Tag Archives: restoration

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.

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