How To: Fix Up An Old Car

Whether you’ve bought a used car or are looking for a fixer-upper project, it’s important to know how to bring your unloved car back to its former glory. How you go about restoring and fixing old cars depends on your budget and experience. If you’re new to fixing up cars, you’re going to want to stick to some simple sprucing and aesthetics. If you know what you’re doing and have the budget, a complete overhaul is on the cards. This is what you need to know before taking on a project…


The first thing you need to do is get a set of tools that are up to the job. Don’t scrimp on these because you’ll just have to replace them with better quality ones if you do. A socket set is the best place to start. If you have to do bigger jobs like taking bumper bolts off, you’ll need a good quality set. Before you touch your car with any tools read a repair manual and even watch some videos online. You’ll need to teach yourself, but mastering the basics will be a real bonus.

For Those on a Budget and Novices

For those who are cash-strapped but have plenty of enthusiasm, there are still ways to fix up and old car. If the seats are looking a little worn, head to a craft store and buy some fabric to cover the distressed areas. If you feel up to it try re-upholstering the entire seat. For your door panels also get some fabric from a craft store. Over time these panels wear away and will need updating. Smooth with a credit card for a crisp finish. Painting a car yourself is a long and difficult process, you’ll need to seek a professional for this. Seek advice about protecting your car’s paint once it’s on as well.  Your carpets can also really affect the overall appearance of your car. Clean yours yourself using carpet cleaner and a stiff brush.

Which are the Best Cars to Restore

Choosing the right car to restore is important. Restoring one of these popular old cars could mean lots of returns for you as your add value to much-loved vehicles.

Buick Riviera (1963-65)

Getting your hands on one of these old cars is a great investment. They’re largely considered the best designed American car of the post-war era. You’ll be paying a lot for this model but it’s definitely worth restoring. Some companies even sell reproduction parts, so a more authentic look is achievable.

Ford Mustang (1964-68)

This car is perfect for anyone who is taking on their first fixer-upper project. All the part you’ll need to restore the Mustang are widely available in catalogs and online. Lots of online forums will also be offering opinions and advice about how to restore these cars, and they sell very well.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.