Skills You Need to Restore a Classic Car

Restoring a classic car can be a scary topic for some people. There are a lot of different types of work that goes into a classic car restoration and most people are not skilled at all of them. When you break the process down into the types of repairs that go into your classic car restoration, it’s easier to come to grips with what you really can or can’t do yourself.

An accounting of your skills can help you decide how much work you can do yourself, and how much of the restoration work you should get done by a professional.

Your classic car restoration can be broken down into a few repair categories.

  • Knowing your car,
  • Mechanical repairs
  • Electrical repairs
  • Interior or upholstery work
  • Sheet metal or rust repair
  • Surface preparation and refinishing
  • Auto body and painting
  • Trim or molding repair and refinishing

Some of these categories are self explanatory. Allow me to clarify the ones that aren’t so obvious.

Knowing your car

Cars have always been available with options like sport trim packages, air conditioning, V8, 6 cylinder, or 4 cylinder engines, and the list goes on. As the car gets on in years, some of these options get removed from the vehicle, replaced with something substandard, or never replaced at all. Option codes and shop manuals are generally available for most American classic cars that detail this information.

Mechanical repairs

This covers a lot of what makes up a car and would be most of the moving parts. You’ll find the engine and transmission will need rebuilding, as well as all the regular maintenance repairs like brakes and suspension, and rebuilding components parts like starters, water pumps, and generators. Other components that rarely get considered are the under dash parts like heater or vent controls, window parts inside the doors, hinges, and latches. I’m only touching on the subject, but you get the idea.

Electrical repairs

Electrical can be the scariest of them all. On an old vehicle the sheathing on the wiring can be dry rotted, and cracked and brittle creating the risk of an electrical short. Switches wear out and even fall apart. On some vehicle where these parts are impossible to find, you’ll need to be creative and improvise by using parts from another vehicle make.

Interior or upholstery work

Cloth, vinyl, leather, threading, and stuffing or padding materials all dry rot over time and need to be replaced. Colors fade really bad as well.

Sheet metal or rust repair

Any metal made with iron will rust, even aluminum will oxidize and even disintegrate under the right conditions. The body sheet metal will need to be replaced or patched. This means knowing how to work with sheet metal, how to weld, and even how to shape metal.

Surface preparation and refinishing

Other than the exterior of the car body, there is a lot of sheet metal surface that will need to be stripped of old paint and surface rust, then prepared so it won’t rust anymore, then painted again. This includes the car frame, suspension parts, differential, fasteners and more.

Auto body and painting

Aside from the sheet metal work the exterior of the car body will need to be smoothed and painted. This is an enormous amount of work which is why it can be so expensive.

Trim or molding repair and refinishing

Classic car trim and molding was made mostly from metals. There are steel chrome plated parts, chrome plated pot metal parts, aluminum, stainless steel and even brass or copper. until recently, some parts can’t be fixed and re-plated, pot metal is on of those. In extreme cases, you’ll need to weld new metal into your trim or moldings, grind and sand them down, polish them and get them ready for re-plating.

That’s a lot to know how to do.

Luckily there are some really good how-to DVD’s available that cover all these topics. Even still you might want to specialize in only 2 or 3 of these skills, and get a professional to do the others.

Learning how to do something like this can be entertaining. Even you if you don’t plan on doing some of this work yourself, you’ll want to know how the work is done so you can recognize a job well done.

Car Theft Solved by Private Investigators

From time to time, a private investigator might be asked to track down a missing car. A car can be stolen from a public place, private residence, or a car rental agency.

Types of Car Thefts:

During economically challenged times, car thefts increase. Some people try to steal cars from rental agencies by using fake IDs to rent cars, and then simply never return them. Some steal cars for their own use, whether for regular daily use or for transporting contraband and later abandonment. Some turn the stolen vehicles over to chop shops, where the cars will be used for parts. Some just want a car to take on a race or joyride, and will abandon the car after using it for a period of time.

