Everyone has their own process for restoring pinball machines. Some like to emphasize certain parts of the restoration that they are particularly good at. Others like to get it done as quickly as possible. Some go absolutely all-out and replace every part imaginable, while others make do with what they’ve already got.
After restoring a couple of machines I soon realised that pinball machine restorations need to be tackled in a thorough, systematic manner. If you dive right in and fix just what you see, you will undoubtedly miss things that will become larger issues later. You need a plan of attack to ensure you cover everything to get the machine working properly. Below is the “plan” I rely on and adapt as necessary when I’m fixing up a machine. I find that it is a good balance between thoroughness and speed; most solid state pinball machines in average, semi-working condition can be brought back up to scratch in a couple of days of solid work if no serious issues present themselves. While this list is focused mostly on the restoration of dot matrix display (DMD) pinball machines, it is generally applicable to other machine types such as electromechanical (EM) and solid state (SS) games. In any case, it is definitely not gospel, so feel free to adapt it how you see fit for your next restoration. You can also use it as a general guide on what to look for when inspecting a machine to buy.