Car restorations can be a lot of fun. It’s a chance to do a complete 180-degree turn on the car so that it looks just like it did when it was originally sold on dealership floors. Whether the car is 20 years old, 40 years old, or even older, it’s important to know about the various risks.
The risks will vary based on the year and model as well as what kind of experience you actually have. If you’re a hobbyist with no mechanical degree or certificate, you will want to proceed with the utmost caution.
Asbestos in the Parts
Asbestos can be found in many different auto parts. Although it’s still legal for car parts to contain asbestos even today, it was more common in older cars – especially those manufactured before 1980. The biggest problem with asbestos is that when it becomes airborne, you run the risk that it accumulates in your lungs. This is when you could end up with a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma. The Mesothelioma Cancer Network explores the condition and provides you with resources. The goal should always be to understand the issues before you start working on cars, however.
Lead Paint Across the Exterior
Many of the older cars, particularly those painted before 1970, contain lead. If the paint is in good condition, you’re usually safe. However, when it starts to chip, you have to worry about lead poisoning. Some of the older cars have started to rust. When there’s rust in lead paint, that’s when you’ll see the chipping. It can be a problem to fix – and that’s when you’ll want to work with a professional so that the issue doesn’t fall to you.
As ownership changes multiple times, it can be harder to know what a car has been exposed to. When cars are left outside to the elements, electrical problems may be present. You could end up with sparks when you fire up the engine or you could end up having to replace various components. By having the engine checked before you start with the restoration, you can find out what you’re up against – and even decide whether you want to buy the car to restore.
Avoid the Issues
There are plenty of ways for you to avoid many of the issues when you decide to restore a car. First of all, think about getting the car fully inspected before you buy it. Professional inspectors will know what to look for so that you don’t encounter nightmares by the time you get it into your driveway. Next, let a professional do some of the work so that you’re not guessing at what’s wrong with it. Particularly if there’s asbestos or lead, you need to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and has the necessary protective gear.
A restoration will look amazing once you’re done with it. However, you need to know about the risks so that you can be prepared every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to do your research so you don’t go rushing into anything.