Driving a beat-up old car or a “jalopy” certainly has its perks despite the obvious disadvantages. For one, scratches and dents aren’t as big of a deal as when you have a brand new car, and getting them fixed is often cheaper, too. Moreover, driving an old car without all the fancy electronics subconsciously makes you a more careful driver because you’re relying on yourself not to crash and not to nick someone else’s vehicle while parking.
However, one common downside of driving an older car is its appearance. Having nicks, scratches, and dents is very common for older cars and especially for those that have not been fixed after experiencing external damage. On top of that, the interiors are not going to be as sleek as that of a newer car, and this can affect your experience as a driver.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of ways you can improve the appearance of your beat-up old car without having to spend much on it since you probably don’t want to invest money in a car that can croak anytime soon. Here are some of the best examples:
1. Replace your tyres
Get a tyre fitting service as soon as you notice excessive tread wear and visible sidewall damage on your tyres. You would get to upgrade your car’s look with new tyres, but most importantly, replacing your excessively worn tyres is imperative to your safety. Although doing this may not be cheap, it is crucial for maintaining your safety and that of your passengers and other motorists on the road.
2. Clean your car
The cheapest way to make your car look better is through a simple clean. Give your car a good wash or better yet, go through the car wash at least once every two weeks if you drive regularly. More than that, deep clean your car once in a while to get rid of the dirt and debris that has accumulated in the nooks and crannies. If you can splurge, it’s also a great idea to take your car to a detailing service for a truly deep clean.
3. Set some rules
Messes from yourself or your passengers can further degrade the appearance of your car from the inside. For this reason, you might want to employ some rules whenever you’re driving with other people in the car (and rules for yourself as well). For instance, you can disallow anyone from eating anything that can stain the interiors while riding in your car. The same should go for drinks that have no top covers, especially drinks that can be difficult to clean when spilled.
4. Get new seat covers
Seat covers are way cheaper than getting your seats reupholstered. And not only do they improve the appearance of your interiors, but they also protect your car’s original seats from further damage.
5. Invest in a wrap
A fresh layer of paint can make your beat-up old car look brand new again, but repainting may be out of the question if you’re on a budget. The next best option is to invest in a car wrap, which is basically a sticker for your car that can help cover imperfections and give your car a whole new look. It may still be a little expensive, but the difference is huge.
Alternatively, you can get only some portions of your car wrapped. For example, if you want a two-tone look for your car, you can wrap the hood, roof, and trunk and then retain the original color for the rest. This is also a great way to upgrade your car’s appearance without having to pay for a full wrap, especially if only some parts of your car need paint correction.
6. Restore your headlights
Dull headlights do not only make your car look older, but they can also make your lights dimmer, especially at night. To fix this, buy a headlight restoration kit from any big box store and have it done yourself. If you can’t go the DIY route, you can have a detailer do it for you for a small fee.
Another option, albeit more expensive, is to replace your headlights altogether. If your current headlights are nearing the end of their lifespan, purchasing new ones instead of restoring them may be a more cost-effective choice.
If you have an older car that you’d like to spruce up a bit, these are the best ways to do so. So, while you waiting for the opportunity to buy a new set of wheels, follow these tips to make your car look better until you can replace it.