It’s not uncommon for car owners to grow attached to their vehicles. After all, we spend a lot of time in our cars! If you’re like most people, your car is more than just a mode of transportation – it’s a part of your life.
That being said, it’s also not uncommon for cars to start to show their age after a few years. Whether it’s a few scratches and dings, or more serious issues like rust, an old car can start to look pretty bad.
If you’re in this situation, don’t despair! From getting it detailed to fixing the paint job with paint protection, there are plenty of ways to make an old car look new. With a little elbow grease (and maybe a little money), you can restore your car to its former glory.
Step 1. Get It Detailed.
Of course, preserving your car is preferable, but one of the best ways to make an old car look new is to get it detailed.
Most car detailers will thoroughly clean both the inside and outside of your car. A typical detailing job usually involves:
- Washing and waxing the exterior
- