4 Cost-Effective Ways to Update and Improve Your Car
If your car is starting to age, you may be wondering if it’s time for an upgrade. Buying a new car is an option, but it’s no small expense and may not be practical. After all, a new car could mean new or potentially higher car payments added to your monthly bills. Fortunately, there are some simple and affordable ways you can update and improve your current car. Check out these four ideas to learn how to make your car feel newer, both inside and out.
1. Wash the Exterior
Washing and waxing your car can give it a fresh shine, and may help maintain your car’s paint job over time, according to Edmunds. By stocking up on some products such as buckets, sponges, car soap, wax, wheel cleaner and microfiber towels, you can be on your way to making your car feel more like new. When washing your car, start from the top and move down, and work in small sections when using wax, says Edmunds. Parking in the shade may also be a good idea as the hot sun causes water and wax to dry quicker — this may leave unsightly water spots on your car or cause you to put in extra scrubbing effort to remove wax.
2. Clean the Interior
If you’re like a lot of people, you might agree that one of the best things about a newer car is the new-car smell. While you may not be able to bring back that exact scent, there are still ways to make your car smell fresh, so consider starting with a top to bottom clean of the interior. DoItYourself.com suggests starting by cleaning out any debris and vacuuming the interior thoroughly to help get rid of dust and dirt. You can also steam clean your car’s interior — this may help rid your car of any odors trapped in the fibers of the carpet or seat upholstery, says DoItYourself.com. Finish by wiping down your dashboard and windows, and use an odor neutralizer spray to eliminate any bad odors that may be lingering.
3. Upgrade Your Stereo
If your car was built before the mid-2000s, there’s a good chance your stereo may be considered out-of-date, according to Popular Mechanics. However, there are many new radio head units available for purchase that keep up with the times and integrate with mobile devices or satellite radio — and some even have Bluetooth capabilities built in. If you just want to add Bluetooth capabilities to your current stereo, there are also devices available that plug into an AUX port, says Popular Mechanics.
4. Defog Your Headlights
Over time, ultraviolet rays from the sun can take a toll on your car’s headlights by destroying their protective film, says Popular Mechanics. The deterioration of this film is what causes your car’s headlights to turn yellow or start fogging over. If worn headlights are dragging down your car’s appearance, Popular Mechanics says there are headlight restoration kits available to help you clean them. There is typically some sanding and waxing involved in the do-it-yourself process, so be sure to follow instructions on the kit you purchase to ensure safe and proper cleaning.
Knowing how to improve your car with functional upgrades might give you what you’re looking for — without the cost of a new car. While these types of updates and improvements will not make your car brand new again, they may help you enjoy your current ride a little more.
Originally published on January 21, 2015.