Becoming a Mechanic? Here Are Some Tips for Finding Your First Used Project Car Online

automotive mechanic career
If you’re currently training to be a mechanic, a project car is a really fun way to get some practise working with your hands on a passion project. Depending on your budget, you can install interesting modifications, make the car a little more stylish, and learn new skills. Project cars can also provide a creative outlet for professional mechanics, giving them a chance to work on something where they call all of the shots. Whatever your reasons are for buying a project car, you can use these simple tips to find a great pick for your hobby car online.

Decide What You’re Looking For, as a Car Fan Who’s Becoming a Mechanic

The first step is deciding what kind of vehicle you’d like to work on, as well as what you’ll be using it for once it’s finished. Do you want to fix up an old vintage car to start amateur road racing? Or maybe modify a sports car to resell it? Decide whether optional equipment, like air conditioning, is important to you, or if you’re looking for a bare bones option without the frills. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your online search.

If you’re dreaming of a classic car to fix up, narrow your search and get specific
If you’re dreaming of a classic car to fix up, narrow your search and get specific

Remember to take your budget and storage opportunities into account—you don’t want to drive yourself into debt for a hobby car, or be stuck with an old Range Rover you need to cram into a tiny garage fit for a Hot Wheels car. Especially if you are becoming a mechanic, you will understand that proper space to work on a car is a necessary resource.

Let People Help—Including Those in an Automotive Mechanic Career

Online communities are great places to look for help. A lot of car forums are brand-specific, such as VWVortex, which focuses on Volkswagens, but also hosts sub-forums about car purchasing, detailing, and other general car topics. You can interact with experts and enthusiasts over forums like this, as well as through other channels like Youtube and social media. You may encounter someone selling a great car in your area, but more importantly, you’ll find information and advice. And, of course, your instructors at school can also be a great option to turn to if you’re looking for professional advice.

You may find a mentor in your training program who could help you find your project car
You may find a mentor in your training program who could help you find your project car

When you decide to go see a car in person, bring a friend. A great idea is to bring someone who is pursuing or already has an automotive mechanic career. Have them look at the car while you’re speaking with the owner, so they can get a close look without being interrupted. They might catch a detail you missed. Even if they’re not into cars, bringing someone you trust can help you focus. It’s easy to get distracted when going to see a vehicle for the first time.

Take Note of Missing Parts and Serious Issues

You should be able to see in the online description of a vehicle what the car’s issues are. However, some parts are easier to replace than others. Transmissions and blown engines, for example, are expensive. Keep an eye out for rust as well—an incredibly rusty car that’s been sitting in bad conditions for years can be more trouble than it’s worth, even for a project car. Inspect the photos in the online listing to determine how much rust you think there is, then verify in person.
For parts like windshield wipers or tail light bulbs, a small investment is all it takes to replace the part. Do your research on what replacement parts will cost for a car you’re considering. A good trick is to calculate what you think the parts will cost and double it. This helps to account for any unexpected issues that pop up, and helps you stay comfortably within your budget.
Are you interested in mechanics schools?
Contact CATI for more information.

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