Auto Body Blog

What is Full Auto Restoration?

One of the most amazing transformations to see is the full restoration of a car. Cars are resilient, and a seasoned mechanic can restore old or beat-down vehicles to their former glory. Although it’s not a quick or cheap process, it is a labor of love that will take your breath away. 

What is Full Restoration? 

To fully restore a car is to take it completely apart and replace each part to get it driving again. Some vehicles are restored because major systems have failed. Some vehicles are restored because they are old or “classic” cars that no longer drive due to their age. For example, a customer may inherit their deceased parent’s estate and find an old Thunderbird rusting away in a garage. With a full restoration, that classic car could run again. 

Some define restoration as rebuilding the vehicle the way the manufacturer originally built it. This is not always possible or even desirable. So today, it typically means upgrading the systems with modern parts and technology. 

Restored vs. Refurbished

Another common term used to describe fixing up cars is refurbished. A refurbished car is not a restored car. Refurbished is a term for more minor or cosmetic-only updates to a vehicle. The refurbishment would cover buffing and repainting a rusty exterior, or reupholstering an out-of-date interior. Refurbishing an older car is more affordable, and usually a much quicker process. Restoration is a total overhaul–way beyond refurbishment. 

What Does a Full Restoration Entail? 

A restoration will always depend on the needs of the car. A proficient mechanic will be able to assess the level of refurbishment or restoration necessary. Generally, there are key features of restoring a vehicle that is considered in each case: 


  • Strip paint
  • Repair damage and dents
  • Weld new metal into gaps
  • Prime, seal, and sand body
  • Repaint exterior

Engine & Mechanical

  • Disassemble and reassemble or replace all systems
  • Replace the brake system
  • Upgrade steering & suspension
  • Rebuild engine, or replace with newer, compatible engine
  • Replace gears and upgrade the transmission system


  • Replace all upholstery, stuffing, and springs
  • Replace carpet lining
  • Restore dashboard, or replace when necessary
  • Restore door panels, lock mechanisms, and window function

Restoration Cost

As you can see, the process of restoration is no small undertaking. While some automobile enthusiasts enjoy restoring old cars on their own, most car owners turn to the professionals for restoration services. It’s an investment, but when it’s done well, it is worth the cost. You can expect a car restoration to cost $30,000-$65,000, starting with an initial quote and some flexibility. Payment plans or financing are usually possible, and contingent on the shop completing the work. 

Our Work

Schneider Auto understands how much you value your automobiles–especially when those automobiles are classic heirlooms. Undertaking any type of car repair can feel overly expensive and risky, but we want to make it easy with fair and competitive estimates. Let us help you upgrade your vehicle to run in top condition.