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Guide to Prepping Your Classic Car for Upholstery

Upholstering a car is the project that acts as the finishing touches for completing a classic car or project car of any kind.  Listed below are some bits of advice on how to go about upholstering a car in the best and safest way possible:

1.Put some miles on your beauty before you pull the trigger on upholstery.  Why?  Because many newly constructed cars will have a few bugs that will ultimately need to be worked out in the first few hundred miles or so and upholstering before the fact can be a waste of time and money. Things like wiring issues, solenoid problems, faulty gauges, and a host of other problems are all easier to resolve before the upholstery is in place, and it’s cheaper to do it that way too.

2.Just like painting a house is the last step of home improvement and the step you want to spend the most time on, upholstering a car is the last step of completing a restoration project and should also be granted a fair amount of time.  Custom automotive interior design is as much an art as it is a process, as any upholstery pro will tell you.  Keep in mind that the better things in life are worth waiting for, and if you rush or push your upholstery professionals too quickly then you will most likely regret it later.

3.Make sure you purchase your hardware beforehand and bring it in with you.  Unless your upholsterer requests that you let them do the hardware install, it’s best to have all interior door handles, window handles, and vent window cranks and other items purchased before you take your car in to your upholstery professionals.  It will save you a pretty decanter sum of money that way.

4.Consider installing sound deadeners before you take your car in for upholstery.  This is key.  Sound deadeners make all the difference in classic cars.  Not a lot of people remember this, but cars from the 1920s-1970s were loud loud loud.  That’s just the way they were.  Installing a sound deadener along the walls and ceilings of your car can make for a great benefit, and it is easy to do so before the upholstery work is done.

5.It’s a good idea to remove your running boards before upholstery work begins.  Most cars from the ’20s through ’40s are equipped with running boards of some kind.  Most shops want those taken off before they begin their work.  Why?  The upholsterer will need to enter and exit your vehicle hundreds of times throughout the course of their work, taking tools in and out of your car each and every time.  They know that there is a risk of scratching the boards so if you don’t remove them yourself then they will and it will cost extra.

6.Make sure you classic car is simply ready for upholstery.  The biggest thing to check is that all of the electrical components are in working order.  All of your electrical connections should be made and working and should be totally up to par prior to bringing your car to the shop for service. Most shops will not actually complete a car’s interior until everything is working properly on the car, because why seal everything up if more work needs to be done?  Furthermore, if an upholstery shop has to resolve electrical problems you should expect upwards of $1,000 in additional expense because of it. Save yourself real money here and overall time too and make sure items like door poppers, door locks, power windows, wipers, third brake lights, dome lights, interior lights, radio, speakers, and the heater are all working before you take your car in.

There are lots of different things that you can do to prepare your car properly for upholstery.  The ones listed above are the main ones certainly, and these absolutely should be done before you take your car in.

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