How to Tell if a Rusty Car Is Worth Restoring

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Just because a car is old doesn't mean its worth pouring your hard earned money into. Find out how to tell if a rusty car is worth restoring with help from the owner and lead mechanic of an automotive services business in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Maintaining a Vehicle
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Steve Ellis from Steve Ellis Automotive, master technician, and I'm going to show you how to tell if a rusty car is worth restoring. We have a 1986 Ford truck here and we're going to look and see if it's worth restoring. First things I would do is I would look at this vehicle and see if the cab supports and the rails are still in good condition, they're not starting to rot away. All this part of it and the floor and stuff like that you have to make sure there's no rot and rust in it. You check the back of the cab corners and see if they're rotted. There's also cab mounts underneath the vehicle that support the cab to the frame. You make sure they're all in good solid condition. Check your body rails and make sure the body rails across the frame, they're all in good condition and the body is not going to fall off. You check your frame rails all along the bottom of the frame where the suspension bolts to it and you make sure that there's no rot. Rust can be cleaned but the rot you have to repair or if it's too much rot then the vehicle is not worth putting that money into it. Also you have to check the front and look at the front fenders and the front supports where the radiator mounts on and see if any of that is rotted away. If any of it is rotted away, then you're looking at a lot of money to spend to restore this vehicle. When you're looking at the frame rails and we look to see if the frame is rotted, you look to see if the frame has rot holes right through the frame on the side or where the cross members fasten to the frame. If they are rotted and starting to pull away, then the frame rails are too soft and the vehicle wouldn't stay together, it will start breaking apart and that's what holds all the floors in for the bottom of the bed and stuff, you want to make sure that all those cross members are nice and solid and they're not falling apart. If they're rotted, you're going to have to spend a lot of money putting new rails in and that becomes very expensive. If the frame on the truck underneath has any rot holes in it and you find any of this vehicle that's rotted in any places like I've shown, then I would say the vehicle is not going to be worth restoring because you'll spend thousands of dollars to repair it. And I'm Steve Ellis from Steve Ellis Automotive, master technician. Thank you for watching.


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