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How to Save Money on a Salvage Car Restoration?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/23/2015

One of the biggest factors preventing people from restoring salvage vehicles is the cost. But with a bit of creative thinking and resourcefulness, you actually can restore a salvage vehicle without breaking the bank. Here are some tips.

#1. Use Your Own Garage

It might be tempting to rent a garage. After all, rentals are usually heated, and have all the facilities you need. The down side is that renting a facility is going to dramatically inflate the cost of restoring the vehicle. Even if your garage isn’t state-of-the-art, you might want to consider putting up with the inconvenience and relative discomfort in favor of spending money on a rental, especially if you think the restoration is likely to take some time.

#2. Negotiate

If you’re buying parts for your salvage car from a scrapyard, you’re going to have to become a master negotiator. Don’t hesitate to haggle and wait to get the best possible price. If you’re not overly eager, you can usually get the price down.

The owner isn’t going to give you the best price in the beginning, but given a little time, he or she may be persuaded to lower the price, and you could end up getting the deal you’re looking for.

#3. Add New Parts

This might sound counter-intuitive when you’re talking about fixing up a salvage car. However, consider that once the vehicle is rebuilt, you’re going to want to insure it. Insurance companies are typically reluctant to insure salvage vehicles, but if you can show that you’ve added new parts, you’ve actually contributed to the overall safety of the vehicle, and you might get a considerably lower rate. It just makes sense – the safer the car, the lower the rate.

You can also go with refurbished parts. They’re often every bit as good as new parts, and they’ll make your vehicle safer and more efficient.

#4. Find a Parts Company that Specializes in Restorations

This is especially important if the car is a classic. It can often be very difficult to find certain components, like body panels. You could have them custom-manufactured, but there are a lot of companies out there, including online, that can provide you with parts.

Keep in mind that time is money, so if you’re valuing your labor at all as part of the cost of the restoration, getting in touch with a company that specializes in restorations can save you a lot of time. Why spend hour upon hour scavenging scrapyards when you can just buy what you need at a reasonable cost?

The Final Word

Of course, you have to value your time, but value it low. Consider yourself as working for minimum wage. When buying from scrapyards, never pay the asking price. Consider refurbished parts and specialty companies, and whenever possible, work from your own garage. And remember, you may be able to save on insurance if you incorporate some new parts into your restoration.

If you follow these guidelines, you really can restore a salvage vehicle economically.

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