Restoring Your Car After an Accident
When you’ve had an accident, getting your car back in working order can be appear daunting. Where should you take it? How do you know whom to trust? Is there anything you can do on your own? What else do you need to know? Here are some tips to keep in mind when you set out to resuscitate your old, broken beast.
Befriend a Mechanic
It’s always good to know an expert who is going to give you honest, no-nonsense advice. If you don’t want to mix business and pleasure, ask your friend about other trustworthy mechanics. Simply knowing a few good things could help you watch your pocketbook while getting things repaired. Relying on strangers could get you ripped off.
Take an Honest Look at Your Car
Has rust taken off a good portion of the hood? Is the upholstery moldy? If your car’s not worth restoring, it’s best to admit it straightaway and avoid wasting time, work, and money.
If you’re not sure, or if you don’t have the knowledge to decide for yourself, you should probably look into get your car appraised by a professional. Appraisers can give you a good idea of what your car is worth, and of what it could be worth after restoration. Of course, you’ll need to part with some cash to get a good appraisal, but when you’re flying down the highway in your revamped machine, you’ll be glad you spent the money.
Watch For These Problems
Here are few of the big things to watch for when deciding whether or not restoring your car is going to be worth it.
- Rust. While rust is mostly cosmetic, it will definitely lower your car’s resale value, and it’s very hard to get rid of. Remember that rust can hide in out-of-the-way spots, too.
- Suspension. Make sure that seemingly small accident hasn’t knocked your whole car off-kilter. Bad suspension could plummet your car’s value. Consumer Reports says that you can visually check to see if your car is level, and that good shock absorbers should allow your car to bounce just once when pushed down by hand.
- Old fluids. See your owner’s manual to check your car’s various fluids. If you’ve neglected maintenance for a long time, you might have caused serious damage and reduced your car’s worth.
The DIY Option
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like to shell out good money for work you could do yourself, or if you’re just looking for a hobby, you’re in luck; the internet is full of sites ran by and for amateur restorers. Find a decent message board, make a few friends, and get to know your car. Even if you can’t completely restore your car, you’ll learn very valuable information on maintenance. Once you can change your own oil or tires, you’ve got a skill that’ll save you money every few months for the rest of your driving life.
Be careful though. Cars are tricky business, and if you mess yours up on your own you’ll have no one to blame. You can also seriously hurt yourself if you’re careless under the hood. Take a class, read up on informative books, or get some formal auto mechanical education before fiddling around without a clue.