Most of us grow tired of our cars long before they’re regarded to be “used” or second-hand cars. However, with volatile markets and consistent financial concerns, it might be less costly and more prudent to rather improve your current ride than to buy a new vehicle.

Here are a few steps to help you bring that old, beautiful machine back to life.

Clean Everything

When we talk about cleaning your vehicle, we’re not referring merely to the usual body scrub, but to an extensive, thorough cleaning. Shampoo the carpet and upholstery, dig up all the trash decomposing in the trunk (boot), remove the spare tyre and get into every space of the tyre well, and remove the seat cushions and pick out all the crumbs, nuts, crisps and all the litter you can find hidden therein. If you have the technical aptitude, you could also take out the front seats and vacuum under there. Clean all the muck from the engine and get under the car too.

While this may seem like a pretty obvious first step, cleaning your car will pay off in the long run as all that time spent tidying will translate into time spent inspecting, and will result in you uncovering hidden problems.

Fix the Cockpit

Focus on the area you’re going to touch while driving, namely, the steering wheel and the dashboard. If the wheel is pitted or deteriorated, purchasing an inexpensive cover can make a big difference as to the general feel of a car, while a dashboard cover may be a good investment as well.

It’s also a good idea to check the dashboard lighting, as there are drivers out there who can’t read their speedometers at night simply because the lighting knob has been dimmed for years through sheer inattention. If the knobs and switches are actually busted or worn-out, they can often be cheaply replaced with either new parts or recycled pieces found at a junkyard.

If the dashboard pad is faded, consider repainting or dyeing it, as you’re going to spend a lot of time staring at it.

Don’t forget to attend to the fabric – a quick trick is to go to a junk yard and swap out your worn-out seats with seats from a low mileage car whose seats are relatively new.

Electronics

Many vehicles have outdated sound systems, including cassette stereo systems. Spare a little investment for a swanky sound system that you can incorporate with your devices; cell phone, iPod, and a flash disk which also includes Bluetooth connection. These measures, combined with bass speakers and an amp, will jolt your car back to present. It may be a little costly, but it will be worth every cent in the end.

Clear the headlamps

Vehicles built during the last couple of decades usually have plastic composite headlamps that weather and dull over time. You can use easy home-made remedies such as toothpaste to help clear the smog off your headlamps, and your headlamps will be like they’re sparkling new!.

Revitalise the A/C

Your car’s air-conditioner can suffer build-ups of mould, mildew and bacteria. To clean out the system, first make sure the air coming into the system isn’t first passing through leaves, dust or other accumulated grime in the air passageways. Then, change or clean any filters in the system. Finally, use an air-conditioning deodoriser – if nothing else, your nose should be happier.

Rubber

Your car doors seal against rubber trim that is vulnerable to tears as it ages. These tears can lead to air gaps that howl in the wind while you drive, let heat escape when it’s cold outside, allow cold air to escape when it’s hot outside, and invite water in when it rains. While replacing these rubber strips takes patience, time and a talent for adhesives, the strips themselves are usually inexpensive, and installing fresh ones can make your car instantly quieter.  Don’t replace the seals if they’re still in good shape, but don’t hesitate to replace if they’re brittle or ragged.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace your rubber windshield wiper blades –it’s an inexpensive way to survive the rainy season.

Paint

The use and abuse of touch-up paint is a subject that could fill volumes. Generally speaking, it’s best to use it sparingly and carefully.

However, you can easily remove plastic trim pieces on your car’s exterior and repaint them with a spray can. It particularly makes a big difference on black parts that have weathered to a dull grey.

Brakes and Suspensions

Shocks, springs, dampers, struts, brake rotors and pads may seem like normal service items, but replacing them can make a huge difference as to how a car drives. If you decide to go all the way, you can purchase stabiliser bars, urethane bushings, racing shocks and more, but you don’t have to go to extremes to make your vehicle handle more precisely.

New shock absorbers add substantial value, but before you install them, you might consider rebuilding the suspension and steering system with new ball joints and tie rod ends. If you’re an enthusiast, new springs can lower your car for better handling and offer a more aggressive look. Just remember to stay within your budget and to take your mechanical abilities into account. The same advice applies to brakes, while worn discs and pads seriously degrade performance, and need to be replaced.

Wheels and Tyres

Deriving a better performance from your tyres can be as simple as making sure they’re properly inflated. However, when tyres need to be replaced, this presents an opportunity to improve both the performance and appearance of your car.

Remember: everything related to the performance of your car is connected to the tyres. As such, good tyres enable your car to perform every function better. Moving up to wider tyres or larger diameter wheels used to be difficult, as it was tough to determine the correct wheel back spacing or how much rubber could fit under your car’s fenders. However, modern sites like The Tire Rack can provide dozens of wheel and tire combinations tailored to your vehicle.

New, larger tyres are the single most impressive way to change a car’s performance and appearance. Of course, a new set of wheels and tyres won’t be inexpensive –but it’s still cheaper than getting a new car.

Tracking Unit

After you have secured your swanky new car, that rides like a dream and is fully optimised to meet your needs, the next step is to secure your motor treasure.

By installing a vehicle tracking unit from Cartrack Zimbabwe, you will ensure that your car can always be retrieved from anywhere in the case of theft. This will give you peace of mind and protect your valuable investment.