One of the most common downsides of an old car is its appearance. Unless the car was perfectly maintained by the previous owner(s), it’s likely going to look its age: worn down and showing visible signs of damage. And the older the car is, the more worn down it will tend to look.
There’s nothing wrong with buying an old car, but it is certainly a bit bothersome to drive something that is visibly run down. Fortunately, there are many ways you can spruce up the appearance of a car—even if it’s already ten, twenty, or even thirty years old.
Here are some of the best examples:
Invest in ceramic coating
Applying a ceramic coating on a car increases its ability to shed water, dirt, and contaminants. Not only that, but it can give your car a freshly waxed look at all times, as well as reduce the likelihood of gloss and color fading.
If your current car’s paint job is not looking too hot, consider investing in ceramic coating. Aside from making your car look newer, it can also provide unparalleled protection against natural and man-made deterioration.
Take your car to a detailer
Auto detailing comprises various operations and procedures that aim to keep the vehicle in the best condition possible. A basic detailing job typically includes an exterior wash, claying, polishing, waxing, interior cleaning, and tire cleaning. Most auto detailers also offer additional services like steam cleaning, accessory installation, and paint touch-ups.
An old car can look almost good as new with a basic detailing job, especially if it has been a while since the last session (or if the car has never been detailed before). Aside from improving the external and internal appearance of the car through thorough cleaning, detailing can also help it last longer by removing contaminants that can increase wear and tear on the vehicle. Some auto detailing shops even offer engine detailing, which can help spot potential problems and save on repairs.
Install seat covers
One of the most common unpleasant parts of an old car is the seats, especially if they are made of fabric. Imagine the years of dirt, stains, oil, and dust that have built up on those seats—and there is only so much that a basic car wash can do to remove them.
Fortunately, you don’t have to reupholster the car’s original seats if you don’t have that kind of budget. Alternatively, you can install seat covers—which can be made from either fabric or leather—and significantly improve the appearance of your interiors instantly. Furthermore, installing seat covers can also protect the original seats from further staining and wear.
Replace or clean the lights
Old or cloudy headlights and taillights can make your car look older than it really is. Not only that, but they can also reduce the efficiency of your lights and possibly make it harder to drive at night. Hit two birds with one stone (increase the functionality of your lights and improve their appearance) by replacing or cleaning your headlights.
If the headlights and/or taillights are very old, it may make more sense to replace them altogether. But if they are still in good working condition, take your car to an auto shop for light cleaning and/or bulb replacement.
Consider carbon fiber stickers
The paint job of an old car can really give away its age. However, a full repaint can be very expensive and may not be practical to do on a car that is already past its prime.
One of the best alternatives to a repaint is applying carbon fiber stickers. Carbon fiber stickers are made from vinyl material with an adhesive backing. They can be used to wrap parts of the car such as the hood, roof, trunk, and side mirrors for a better aesthetic appeal. They are also handy to cover up imperfections on the car, such as scrapes or damaged clear coat, which is most likely to be present on an older vehicle.
Carbon fiber stickers are affordable and easy to install. More than that, they can also be removed, making customization easier and less permanent than a repaint.
There are many advantages to buying an older car, most notably the lower price. But sometimes, paying less for your vehicle may mean you are getting a car that is substandard when it comes to appearance. Fortunately, there are many ways to spruce up an old car and make it look newer, starting with the ones mentioned above.