New Life For Your Old Wheels: Rejuvenate Your Ride
Next to housing, a car is likely to be one of your biggest expenses. Unlike a home however, it doesn’t increase in value over time. According to vehicle history reporting company Carfax, Inc., automobiles lose more than ten percent of their value during the first month you own them. And new cars can drop by more than twenty percent after the first twelve months of ownership.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend big bucks in order to have the comfort and feel that a new car brings. There are a number of ways to renovate your current model so it rivals the look of a just-off-the-lot vehicle for a fraction of the price.
Here are a few ideas to get your wheels (questionably bad automotive pun intended) turning:
A complete detailing is a great yearly splurge. However, simply removing trash every time you leave your car and dusting your dashboards regularly does wonders to keep your interior looking spiffy. And plastic zipper bags are a simple, inexpensive way to organize your glove compartment (one bag each for car manuals, tools, phone chargers, etc.). No need to wax your car to a perfect shine, but a good car wash every few weeks will make you feel better about your older auto.
Go to the Mat
Floor mats really take a beating, especially if you live in an area with lots of snow and rain. But if your original mats are still in good condition, take them out and store them in the event that you decide to trade in or sell your car. Instead, opt for weather-appropriate rubber floor mats, which will keep your car’s carpet protected and prevent mold growth caused by wet shoes and boots.
Get It Covered
Protect your seats from further wear and tear (or cover up those that are already beyond repair) with some seat covers in simple, unobtrusive colors. Washable covers made of a soft, sturdy polyester/cotton blend work well.
Air fresheners are a great way to give your auto’s interior an instant lift. Unlike the old school pine tree cutout dangling from your rearview mirror, today’s fresheners clip unobtrusively to your air vents and come in a wide variety of aromas, including “new car smell.”
While major collision damage requires the services of an autobody professional, there are quite a few ways you can remove minor to moderate dents on your own. For large, shallow pits on a flat surface such as a hood or door, use a dent removal plunger (available online or in your local auto supply store). To eliminate bumper dents, pour boiling water over the damaged area to increase the flexibility of the plastic. As soon as the bumper is soaked, reach behind it and pop the dent out.
If you’ve got an older car, you may have kept the original audio system due to tales of upgrades that cost thousands of dollars. But that level of expenditure isn’t necessary to reap a vast improvement in sound quality. Replacing the factory speakers can actually be done for as little as $100, depending upon the brand you choose and whether you do the install yourself.