Using scrap parts is the best way to build a car from scratch. You can save a lot of bucks by not having to take out a big loan because you'll be relying on only used parts. It feels rewarding to take control of your destiny by deciding what goes into your vehicle instead of being at the mercy of others.
If you are searching for ideas on how to build a car using scrap parts, here are several tips that will help you start your dream build project.
Look for a project car you want to build
The first step to building a car is finding the project car you want to build. You may already have this car, or you may not. If you don't, you'll need to find the right one. You can usually tell which cars are good candidates by looking at their engines and other visible parts.
Do you want a classic muscle car? A sports car? An off-roader? The list goes on and on, but remember that a project isn't necessarily just a piece of metal with wheels. It could be anything from an old trailer to an old tractor. However, most people would agree that starting with something small is best and working your way up from there.
Once you've decided on the type of project car, start looking for parts by visiting your local scrap yards and auto salvage yards.
Set a budget for your vehicle build
A car build is a big undertaking, especially if you're doing it yourself. You'll be dealing with some heavy machinery, which could exceed your initial budget if you don't have the right tools and equipment.
Set a budget for your vehicle build. Assemble a list of all the materials needed to build your car, including car and truck parts such as engines and transmissions, tools, and equipment. Then add up all the costs involved in building your car and ensure that these costs are within your budget before starting. For example, if you plan to build an off-roader, you should include other parts like aftermarket wheels and off-road tires in your budget.
Know what car parts can be reused for a build
Reusing many car parts for a build is possible, but you must know where they're most likely to be found and which best types to get.
The more common types of parts you can find at your local auto recycler or junkyard will be engine blocks, transmissions, differential cases, and other chassis components. These are the most commonly recycled car parts because they are easily identifiable by shape and size.
Other parts such as fender flares, body panels (sheet metal and fiberglass), bumpers, wheels, and other miscellaneous items like seats or headliners aren't always so easy to identify. You won't always find them at a junkyard or scrap yard; sometimes, they need to be bought new from a salvage yard or used-car dealer.
You may also want to consider including seats, steering wheels, door panels, and other interior components that were not damaged by the accident or fire. You should also consider using the parts from your vehicle's trunk because these would contain spare tires and other useful items that could help you build your car from scratch. Tires and wheels can be reused depending on their condition and how much they are worn down.
Locate the parts that you need
You can save thousands of dollars by buying used parts, but the problem is that most people don't know where to locate them.
The easiest way to find good deals is by using the Internet and other sources of information. But if you're uncomfortable doing that, you can also track down used parts through classified ads in the newspaper or on websites like craigslist.com and ebay.com.
When looking for cars, check out online auction sites like eBay and Craigslist, as well as private parties who sell cars they no longer want. You can also use these sites to see if anyone has hidden old or damaged vehicles in their garage or yard that they're willing to part with cheaply (if so, make an offer).
Another way to find used parts is through a salvage yard or junkyard. These places often have lots of parts that are no longer needed by new cars but are still usable by older models — especially those that were wrecked or totaled due to accidents or other damage. If you spot something interesting in one of these places, ask if they have any leftover parts from other vehicles that might fit your car's needs.
Test the scrap parts that you plan to install
Test the scrap car parts that you plan to install. You want to ensure that these parts are compatible and will fit together properly. Test each piece by trying it out in the space where you plan to place it.
Measure and mark the location of all existing electrical components on your car, such as lights and turn signals. It will help you determine where they need to be relocated after your restoration project is finished.
Remove any damaged pieces from your vehicle that you don't want to use again. These pieces can be used for other projects later down the line or sold at a garage sale.
Prioritize your safety
Before starting your project, ensure you've done your due diligence and prioritized safety first. If your parts are in reusable condition, then by all means, go ahead and start building your car from scrap parts.
Make sure you have the necessary tools, materials, and safety gear before building. If you don't have the right equipment, it could be dangerous to work on a car.
Make sure to maintain your project vehicle
Regular maintenance is essential for all vehicle owners, whether you have a brand new car or built one using salvage parts. Routine maintenance will help keep your vehicle running smoothly. It also prevents breakdowns and increases its lifespan.
Although building a car from scrap parts isn't a quick process, it is satisfying and rewarding to see your work come together. Treat your car project as a hobby, like playing a video game. If you have the resources available, buying the parts and the building process offers a new experience. It feels satisfying to turn junk parts into something worth admiring.