Restoration: The Good, The Bad, The Out of Budget

Restoration: The Good, The Bad, The Out of Budget

Restoring a car takes time, money, effort, and patience. You need to know how to restore cars properly if you want to tackle this kind of project. Although it may be hard to ignore a classic vehicle that is for sale, you will want to weigh all possibilities before you wave your checkbook around.

Thinking of a mid-afternoon cruise in this car with the top down can seem picturesque, but you will want to consider the cost it will take to get the car looking pristine again. Making a profit may be desirable if you plan on selling the vehicle in the future.

There can be pros to restoring a car and, on the other hand, cons. While you weigh these options, you will want to keep your budget fresh in your mind. 

Pro #1 – Create a one-of-a-kind car

When you restore your own car, you can add small touches that cater to your style, making it unique. Whether you decide to change the paint color or the interior seat material, you can make the car look exactly how you want it. Since the vehicle will be unique, it may add value to it once you sell it.

Pro #2 – Add value and make a profit

Classic, antique, and vintage cars can sell for a significant amount of money. Restoring an older car can improve the value of its status. If you do come across a vehicle that needs repairing and you can fix it, not only do you have a new project to work on, but you could make a profit from it. If the repairs are cost-effective, you may be able to sell the car for more than what you put in.

Pro #3 – Self-reward

Restoring any car can be an overwhelming project but restoring a classic car can bring additional challenges. You may need a specific piece that is hard to find, thus needing to get it shipped from somewhere else. Restoration projects take patience as you try and fail.

Once you get every part of the car working and running, you can finally say you accomplished your goal. The sense of achievement is rewarding on its own, but you can also apply what you had learned to future projects.

Con # 1 – Time

Restoration projects take time and effort. You first must find the right car you want to restore, and you want to consider what you can afford. You may set a deadline for yourself to complete the restoration, but you are not always prepared for the unexpected. It also depends on how much of the car needs to be restored. Every project timeline will vary based on what needs to be finished.

Your deadline can get pushed back if you must wait for parts to arrive. When you come across a problem that you are unsure how to fix, you’ll need to take the time to research what to do next.

Con #2 – Risk of not completing the restoration

You may get in over your head with car restoration, especially if you have not restored cars before. During the first few weeks or months of the project, you may look forward to spending your free time in the garage. The small achievements bring you back there each day as you slowly work towards the finish line.

However, if you run into problems along the way and the finish line is not in sight, you may feel defeated and stop spending your free time in the garage working on the car. Time may go on, and the vehicle is still sitting in your garage unfinished.

Con #3 – Losing money

Depending on the amount you paid for the car and adding in the repairs, you could lose money when selling. Many times, the parts and equipment needed to restore a vehicle can add up quickly in price.

It’s important to research what that car is selling for in various conditions so that you can sell yours for a competitive price. When you already have that number in mind, it can help you gauge what you need to set your budget at.

It would help if you also thought about all other necessary expenses, such as a mortgage, health insurance, and bills when determining your budget.


Many positives can come from restoring your favorite classic car. However, you want to consider all possible outcomes before you make a purchase. To make a realistic budget for yourself, you want to research what equipment is needed depending on what needs to be restored. Car restoration can be a satisfying hobby, but you want to think about what you will get out of it as well.