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Restoring an old truck can be a fun project for anyone who enjoys working on automobiles. No matter what you’re starting with, enough hard work can give your truck a new lease on life. Here are five of the best tips for bringing your truck back to its former glory.

Start by Removing Rust

Regardless of the make, model, year and condition of your vehicle, rust is always the worst enemy in a restoration project. The best way to address the problem is to cut out all of the rust on your truck’s body at the outset of restoring it.

In some cases, you’ll be able to save body panels by cutting out rusted sections and welding in new sheet metal. In others, the rust may be bad enough that you’ll have to buy entirely new panels. In the end, however, whatever you have to do to eliminate the rust on your truck will be worth it, as doing so will extend its life and prevent further damage.

Rebuild the Engine

If you’re fully restoring a truck, it’s a good idea to go ahead and give the engine a full rebuild. Even though it may be running well, there’s little sense in redoing everything else and leaving the motor alone.

Rebuilding an engine also gives you the opportunity to customize it for more horsepower or torque if you choose. If possible, however, keep the original engine block, as this will increase the value of your restored truck in case you ever choose to sell it.

Replace the Suspension

If you’re starting with an older truck that hasn’t had substantial work already done to it, chances are you’ll have to replace the suspension that’s currently on it. As a truck is driven, its suspension will wear out, just like any other part. This is especially true if you or a previous owner have used the truck for off-road purposes.

As long as you’re restoring the truck, it’s best to put an entirely new suspension system in place. Once again, this gives you the ability to customize the truck a bit, as you can choose to have it ride higher or lower than it originally did if you want to.

Have Fun with the Paint

Once you’ve fixed the body and mechanical issues that your truck may have, it’s time to start thinking seriously about how you want the finished project to look. The main decision you’ll have to make in this area is what you want to do with the paint.

Though you could always repaint your truck in its original color, it’s often more satisfying to have some fun and create something unique. Consider a two-tone paint job, or even a custom airbrush motif.

Depending on how intricate you want to get, you may have to take the truck to a professional automotive paint shop. In the end, however, it will be worth it to have the truck looking exactly as you want it.

Finish with Accents and Interior

With your truck’s problems fixed and the new paint applied, the last step in the restoration is to replace the interior and to add whatever accents you want. For the interior, start by replacing seats and carpet. If your dashboard and door panels have become worn or faded, you may need to replace them as well.

Finally, finish your truck with accents like auto floor mats, bed liners and deflectors. If you plan to use the truck for off-roading, you might also consider adding a brush guard during this finishing stage.

Restoring a truck will be hard work and will take both time and patience. The end result, though, will be more than worth it. Nothing beats the feeling of driving a freshly-restored older truck down the road for the first time.