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Want to work on an old car, but i live in an apartment building

Hi everyone. I want some basic hands-on experience working on an old car, but I live in an apartment bldg with limited parking so I’ve got no place to keep such a car, nor to work on it. Any ideas?

A local college may have an auto repair class you could enroll in, or if you are truly gregarious you may find an independent shop that will take you on and you can start with the basics and work your way up.

My advice is: don’t even try it.

You need a place to work on an old car, and an apartment building parking lot is not the place. If you don’t have a garage in which to work, forget owning an old car. You will driver yourself crazy.

Having said that, if you are a person of unlimited means you will be able to work something out.

If, on the other hand, you’re a working stiff like most of us, it won’t work. You will have great difficulty trying to maintain an old car in the parking lot of an apartment building.

The old car hobby requires a house and a garage. Or at least a garage.

Remembering changing out a gas pump for my f150 at 3 below in the parking lot of NAPA, gas is really cold when spilled on the hands at that temp, if you have to fix it you will find a way.

I second the auto repair class idea. I took welding at the local community college, really enjoyed it, learned quite a bit.

Yeah, I agree with the others. Working on cars in your spare time requires a place where you can leave a vehicle up in the air and in pieces for weeks at a time, depending on what your are doing.

If you’ve got something specific in mind you want to buy, fix, and/or restore, you might be able to rent space in a garage.

When you say old car, I imagine something really old, like something without electronic components (60s, 70s, or earlier). A community college probably won’t help you much with that. They’ll teach you how to hook up cars to a computer.

If you wan’t to work on good old Detroit steel, find out if there is a car club in your area. I’ve got to warn you though, not many people in the car clubs I met did their own work.

If you don’t have a lot of tools, you also will be amazed how many tools you will need.

Here’s a more off-the-wall idea: find a nearby car museum and volunteer as a gofer. They won’t let you work initially, but maybe eventually.

How did you come by your info about what is taught at Community College automotive programs?

If the OP is interested I will explain what is taught and how it is taught at the one I am involved with,it is not only"they will teach you how to hook cars up to a computer" and what is wrong with knowing OBD1 and OBD2 (3 is comming) diagnostics?OBD3 deals with different ways to report emissions failures,a lot like Big Brother,CA should see it first, unless delayed by legal challenges.

A thought for you is to consider employment at a garage,perhaps the owner lets you work on your car in his lot,think safety.

If they have garages for rent in the complex, that would be one way but most places don’t like people working on cars in the garages or the parking lot. Fire hazard and looks tacky. You might be able to rent a garage somewhere but same thing about people not liking cars worked on in their garages. This is a great time to buy a house though if you are in that position to do so.

You will also find that working with steel tools on steel parts outdoors on a 30 degree day will dampen your enthusiasm in about 10 minutes when the fingers go totally numb.

Besides the weather, your biggest hindrance will be the landlord/agents. Gone are the days when many people worked on their cars anywhere…even, if just to change spark plugs, oil, and other simple stuff. Today, it’s “unseemly”, and “unsightly” for someone to work on a car in public. And, the landlord/agents will make every effort to stop such behavior on “their” property (even though you have paid for said property—even, if on a month-to-month basis).

If your renting, your not paying for the property, your paying to use the property. The owner still retains his rights to how the property is used. That’s why I bought my house with a garage, and I have my latest project in it right now.

I don’t want to pry about your personal life or present employment, but if you could fit it in . . . I’d look for a part-time job at a dealership or garage locally. That’s how I started working on cars . . . at age 14 . . . and the mechanics and autobody guys were GREAT with me. I started prepping new cars from the travel trailer to showroom, then went to prepping used cars, eventually fixing just about anything that was broken or required changing on new and used (especially used trade-ins) cars. I also had first crack at old used cars coming in and use of any tool I needed (gotta be careful here . . . l;earn respect for other folks tools FAST). You would be surprised at how many jobs I see weekly in
my local newspaper . . which seemingly go unfilled. I’d love to do it again, but I couldn’t feed my family doing part-time work like that right now. If your situation allows you to do something like this . . swallow your pride and start at the bottom. You’ll learn a lot about cars from the folks who work on them, build friendships with some great guys, and gain a greater appreciation for your passion . . . working on old cars. Rocketman

Many find them useless and no indication of ability but I am a fan of ASE’s (I have all of mine).You could study from the ASE prep books (free from the Library) you will learn something.

Now this won’t help you get a place to work on a car (your inital question) but it may help you with the “get a automotive job” way to getting a place to work on your car.

I have lost a lot of money because I started projects and the lack of a workplace kept me from finishing them.

About the College idea,I am little opposite than most,my program spends to much time on early technology (breaker points,carbs,even OBD1 is to outdated for my interest,but its part of the program so you must learn it)

You could rent a storage unit. They usually have some that are the size of a garage in which you could store the car.