Car wash

How to make your old car feel brand new

Whether it’s down to economic reasons, or an emotional connection to your beloved old car, many of you won’t want to upgrade to a brand-new model. If this is the case, there’s no need to drive around in a car that’s looking worse for wear! There are plenty of ways to revamp your old car and make it look sleek, clean, and modern — at a fraction of the price of making a new purchase! Here are some of our top tips…

Get your car as clean as new

You’ll be surprised at how much difference a thorough clean can make. Getting the interior and the exterior of your car sparkling can make it appear as good as new, at little cost!

Exterior cleaning guide

Washing the outside of your car can seem like a big task, but if you have the time to spare, giving it a clean yourself usually produces better results. This is because you can spend more time on the areas that really need some attention.

 The three-bucket system is a fail-safe way to clean your car:

Using a hose or a wet microfibre cloth with water and rinsing down your car is the first step. The idea behind this is that you want to wash away any large amounts of dirt before you get the soapy water involved.

Insects can dry in the sun and get stuck to your exterior. Soap will have a hard time peeling these critters off your car, but there’s an easy trick to remove them. Get a few tumble dryer sheets and a bucket of warm water. Wet the dryer sheet in the warm water, then wipe down the bugs. They will come away much easier this way.

After you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time for soapy water. Remember to rinse your cloth in the water bucket as you go along. For tougher spots, try using a clay bar instead.

Normal, white-paste toothpaste (not the gel kind) is a surprisingly perfect tool for cleaning headlights. With a soft cloth, apply the toothpaste to your headlights. Then, rinse away the toothpaste with water.

Finally, to make your car shine like new, give it a thorough polish with a hand-polish or dual-action polisher to give it a like-new shine. Then, apply a final coat of wax to protect the paintwork and that hard-earned shine. Use a power buffer to apply the wax, but then remove it with a soft cloth to ensure an even finish.

Now it’s time to tackle the wheels. Tyres don’t require any special product, water will do the job. Make sure to use your designated wheels bucket, as brake fluid smeared across your windows next time is not preferable. Don’t use product on the tires though; simple water will be enough

Interior cleaning guide

As for the interior of your car, the first step is to remove all rubbish from the inside. Drinks bottles, McDonalds wrappers, papers, whatever you’ve shoved in the glove box and forgotten about, the air freshener that lost its scent several years ago. Check the chair pockets, and the door storage, and the boot.

Headlining and sun visors

A surprising difference can be made, simply by cleaning your car’s headliners and sun visors. The fabric covering the interior ceiling can become discoloured and cling on to odours, so it is worth taking the time to give it a good clean.

Grab your upholstery cleaner and spray your headliners and sun visors. Foam-type upholstery cleaners are recommended for this. Follow the instruction on the product, then use a soft-bristled brush to gently brush the headliner. Then, let it dry for a few hours.

A deep clean might be necessary for some particularly unclean sun visors and headliners. A steam cleaner can be used for this, but this can damage the glue holding the layers of your headliner together.

Seat belts and seats

Now it’s time to tackle your seatbelts. First, pull them out as far as possible and then attach a clip at the top to stop them pulling back. Using the same upholstery cleaner as you used for the headliner, clean down the belt with a cloth. Leave the belt clipped to dry for a few hours before letting them roll back in.

For your seats, first you need to vacuum thoroughly, then grab a squeegee. Run the squeegee or damp glove over the seats to pull up deep-set fluff, dust, and pet hair. Then, go at it with the upholstery cleaner too.

Grab handles and pillars

First things first, you need to wipe down your grab handles with a clean microfibre cloth. Depending on the material, you can use the same upholstery cleaner as you used for the headliner and sun visor, or an antibacterial spray.

Door panels

Car doors can be terrible for getting dirt stuck in their nooks and crannies. Give them a good vacuum, then, using a leather cleaner where needed and a vinyl cleaner for the rest, wipe down the whole interior door panel. Be sure to check on a small area that the cleaner you are using is safe to use on your door’s interior material.

Windows and mirrors

Using the same squeegee you used for the car seats, spray some window or glass cleaner onto your car windows and mirrors and wipe away. Wind your windows down a little to get the grime away from the top of the window and achieve a streak-free finish.

Air vents and drinks holders

If your air vent filters are removable, it’s time to take them out and give them a thorough clean. Give them a clean down, as well as any drinks holders or trays your car may have.

Boot, carpets, and floor mats

Before you can do anything else with your carpets and floor mats, you need to give them a hoover. If the floor mats look worse for wear, throw them out and get them replaced — a rubber floor mat is a good way to ensure no mould develops from wet shoes going in and out of your car.

If you want to be thorough and bring up deep-set dirt buried in your car’s carpets, your them with a nylon brush before going at it with the vacuum cleaner.

Dashboard and steering wheel

If you don’t want to buy a specialised cleaning product, water and soap will do the job for your dashboard. Be sure to go lightly with the water though, as you don’t want to risk water running down into the electrics. To get rid of grime and grease, a glass cleaner will do the trick. Also, wash your dashboard in the shade to avoid the sun from drying the product too quickly.

Don’t forget your steering wheel and indicator stick! Few people realise that their steering wheel is one of the dirtiest parts of a car interior.

Treat yourself to some brand-new parts

Now that you’ve got your car looking squeaky clean, it’s time to look at what needs replacing. This will help the overall appearance of your vehicle. These don’t need to be expensive replacements!