Car Repainting vs. Restoration – Tips & Info

There is a big difference between repainting a car and restoring a car:

REPAINTING a car you basically strip apart (take off door handles, door molding, bumpers, lights, mirrors, etc.) which is generally fine for cars where the existing paint is either faded or dull, but not if it’s cracked or brittle. Depending on the car’s finish and how it’s been maintained or painted over the years if a car is less than 20 years old repainting should be a good option to have a car look newer.

RESTORING is the flip side where if a car hasn’t been maintained or it’s been in the sun consistently for years or it’s over 20 years old it will probably need to be restored in order to have it look “new.” In the restoration process the car not only needs to be stripped like it would be for repainting but it also needs to be stripped to the bare metal. When that happens rust spots, weak spots and previous repairs are often discovered and need attention. At that point you either replace panels that are too rusty, fenders that are too damaged, cut & weld all weak spots and/or start the rebuilding process by straightening the body and build up the car finish with a 3 coat urethane primer (which are done at different times). Which means that it will take extra time and and therefore money to complete. The hard part of doing a restoration is getting an accurate estimate because as a repair professional I can’t tell what I’m going to find before I get in. So if you are needing restoration on your car it is important that you discuss this with your repair shop before agreeing to have them do work.

In my shop when a customer has a car that I deem needs restoration over repainting I inform them of their options. If a customer needs restoration but they just want to repaint I can do that but I can’t guarantee the paint job. I also let them know that for a restoration process I can’t give an exact estimate until I start the stripping process. I usually give a ballpark figure with a large range depending on what we find. From that point the clock is on and every minute counts. Then once I’m about 3/4 through the restoration I can usually give a final estimate (by the time I get to the final primer).

So if you are looking to restore your car keep in mind that restoration is costly and can take months, so make sure you ask lots of question before you commit to having a shop do the work. It’s also important to choose a shop you trust.



Filed under Service and More Service

7 responses to “Car Repainting vs. Restoration – Tips & Info

  1. Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I found a link on Delicious telling that the info is awesome. Thanks.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it….. anything else you might want to know about ? Any questions at all….let me know.
    I’m here to help

    Auto Andre

  3. Ali

    Whenever there is a noticeable scratch on the bumper of my car , i go to the paint workshop and get the whole bumper repainted. sometimes the scratch has gone as far as the fender, so some times I had to paint a minor area of the fender too. can you tell me if this is wrong? or people would be able to spot that the car has been repainted or retouched? actually the car is fully insured so just to avail the opportunity and keep it in the best shape I do this. Thanks

  4. Nice Post you have, i like it. I will visit this site more often.

    Thanks for the information.

    I like your article specially about tips in Car Repainting vs. Restoration


  5. Another Good blog post, I will save this in my Clipmarks account. Have a good day.

  6. our door handles broke easily that is why we are now using tempered steel or tempered bronze;;`

  7. brass door handles are very elegant looking that is why we always use them at home “:

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