Ten Best Places To Find Car Restoration Parts — And Maybe Even Get Some Free
Everyone has that “dream” car when they first get their license. It’s typically not the first car that they have; it was instead the one that they wished they had. That is what makes restoring a car so amazing. It’s like you are restoring your dreams from the past — one part at a time — and making something all your own to cherish for a lifetime. Just because you may be older, however, that doesn’t mean you have endless funds to sink into your vintage car restoration project. The good news is that you don’t have to.
If you know where to find the parts you need to bring that old classic back to life, you can not only have a car that will turn heads; you won’t have an empty savings account. There are many places you can look. You can get the parts you need at a price you can afford, and if you’re savvy enough, sometimes you can even get them for free.
When restoring a car, you have to decide how “authentic” you want to be. If you are doing it for an investment, then using the manufacturer’s original parts might be an issue when you try to sell it. But if you are renovating just for your own ride and satisfaction, then there are a plethora of knock-off manufactured parts that are just as good and much cheaper. If you do choose to buy non-manufactured parts, however, make sure that they are high quality or you could end up paying more in the long run.
Search through car magazines
Classic car renovation is hot right now, which is why there are many more options for your car parts. Try searching through car restoration magazines like Hot Rod. If you are restoring a rare car, magazines might be your best resource for hard-to-find parts.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Almost every town has salvage yards full of old rusted cars with parts and pieces. Although the exterior might not be useful, the interiors might house the parts you need to bring your old car back to life. Call around to find one near you. You might be surprised to find all the treasures that salvage yards can hold under all that rust and trash.
Sure, they might cost more, but if you check out local brick and mortar retail stores they might be able to do the legwork to find what you need to restore your car. Some parts are going to be rare and might cost you a little more, but if you can get them at all, it is worth it to get your car up and running.
Online blogs and chat rooms
Classic car geeks love to swap war stories about their renovation woes. Blog sites and online forums are a great place to ask others who have restored classic cars about where to go to get what you can’t seem to find. Reach out to others in the restoration community to find parts or part deals. You also might find someone who is willing to trade or swap parts and knowledge with you.
Auto body shops
You might not consider going to an auto body shop if you intend to restore the car on your own, but that might actually be the perfect place to go. When body shops also provide wrecking services, they often will take out the parts that are worth something. You just might find that they have the missing piece to your classic car puzzle and that they are willing to part with it.
Organization and clubs
Find out about local restoration clubs, like the ones that have classic car shows. Going to those shows will help you to make contacts in the community to find the parts you need. Classic car renovations might be a dream for you, but it might also be about networking and making contacts for questions or part needs.
Amazon and eBay are great resources to find parts for your restoration. Just make sure that you read the reviews and know what the seller’s ratings are before you purchase from them. Also, make sure that you can return a piece that isn’t what you want or need, especially if it is costly.
There are a number of online auto auctions for classic car enthusiasts. You might end up bidding against someone else, but if you can get the part you need by staying on top of it and watching it without driving up the price, you just might get it for a lower price than anywhere else. Patience is going to be the key.
Restoring a classic car is a lot about sweat equity, but it also takes financial equity. Make friends in the community, connections with auto body dealers, and keep an eye on online sales, and you might not just find necessary parts that are hard to find — with the right connections, you might even get them for free.