Whether you’re a motoring fanatic or your vehicle is simply a way to get from A to B, if you own a car then chances are you spend quite a bit of time in it. There’s the daily commute, the school run, the supermarket shop, taking the kids to dance lessons – and that’s without using it for your own leisure.
While there’s nothing quite like the feeling of collecting a shiny new car from the showroom, for most of us that’s not an option more than once in a while. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We get comfortable with our cars the longer we have them. We learn – and love – their quirks. We cherish them.
Now and again, though, you might feel it could look a bit smarter, feel a bit more luxurious. Here are some easy ideas for giving your old car a new lease of life.
Spruce it up a bit
- Clean it. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. If you can stretch to a professional valet, great. If not, set aside some time and give it your undivided attention. Wash, wax and polish the bodywork, and don’t forget the wheels. Shampoo the interior upholstery. Don’t forget to clean the insides of the windows – they get surprisingly dirty, especially if you have young children with sticky fingers. Use a glass cleaner that’s safe for interior use (or make your own with water, isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar) and a quality microfiber cloth - we're big fans of Riwax when it comes to car care. Buff with a clean cloth or paper towels.
- Get rid of those scratches. It’s inevitable your car will suffer through daily wear and tear. Gravel chips, tree branches, maybe even a slightly misjudged parking maneuver can all leave their mark – literally. As well as improving how your car looks, repairing damage helps prevent rust and deterioration. One of the most commonly damaged car parts are your wheel rims – and that’s where we come in. Our EZFIX for Wheels patches are a quick, easy-to-apply and cost-effective solution to scuffs and scratches. We color-match all major marques – click here to learn more.
- Replace damaged trim. If surfaces are starting to fade or switches are damaged, repairing them can make all the difference. You might even be able to remove and repaint some parts yourself, such as plastic switches. Otherwise, contact your dealer to order new ones or head to your local scrapyard – it can be a good source of cheap, genuine spares.
- Don’t forget the engine. Even if your car is pristine to look at, many people forget to care for what’s under the bonnet. Grime, oil and other fluids build up. Dead leaves get trapped. Clean everything off properly – it looks better, and it’s wise to look after the mechanics.
- Invest in new floor mats. These can deteriorate quickly – all those feet in and out, wet and dirty footwear everywhere. A set of smart, clean mats makes an immediate difference to your car’s interior appearance. Choose rubber or a hard-wearing fabric and remember to clean them regularly.
- Get organized. Even the most well-intentioned of us end up with ‘stuff’ strewn around our cars. Fuel receipts, a stray pair of gloves, a handful of spare change, a random screwdriver you forgot to put away. Get into the habit of clearing out all the ‘stuff’ that accumulates in your car. Allocate a place for everything that needs to stay there – paperwork, car handbook and roadside assistance service details in the glovebox, phone charger in the side pocket, change for parking meters in a pouch in the central console.
Add a touch of luxury
- Upgrade the speakers. The default sound system in many cars is unsophisticated, especially in older or more basic models. Changing the speakers can make all the difference and doesn’t have to be expensive. Worth considering, especially if you listen to a lot of music, radio or audio books while you’re on the move.
- Tint your windows. As well as looking good, tinted windows can reduce glare, block UV rays and keep the inside of your car cooler. They’ll also add to its second-hand value. There are rules governing how dark your tint can be, which will vary according to your location. Go to a reliable service center – they’ll be able to advise you on your options, and also guarantee a certain standard of workmanship.
- Go for some ‘optional extras’. When you bought your car, perhaps you didn’t want or consider features like air con, cruise control or even electric windows. All are becoming standard even on budget models, but if yours doesn’t have them, don’t worry. They can all be fitted retrospectively – some will be more expensive than others – and will boost the value of our car if you decide to sell it.
- Get a paint job. Granted, this isn’t a cheap fix. But if your bodywork has seen better days or you’d like a fresher, more modern color, it might be something you want to consider. And it’ll still cost less than a new car.