Most of us can’t afford to buy a brand new car. If you’re tired of the way your old vehicle looks, here are some ways to spruce it up and make it look brand new again.
“Clean All The Things!”
Go top-to-bottom on this one. Clean everything. Start with the interior and work your way out. Break out a shop vacuum and clean all the flooring/rugs, the seats, the dash, and everything else. Don’t forget the nooks and crannies.
Dust everything, and clean all of the windows with a commercial-grade foam window cleaner. You can pick some up at almost any autoparts store. If your vehicle’s carpet is a little stained, pick up some stain remover. Treat any leather surfaces with leather cleaner.
Fix Up Your Interior
Now that you’ve done a basic cleaning, it’s time to focus on the details. If your seats are busted up, you have a few options. You can replace the seat with a new one from a junk yard (a newer model). This can be a good fix for foam cushioning that’s broken down and fallen apart in your seat.
But, a cheaper option for cosmetic problems is to use good quality car seat covers. They will hide stains and faded fabric, and they’re super-easy to clean.
Stain your dash if it’s become faded, and replace any busted interior light bulbs. If your dash lights aren’t working anymore, make sure that you haven’t accidentally set the dimmer on the lights too low and then pull the dash out and replace the bulbs in the back.
Things like glove boxes are easy to replace on almost any vehicle. All you need is a replacement from a junker and most junk yards are more than willing to help you out there.
Update Your Vehicle With An iPod or Android Device
If your vehicle’s stereo system is dated, swap it out for a newer one that supports audio-in jacks so you can hook up your iPod, iPhone, Android, or some other device. It’s an easy fix, but one that will make a huge difference in your driving enjoyment.
Do The Maintenance On It
Make sure you’re not neglecting maintenance. Most drivers do. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule that’s published in the owner’s manual. This will solve 90 percent of all mechanical problems and minimize the risk of more costly repairs that cause most people to want to ditch their trusty steed.
Polish The Lenses
Polish the headlight lenses with fine grit polish (make sure it’s safe for headlights). This should remove the haze that ends up making an old car look old. Once those lenses are nice and shiny again, it will give you a whole new outlook on your old beater.
Get New Wheels And Tires
New wheels and tires are an easy fix. Go to a junk yard for the wheels, and shop local tire places for a good deal on all-seasons. Then, keep them clean with tire cleaning products.
Get a New Paint Job
This is a huge undertaking, and probably something 99 percent of people shouldn’t do themselves. It requires advanced knowledge of autobody repair and finishing, along with paint and application techniques. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t outsource it and have it done for you.
A good paint job is going to cost you anywhere from $1200 on the low end up to several thousand dollars for a decent-quality job. That might seem like a lot. However, if you’re committed to keeping your old car, it’s a lot cheaper than buying new. And, if you keep up on the maintenance of your vehicle, and you keep the body looking great, you’ll basically have a new car when you’re done – and for a lot less out of pocket.
Cinthia Black helps run a commercial cleaning business. She enjoys sharing her ideas and insights online and has already written for a number of relevant websites.