Some will sell a stolen car to an unsuspecting person, who has no idea that he or she just purchased a stolen vehicle. Sometimes, the owner sold the car in good faith to a person who passed a bad cheque. In other cases, a couple may have surrendered their second car to a re-leasing company to cut down on expenses; however, the car may have been leased to a “customer” who disappeared. Thefts may be for convenience – the thief may have some stolen goods to transport.

No matter what the reason for the theft, it’s up to the private investigator to use his or her ingenuity to figure out what happened and track down the car. It’s always a good idea to file a police report first, but because the police might not be able to take the time to track down your vehicle, a good Private Investigator can come in handy.

How We Track Down the Car:

A private investigator will use tools such as phone calls, casual conversations, and interviews. A good Investigator knows how to word questions and statements to get the most cooperation. Most people are shocked if someone they know has stolen a vehicle, and they will want to cooperate. The trick is in putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and tracking down hard information that is admissible in a court case.

Investigators can use license plate scanners, GPS tracking that comes with certain cars, handheld devices, cameras mounted on cars, or interviews with anyone whose job requires driving around, such as delivery workers. PI Agencies in some countries might have memberships in professional organizations where information gathered from license plate scanners is stored in a database. Surveillance on public streets is generally legal and does not overstep privacy issues. One popular technique is keep a watchlist of all vehicles reported stolen by owners, and using the scanners to detect license plates of parked vehicles. Since thieves often switch license plates, it can take time.

The human element in the form of social media and community alerts can work wonders, too. Many people have assisted in recovering their own cars by posting pictures of their stolen cars on social media and asking people to share. It’s never a good idea for a friend to confront a car thief, but it can be really useful if they snap pictures or report sightings of the stolen vehicle without getting noticed by the perpetrator.

Clumsy planning on the part of the thief helps, too. Sometimes a thief will falsify an ID card to rent a car that they never return, but use a real address of someone they know. As we interview the person whose address was used, the person might recognize the description of the thief and give us clues as to where to find him or her. We can then conduct a surveillance and get videos of the perpetrator using the stolen car, which will be admissible in court. Once we have enough evidence to stand up in court, we can wait for the perpetrator to turn in for the night and immobilize the car with car boots before there is any attempt to make contact.

Over the years, Private Investigators form relationships with informants. Knowing how to befriend people who can supply information is golden. Cooperation from all sources is the most important key to solving crimes, and a good Private Investigator knows how to form those relationships.

Other sources of information, although not glamorous, are salvage yards, auto manufacturers, trash bins on public streets, and hidden cameras in public areas. We can also keep lists of vehicles with out-of-area registration tags on them, check on the vehicle registration for those tags, and track down the lienholder (lender) for the vehicle. That is public information and we can call the lender to see if the vehicle is stolen.

Another easy way to verify if a car is the one we’re looking for is to check the VIN number, which is often in plain sight on the driver’s side.

Repossession of the Car:

Once the car is located, it can be repossessed rather easily and the Private Investigator and client will agree upon the method in advance. Upon finding the car, it can be booted or disabled before the PI does one of three things depending on what the client wants: knocks on the suspect’s door and asks for the keys, notify the police, or notify the client. It is never a good idea for the client to contact the perpetrator, but the client could contact the police.

If the client is a business such as a rental car agency, the client may instruct the private investigator to repossess the vehicle. A team of two pis will drive to the location, boot the car, and explain to the perpetrator who they are and why they are there. They will cite to the violator the specific vehicle codes that were violated and the jail time or fines attached with such crimes. They will be firm but also very professional. Most perpetrators will hand over the keys without too much fuss once confronted. If not, a tow truck can be called to remove the vehicle. This should not be done without hard evidence and knowing the laws in your area.

How to Prevent Theft:

Most vehicles sold nowadays have key codes or tracking systems such as LoJack or Onstar. Some have microdots that tag individual parts of the car, so they can be identified if the car goes to a chop shop. However, even very sophisticated systems can be bypassed by professional thieves.

