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I would like to start working on cars as a hobby and to turn a small investment into a larger one. I have little experience working on cars but I am learning. I really enjoy working on them and would like to make some extra money.

I live in an area where there are some pull-a-part places as well as auto parts places and towing yards where cars are sold. I also know of one or two mechanic shops where I can purchase abandoned cars. My uncle ran his own auto shop for years so I may be able to borrow tools that I can't find locally. As well as get his advice when needed. I mainly just want to learn how to fix cars as a hobby but I would love to buy cheap fix it and then sell for profit. Any advice on which cars to start on? Also other than buying a Haynes repair manual is there any other guides I should check out to learn how to work on cars better?

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This question talks about this subject in some detail: mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/1594/… –  Bob Cross Aug 10 '12 at 16:23
    
Thanks good link. –  Kevin Howell Aug 10 '12 at 21:19
    
You're welcome. –  Bob Cross Aug 10 '12 at 21:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Older cars are usually easier to work on from a hobbyist point of view, as they have less electronics and can be fixed with hand tools rather than a laptop. Restoring a classic is also more enjoyable than fixing up a banger, and gives you something more to be proud of when you are done.

Anything up to the mid-late 90's will be fixable at home, with a bit of common sense and a Haynes. Find something with decent enthusiast support, as then you'll have a good community with detailed knowledge of the car in question to fall back on when you get stuck. Parts tend to be more common and cheaper for popular cars as well.

Make sure you've got somewhere decent to work on the car - off road, ideally covered, and out of the way so you don't alienate your neighbours. Buy a decent socket set, hammer and screwdrivers to begin with (I think there are other questions on here relating to what tools to get), and before starting each job work out what tools and parts you'll need. Don't rely on the car you're fixing to get you to work the next morning, or you will end up out there late at night in the middle of winter desperately trying to finish a major job! (been there, done that!)

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Cruise the local dealerships and ask to see the "beater lot", the cars they've taken as trades that they're going to wholesale out or that will end up being sold at auction elsewhere. Look at vehicles that were driven onto the lot and will be able to drive off. Start with something rear wheel drive with an engine bay that's not too cramped, if you can. You don't want to get something where you have to drop the subframe and support the engine and transmission to work on the suspension. Don't bite off more than you can handle. Something with peeling paint and no working A/C might be ideal. Anything that runs, blows cold air, and is able to get by the local inspections / emissions is worth a bit of money, no matter what it looks like. Factory Service manuals are great, but spendy. I'm not a fan of the other repair manuals, though.

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Selecting a precise car is dependent on what's available in your region. In my area of the world, (The central U.S.A.) I'd recommend you look for RWD volvo products from 1970 to about 1994. They're easy to understand, they have plenty of room to work under the hood, and a lot of assistance is available on the web.

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