needs to be done to the vehicle and plan the order in which you will tackle these jobs.

List the parts needed for each smaller project. Evaluate which repairs you can reasonably do yourself and which you will need a professional mechanic to handle. For example, most people don't have the tools or facilities to paint the car. You will most likely need help with this and possibly body work.

There is software available to help you plan your restoration project. Software can be valuable for planning as well as estimating and tracking your costs. Many companies offer a free trial download that allows you to try out the software before you commit to purchasing it. Some are specific to the vehicle, such as the Classic Mustang Analyzer and others will work for any car.

You will want to document each step of your project. Consider taking still photographs, video or both. Take pictures of the car before you start the project and snap a few shots at each step in the process. Buy a large photo album to display your pictures. You will be very proud of the finished product and will want to share the experience with friends. Log the work you do each day and keep track of the parts used. Keep a running total of the costs as well to help you stick to your budget.

Stay organized when you start taking the car apart. As you remove parts, tag them. Keep all pieces from each section together. Smaller parts, such as nuts and bolts and other small pieces can be stored together in a container. Old coffee cans work very well for this purpose. Label the parts and store them on shelves in your garage.

Write a description of how it came apart. This will help when it comes time to put it all back together again. Salvage as many parts as possible to save money. Clean and degrease the components to get a better idea of their condition. Save as much as you can to cut down on your expenses and conserve your budget for other items.

Examine the interior of the vehicle. This is a large expense in any restoration project. Decide if you will recover the seats or purchase new ones. Rugs are less expensive than seats and dashboard items. Once the interior and mechanical components are restores, you will be ready to work on the exterior.

Painting is generally the final stage in the process. Once the car is painted, you may decide to replace the chrome, if it can't be restored. Headlights can either be replaced or restored. There is a great product for restoring headlights to their original condition. New Lite Headlight Cleaner and Restorer will make your lights look and work like new again. This product is easy to apply and is used often in automobile restoration. Learn more about this product at

David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private, and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents including his recently awarded patent for headlight cleaner and restorer. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale:

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