The best car theft prevention devices, such as ignition interlock and pedal locks, disable the vehicle so that it can’t be moved without the right key. If your car does not come with these devices, you can buy a self-setting immobilizer. Always lock your vehicle and park in the safest spots you can.

Unfortunately, car thefts are very common. Using reasonable security precautions and keeping a photograph and copies of vehicle registration information can help you in case of a theft. A good Private Investigator will work for your better interests in recovering the car.

Can I Sell a Junk Car Without a Title?

Car titles are important because they are the legal documents that prove ownership of a vehicle. Titles are also used for RVs, boats, watercrafts, motorcycles, and other major motorized commodities. Some states use the term, “pink slips” for car titles, which are not the same thing as the document a person receives when they are let go from employment. Anytime a person buys a car, whether new or used, they will receive the car title from their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If a person chooses to sell their vehicle, they would transfer the title over to the new owner.

So what happens if you lose the title? What if you never receive a title? Continue reading to learn your options for selling a car without a title.

No Title? No Problem.

Sometimes car titles get lost or even stolen, and other times they are never transferred over to the new owner. Regardless of why your title is missing, there are still ways to sell your car without it. Although having a car title can make the process easier, selling a vehicle without a title only requires a few extra steps.

Here’s what you can do:

You can declare your car title lost or stolen. All states have a procedure in place for car owners to apply for a duplicate title if it is lost or stolen. Learn your state’s process at your local BMV.

Some states have a process in place for car owners who wish to sell their vehicle to a private party. Learn if your state has these procedures at your local drivers’ license branch.

If you have a junk car that you want to sell to a salvage yard, check to see if they will do business without a title. Some companies will purchase junk cars without a title if alternative documentation can be presented to show proof of ownership.

How to Sell a Vehicle to a Junk Car Buyer:

1. Call the company and ask them about their junk car selling process. Ask them if they will do business without a car title.

2. If they buy vehicles without titles, ask them which documentation is an acceptable proof of ownership.

3. Locate any alternative documents that can prove you own the vehicle you wish to sell, such as your registration and drivers’ license.

4. Follow the steps given to you by the junk car buying company to complete the process and receive your cash.

How to Improve the Quality of a Mobile Car Washing Service?

Mobile car wash machines are high utility equipment in the cleaning industry. These machines provide great value to both customers and owners of car detailing businesses. For customers, it saves them the trouble of taking the vehicle to the service station of a car detailing business. For businesses, these mobile car detailing machines allow them to offer a more convenient service to the customers and get more financial benefit from the service.

Need for a good quality machine

The first thing a customer thinks about a mobile car cleaner is perhaps the quality of the service. Do people get the same quality of cleaning at their door front that they get at a service station? The answer is yes, provided two conditions are satisfied.

The first is the dedication and integrity of the cleaning professionals involved. The cleaning process, performed at a service station, usually involves strict supervision of experienced cleaning workers or owners of the business. This is not always the case with a mobile car wash service. If the cleaning workers are dedicated, there will be no problems.You cannot control the level of professionalism beyond a certain point. However, you can certainly control the second aspect that affects the quality of a mobile car cleaning service that is quality of the machine used for cleaning. Here are a few tips to get high quality machines.

Type of machines all kinds of cleaning machines, nowadays, are projected on the Internet as mobile car washing machines. To an extent, it is true that different kinds of machines are suitable for car detailing. However, for cleaning the hard parts of a vehicle, such as engine components and body, you need a machine that can provide a reasonably high output power. Car pressure washers fit the bill perfectly. For interior cleaning, a portable carpet cleaner is the best machine.

Not all types of mobile car washing equipment are suitable for portable car wash. A high quality pressure washing machine can provide an output pressure as high as 8000 psi. However, such pressure cleaners are unsuitable for auto detailing. Here are a few tips to choose pressure cleaners for portable car wash.

