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Comparing Restoration and Mechanic Services for Classic Cars

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For anyone purchasing one, a classic car is a major investment that you'll be looking to maintain over the upcoming years. There are several ways you can go about this, and two of the most common that have many similarities, but are not identical when you really get down to it, are restoration products and mechanic services.

At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're here to provide all the classic car restoration parts you might need, including control arm bumper sets and bushing kits, suspension kits, rebuild kits and numerous others. What are the varying services or upkeep formats that you should be considering for any classic vehicle you own, and why is a combination of multiple such formats often the ideal approach? Here's a basic primer.


Mechanic Services

When it comes to keeping the vehicle in quality, safe driving condition, mechanic services may be what you primarily think of. You'll take it in for regular tune-ups and check-ups, to ensure that the engine is running well, the brakes are responding as they should, and so on. You'll also want to bring it in whenever there's a problem or something doesn't seem right - strange noises, new leaks, that sort of thing.

This is one of the most important parts of maintaining a classic car, and something you can't skimp on if you want it to stay in good condition. A well-maintained engine will last much longer than one that isn't, and will also perform better and use less fuel. You should also make sure to keep up with any scheduled maintenance, such as oil changes and spark plug replacements.

Car Restoration

When we talk about the realm of car restoration, on the other hand, this is generally going to refer to the process of returning a vehicle - usually an older one - back to its original factory appearance and performance condition. This will often entail partial or complete disassembly, as well as replacement of numerous parts that might be corroded, damaged or simply not up to today's standards in terms of performance.

The goal is typically to bring the car back to as close to new condition as possible, though in some cases a customer might request or prefer a few modernized touches be added in as well. This can still technically be considered restoration work so long as the overall look and feel of the vehicle remains consistent with its original design.

Now, as you may have guessed, many of the elements of car restoration will bleed into the area of mechanic services. After all, you can't very well restore a car without also making sure that all the parts and systems are in good working order. The two areas often go hand-in-hand, and it's not uncommon for a shop that offers one to also offer the other.

However, restoration also includes many areas that typically aren't covered by mechanics. For instance, things like carpeting, upholstery, paint work and exterior trim are all part of the restoration process. These can be done by a mechanic in some cases, but it's more common to find shops that specialize in only these areas, or that offer them as part of a larger restoration package.

Aftermarket Upgrades

Another category that borders these two is the realm of aftermarket upgrades. This is a bit of a gray area, as it can technically be considered either mechanic work or restoration, depending on the nature of the upgrade and how it's implemented.

For example, installing a new stereo system would generally be considered an upgrade, as it's not necessary for the car to function properly. However, if the goal is to return the car to its original condition, then you might want to find a classic car stereo that's as close to the factory unit as possible.

On the other hand, say you're looking to upgrade the brakes on your classic car. While this isn't necessary for the car to run, it can improve safety and performance, so it could be considered a restoration-related modification.

The key distinction here is that aftermarket upgrades are usually not essential for the car's basic operation, whereas mechanic work and restoration typically are. That's not to say that you can't have your cake and eat it too, of course - many people choose to upgrade their cars while also keeping them in good working order, and there's nothing wrong with that.

It really comes down to what your priorities are and what you're hoping to get out of your classic car. If you just want it to look nice and be able to drive it around without worrying about breaking down, then restoration might not be necessary. On the other hand, if you're aiming to create a perfect replica of the car as it was when it rolled off the assembly line, then you'll likely need to do some restoration work. Either way, there are plenty of shops and mechanics out there that can help you get your classic car into tip-top shape.

Contact Professionals if You're Unsure

If you're not quite sure what you need, or if you're just starting to dip your toe into the world of classic cars, then it's always best to consult with a professional. They'll be able to take a look at your car and advise you on what kind of work needs to be done, as well as how much it will cost. This can help you make an informed decision about whether restoration or mechanic services is the right choice for you and your classic car.

For more on the different kinds of upkeep you may apply to your classic car, or to learn about any of our classic car restoration or related services, speak to our team at Andersen Restoration Parts today. 

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