It’s an age-old quandary, that all car owners face. Whether to stick with your trusty steed or replace her with something newer and sexier. However, while investing in new engine technologies, or more space to accommodate a new little entry into the family are great reasons to invest in a new vehicle a cosmetic upgrade can be achieved without having to undertake the expense of upgrading your car. After all, you and your car have been through a lot together and though it’s inevitable that cars can start to look a little rough around the edges as the time and the miles add up, that’s no reason to throw a lot of baby out with only a little bit of bathwater. You and your car have gotten used to each other and we’re all better drivers when behind the wheel of a familiar car. Besides, if it’s a matter of cosmetics that’s causing your eyes to wander in the direction of the younger models, you’ll be amazed at how pristine your old car can look with a little effort and the right knowhow. Making your car look brand spanking look and feel like new is cheaper and easier than you may think…
Cleaning her up from the inside out
Keeping your car looking immaculate is going to take more than a squirt from a hosepipe or a dalliance with an automated car wash won’t do either. You’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and give the old girl some TLC.
Start from the inside- Working from the inside outward is a sensible way to go, otherwise you run the risk of getting dust and dirt from outside into the cabin and upholstery.
Start off with vacuuming and shampooing the carpet with a foaming spray. Then vacuum the upholstery and seat cushions and continue to do so at least once a fortnight to keep dirt and food particles at bay. Lastly treat the fabric with a spray-on protector that will repel stains.
Leather seats should treated on a monthly basis with a leather-restoring cream, while vinyl can be treated with any products intended for plastic or rubber surfaces. A cotton swab will help you to work the treatment into the little crevices. By now your interior will not only be immaculate but protected from fading and cracking.
The exterior- If you live somewhere hot and sunny, it’s best to wash and wax in a well shaded area to prevent water spotting and prevent wax from baking onto the bodywork and becoming a nightmare to remove.
Small scratches and chips can be attended to with a chip stick while rusted over scratches can be sanded down and treated with a thin coat of primer before painting. Attend to any small scratches and chips with a chip stick as soon as they occur to prevent rusting. If you have old chips that have rusted already then we recommend lightly sanding the area and applying a thin coat of primer to the bare metal before painting.
Use a soft terry cloth when shampooing to avoid micro-scratches that will dull the paintwork. Apply the shampoo then rinse it down with a garden hose until the car is free of suds and soap scum. Wash from the top down and scrub the wheels with a stiff brush to remove road dirt and brake dust.
When all the water has dried off, apply a thin coat of carnauba wax with a damp cloth to ensure a deep, rich shine.
The finishing touches
Now for the fun stuff. Let’s treat your car to some cool new accessories. Show her you love her with some new private number plates that’ll give you a renewed sense of pride. Now let’s have a look at that sound system. If you’re reliant on tinny FM radio, CDs or (heaven help you) cassettes, treat your car and yourself to a universally compatible head unit with bluetooth connectivity, Sat Nav and DAB radio.
Brighten up those yellow headlamps
Tiny abrasions and tiny road dust deposits can lead to yellowed headlamps that not only age a car but compromise their efficacy. You can reverse this with a restoration kit. They’re easy to come by and costs less than $30 USD allowing you to sand down and buff out the lenses until they’re brilliant white again.
Get that new car smell
Smell is an important sense and a great part of making your car feel new. After a while your AC system will become invaded by bacteria leading to stale and musty odors. Re-gassing your system and running a cheap antibacterial ‘bomb’ through it will kill the bacteria and give your AC a clean fresh smell that will really help to complete the effect.