Output pressure

The output pressure of these machines should not exceed 1500 psi. Machines with higher pressure levels might cause paint damage on the vehicle body.

Low flow rate

There is another reason for choosing pressure washers with low low output pressure for auto detailing. If the pressure is low, the flow rate should also be low. The ideal machine should be the one with the pressure level of less than 1500 psi and a low flow rate, which means less quantity of water, is transferred to the surface. That in turn means the vehicle surfaces dry up quickly after cleaning. This will certainly make the vehicle owners happy, as they can use the machine without much delay after cleaning.

Machines for interior cleaning

It must be noted that steam car wash machines and pressure cleaning machines are not ideal for cleaning the interior surfaces of vehicles. A portable carpet cleaner is the ideal machine for the purpose.

The interior cleaning involves both carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning. Ordinary carpet cleaners are not the best upholstery cleaners. A small 4 inch wide tool is used by the best upholstery cleaners for car fabric upholstery and carpeting.

Inside The Mind Of A Professional Race Car Driver – Tips For Success

Auto racing is a funny thing. I usually compare it to golf. A golfer can buy amazing clubs, the best golf balls, nice clothes, and professional golf lessons but still their score may not improve because of invisible forces within a person’s mind which inevitably leads them to failure on the golf course. Racing teams can buy the best vehicle, tires, radios, pit equipment, matching clothing, and secure the best pit crew but these things will not solidify a podium finish. Obviously these things are needed to participate but if a driver can’t finish a race is all for naught.

Analyzing The Race Car Driver

The key to auto racing victory lies inevitably inside the mind of a driver. Inside his/her mind are invisible personality traits that are engrained into the subconscious which dictate their reactions and foresight on the race track.

A driver who is insecure will continuously not reach the podium because of their own personality traits. This type of driver seeks ego boosting moments instead of simply finishing races. Just like a competitive teenager, little passes and nudges by other drivers will trigger irrational decisions during pressure situations. Decisions that are less probable to have a positive outcome. A good example would be driving too fast into a corner in an attempt to retake a competitor causing their vehicle to become loose.

A naturally talented driver is like a road visionary or a driving psychic. Almost like they can read other driver’s minds on the race track anticipating every move made and avoiding crashes. The vehicle becomes an extended limb of the person as they feel their way around the track not just “driving”. It’s an emotional and spiritual experience for them. Subconsciously they can read a track like a good golfer reads a putt.

It’s impossible to fully explain all of these mental qualities but any experienced professional can attest to them.

Tips To Help The Race Car Driver

If the race team discusses a plan before a race this creates pit crew expectations. During the race the driver must abide by that preset plan or everyone becomes disconnected mentally in the pits. Every person will begin second guessing themselves as they try to brainstorm new tactics for pit stops. This will begin a slippery slope until there is a complete breakdown of teamwork. A crew chief must ensure the driver is adhering to the initial plan more than anything else! If the driver won’t listen, they must be replaced or else the team will experience fuel mileage problems, tire issues, broken parts and frankly wasted money. For instance, if you say take it easy on the car and your driver is suddenly challenging the leader within ten minutes of the start. The driver is obviously completely ignorant to the “team plan” and feels he knows best. This is unacceptable.

Pit crew members are knowledgable in their respective areas. Sometimes a pit crew member knows a specific track or race better than anyone, almost like a local golf caddy. A driver must be open to debate and ingest information from the crew. Information about vehicle performance, weather, the track, other drivers, tactics and more. If a driver is closed minded to this input the race is already lost. Listening to crew members and acknowledging their input drastically improves attitudes in the pits. This is a staple of championship teams.

Remember to run your own race. You don’t need to prove anything or show up your competition. Your team and your sponsors will be served the greatest by a podium finish, or at the least finishing. Positive momentum will be created heading into future races and excitement will grow among everyone involved rather than disappointments which have a negative effect. Focus on keeping the vehicle healthy and listening to your pit crew’s advice.