How to update your car without buying a new car
If you were planning on getting a brand new car, that’s probably out of the window now. Covid-19 has been brutal on incomes and the economy. Instead of a new car, there’s always pre-owned. Or, you could fix-up your old car.
Here are five things you could do that could put the sparkle back in your car
Repaint or wrap
Whether to paint or wrap depends on the condition of the car exterior. A wrap is a quick fix – it can be done in a day – but is only for cars without any paint or body imperfections. If there are rust spots, dents or scratches, forget it. The wrap wouldn’t stick properly and the damage underneath would show through the wrap. Wraps are not as durable as paint: they discolour, fade, tear or start to peel.
You can’t rush a good paint job. The interior has to be taken out, old paint sanded down and body damage like corrosion and dents repaired. After the primer, there are layers of paint and clear coat followed by a stint in the oven. The interior fittings have to be reinstalled carefully so nothing is broken or lost. During this time, the seats are usually sent for deep cleaning or reupholstering. Allow two to three weeks for repainting.
A good paint job will help your car keep its value better.
Update or replace the car stereo
Update the firmware/software in your built-in/integrated infotainment systems to get the latest version or add features like Apple Car Play or Android Auto. There are aftermarket specialists that offer this service but do this only if your car is no longer under warranty.
If you have an older car, replacing the car stereo to a unit with Bluetooth can make a world of difference. Single DIN or double DIN, and level of sophistication, is down to practicality. It’s hard to read off a large monitor at the base of the centre console by the gear lever
Have the headlights polished
Headlight housings go yellow and cloudy from age and UV exposure. This makes the lights less bright and reduces their range. There are professional headlight restoration services as well as DIY kits available.
Have the interior deep cleaned/reupholstered.
Car interiors wear out, get dirty and stained. Headliners droop. Steam cleaning, repairing or replacing upholstery can refresh a cabin and give it a new lease of life. Or be adventurous, change the headliner colour for something unusual or wild.
Have the rims cleaned
Dirty rims could hide damage that affect the roadworthiness of your car. The ride and handling could also feel “off” as a result. Also, get the tyres checked, rotated and balanced so everything runs smoothly.
If you can’t afford to do everything, decide what bothers you most that you’d like to change and get that done professionally. Alternatively you can roll-up your sleeves and do it yourself. Not the paint or wrap of course – those require specialist equipment and training to achieve a high standard finish. For the others, there are home kits, numerous How-To articles and YouTube videos.