Your car may not be the latest and greatest any more, but it’d be crazy to go out and buy a new car every time your old car showed a little wear and tear.
But if you want to make it look like new again, try these cost-effective ways to improve the look and feel of your car.
Maybe you’re looking to sell your car, or you might just want to refresh your car to keep it looking nice. But what are the cheapest ways to make your car look close to new?
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.
Removing all the rubbish and giving it a thorough clean will improve the look of the interior, while allowing to take stock of what needs to be in there. Less loose objects will lighten your car, helping it to perform better, and potentially make it safer.
Plus, getting your car’s exterior cleaned professionally (preferably including a cut and polish to get any scuffs out) will help to make it look better than it’s real age, as well as surfacing any problem areas with faded paint or deep scratches.
If the trim surfaces or switches are starting to fade, see if you can easily take them off (like air conditioning switches) to repaint them. This is easier with a solid colour plastic trim that has started to fade or chip, if you have a leather, wood grain or another trim it’ll be more difficult.
If you’ve got missing switches or trim, your best bet is to contact the parts department at your nearest service centre of your car’s manufacturer. If your car is the current model or fairly recent, it’s likely that you’ll be able to get a genuine manufacturer part to replace anything. Failing that, or if you have an older model car, you can head to a wreckers yard to see if you can source a specific part that way.
If your car’s audio unit didn’t come with at least an AUX or USB input when it was new, it might be worth upgrading to an aftermarket head unit, not just for you, but as a selling point as a second-hand car; for example to a young driver who doesn’t want to listen to AM radio. If you want to spend a little more, fitting aftermarket speakers will
Thinking of other second-hand buyers, cruise control is becoming a standard feature on even the most budget-conscious models, and if you didn’t tick the option when your car was new, or it just didn’t come with cruise control, you can add it as an aftermarket option for a reasonable price.
If you’ve got a performance model or an off-roading vehicle, decals can be a cost-effective way to enhance the profile of your car without springing for a sports kit or lift kit. Rather than your average My Family stickers, professionally applied decals, often from the dealer can set your car apart from the same model next to yours on the road.
Tinted windows can often add value to a car, as an immediately visible modification to the car, while also providing benefits of reduced glare & heat in the cabin. It’s best to get tint applied by a reliable service centre, which won’t apply illegally dark tint and can guarantee workmanship.
And if you are adding accessories to a four-wheel drive or larger car, take into consideration what you use your car for. For example, there’s no point in adding a nudge bar or bull bar to your car if you do most of your driving in the city and suburbs – it will just add weight, affect the drive and cause a hazard for any pedestrians or vehicles that you may crash into.
When thinking about the look of your car, your wheels are often a giveaway of the age of your car. Factory alloys usually change design with every model upgrade, but the flagship models usually have a machined or coloured alloy option – if you can’t afford to change your alloys, painting them (which some factories do to their alloys) to refresh the black or silver which may have scratched or faded will update your wheels without the expense of four new alloy rims.
By replacing the stock air intake with a new cold air intake, you can reduce fuel usage, and potentially a quieter drive. If you combine this with a replacement muffler to improve airflow in your vehicle from start to finish, you can end up with a better performing car and a much happier driver.
If you can’t be bothered with that, an engine wash can clean under the hood – at least cosmetically. Don’t just grab a hose and a sponge, getting a professional service centre to clean the engine will ensure that no water will get into your engine or rust any components under the hood.
If you’re looking for to upgrade your car, or want to just freshen it up, Motorama has conveniently located service centres that can get your car running like new, as well as the Cool Hand Car Wash where our expert detailers can make it shiny again.