5 ways to make your old car feel new

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on August 31st, 2023       

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The great majority of us grow tired of our cars, as time passes by, and their charm has diminished. But, does that really mean you should purchase a new car instead, or should you give your old care another chance? It’s true that most drivers consider the appearance of the vehicle when browsing for cars, according to statistics.

So, what do you do when your car seems to be worn out?

Luckily, there are ways to make your car appear neat and polished, and give it that new car air you long for: by cleaning it properly, upgrading the audio system, changing your tyres/wheels, and so on.

1. Give it a proper cleaning

As basic as it may sound, by properly cleaning your car, you might re-capture what convinced you to purchase it in the first place. Of course, by cleaning, I’m not referring to vacuuming it superficially. On the contrary, you should give it a thorough scrub – properly shampoo the carpet and upholstery, and remove the seat cushions, of course, to get rid of any leftovers you might find underneath – you’d be surprised, believe me.

2. Focus on the cockpit

Second-hand car dealers advise drivers who are sick and tired of their old cars to fix the cockpit. If your wheel is deteriorated, you can change its cover for a $10 charge, which is an insignificant sum. Also, investing in a dashboard cover might be a good idea as well. In the case in which your dashboard pad is a bit faded, you have the alternative of dyeing or repainting it. Remember to have a look at the switches and knobs as well, which can be cheaply replaced, with new or recycled parts.

3. Change your wheels/tyres

If your tyres need to be replaced, this is the ideal opportunity for you to enhance your car’s performance and appearance – it’s a win-win situation. Bear in mind that the choice of tyres plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s performance. Car manufacturers found that 80% of the cars they surveyed has issues with their tyres. A modern wheel design will grant your car a polished, unique appeal. We don’t deny that tyres and wheels can both be expensive, but not as expensive as a brand new car, right?

4. Refresh your AC

Similar to the AC in your home, your car’s AC needs your attention now and then if you want it to cool off those steamy, hot days of Australian summer. Did you know that your AC system is, probably, filled with bacteria? Firstly, you should make sure there isn’t any blockage in the air passageways.

Next, you should focus on cleaning, or changing the filtres. And lastly, by using an air-conditioning deodorizer, you’ll be on the right path. You’ll finally feel as if you’re driving a new car – remember that feeling? It seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

5. Upgrade the electronics

Even if your vehicle isn’t that old, its sound system may still be outdated. By upgrading your old radio with a state-of-the-art head unit, you’ll finally feel like you’re driving a car that isn’t 100 years old.

Some quick facts

  • New vehicle purchases in Australia have gone up from just under 70,000 (2002) a year to around 99,000 (2016) in the last 14 years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • The average age of a car in Australia is 10.1 years, which is certainly up from the 70s, but down from the 90s.
  • Over 75% of survey respondents said they wash their cars once a fortnight or even less often.

Did you consider purchasing a new car, because your old one appears to be worn-out? What do you think about polishing your old car, and giving it another shot? Do let us know in the comment section below!

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