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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

7 Parts You Need to Replace When Restoring a Classic Car or Truck

We recently came across an article by Kyle Smith who writes for Hagerty.   It is all about 7 items not to reuse when restoring your car.  We think he is absolutely correct and wanted to share this information with our readers.

If you have ever been involved in a classic car or truck restoration, then you know how much time, effort and money goes into it.  Far too often we hear about home mechanics trying to save a dollar or two by restoring as many of the old parts as possible.  We get it and will do our best to restore a part and possibly save a couple bucks while doing so.

There are however some parts that just need to be replaced no matter what.  It is definitely in your best interest to start fresh with these 7 parts that Kyle suggested.


With all the strain that is put on the drivetrain, universal-joints (U-joints) are often compromised after years of use.  They often get debris and dirt packed in them and will also typically develop some unwanted play in the joint itself.  It just makes sense to replace them with new parts, so you don’t have to worry about it giving out and stranding you and your classic on the side of the road.

Brake lines

There really aren’t to many parts that are more important than your break lines.  There can definitely be corrosion on the inside of the lines that is not detectable with a visual inspection.  You certainly do not want a brake line to give way while operating your vehicle.  Do yourself a favor and rest assured your classic will come to a complete stop because you made the decision to use new lines.

Spliced wiring

Wiring really was never meant to be spliced.  They certainly do not come that way from the manufacturer.  While there are safe techniques to properly splice wires, we highly suggest that you replace them with new.  Electrical problems can be a real pain to deal with and can also be a major hazard should they short out and cause a fire.  As Kyle said in his article “It isn’t worth the relatively small amount of time and money you might save by reusing the old stuff.”


Thermostats are so inexpensive that it isn’t worth your time to try and restore one.  One cheap little part can cause your engine to overheat which could cause massive damage.  Make sure you put a new thermostat in your classic to avoid the headaches of overheating.

Pilot bearing/throw-out bearing

If you have the engine or transmission removed, it is certainly in your best interest to replace the pilot and throw-out bearings.  Both play a very important role in making your manual transmission operating smoothly.  Should either go out it could cause your clutch to fail and could possibly damage your transmission.  It would be a real shame to have to try and replace them after your restoration is complete.  Especially when you had the opportunity to replace them but chose not to because they seemed fine.

Piston rings

If you are going to rebuild your engine and have it torn down to where you have access to the piston rings, then you absolutely need to replace them.  Never put an engine back together using the old rings.  IT can severely reduce the compression and performance of your motor.  Follow our and Kyle’s advice and use new piston rings every time.

Ball joints

Ball joints are known to take a beating.  They are also known to wear out and deteriorate from years of abuse.  If you have the front suspension disassembled, it would be silly not to replace them.  While it isn’t the most taxing job to disassemble a front suspension, if you already are restoring and cleaning it, you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to replace them with fresh ones.

We want to thank Kyle again for the great article he wrote on Hagerty and are certain some of you will take his and our advice on replacing these items on your next classic car or truck restoration.

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