As a car ages, it can lose its original luster. Try these quick and affordable ways to fix cosmetic damage and give your car a refreshed look and feel.
1. Polish those headlights.
Over time, your headlights can start to have a foggy or yellowish tint to them. Dirty headlights could dim your light brightness and put you at risk for an accident, says Advance Auto Parts in their DIY Garage. Advance Auto Parts suggests that you polish them with regular white toothpaste and a soft dry cloth. Mint paste or paste that includes whitening crystals could damage your headlights, so test the paste on a small part of the lens before you tackle the whole headlight.
2. If you’ve cleaned your headlights and they’re still foggy, replace the bulbs.
According to Advance Auto Parts, most car manufacturers use stock bulbs in their headlights, which have a light, yellowish tint. Replace them with xenon bulbs, which give off the white or bluish tint you see on luxury vehicles. Or, buy an HID (high-intensity discharge light) conversion kit at your local auto parts store. These kits are not as pricey as xenon bulbs, but give off a crisper light and tend to be more powerful than your standard factory bulb.
3. Touch up the paint on your car.
Paint scratches, chips, and flakes are prone to rust and can affect your vehicle’s look and value, so it’s best to fix them sooner rather than later. Fortunately, these blemishes are easy to hide in a matter of minutes with a bit of touch-up paint. To get started, select the right paint color by locating the factory-paint code in your car. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out where this code lives. Often it’s in the driver’s door, glove box, spare wheel well, or under the hood, but can be found elsewhere. Buy the paint at your local auto parts retailer, car dealer’s parts counter, or auto paint dealer. And get a spot-sanding tool to prepare the area, and professional micro applicators and paint syringes, or a small artist brush to apply the paint. Note: While an auto body shop can sometimes be better suited to achieve a more professional result or repair a sizable amount of damage, doing it yourself is often a quick and cost-effective option.
4. Give the body a good waxing.
Keeping the exterior of your car clean could help your car retain its original value, and make it seem newer than it actually is. According to Probst Auto Body Shop, regular waxing protects your car’s paint job from daily wear and tear, and helps to prevent oxidation which leaves your car with a dull-looking finish. Meguiar’s Car Care Products suggests waxing your car 3-4 times a year.
5. Spruce up the interior with seat covers or a steering wheel cover.
You spend hours inside your car, so why not revamp the part you look at most often? If your steering wheel is pitted or worn, look for a colorful or leather steering wheel cover online or at your local auto parts store. They’ll often sell matching seat covers, which could prevent fabric from fraying or springs from popping through your seat. Ouch!
6. Personalize your license plate or license plate cover.
This is a quick way to add a personal touch to your car’s exterior without altering the paint job or adding a bumper sticker. You can personalize a cover for around $20, or change your entire plate by placing an order with the city’s Department of Motor Vehicles. The cost for a personalized plate varies by state, but could range anywhere from $12 to $100. Your state’s DMV web page will reflect the most accurate prices for your area.
When your car feels like a reflection of your personality, it’s important to keep it looking fresh. These affordable fixes can give your car the mini face-lift it needs to shine brighter and attract more attention on the road.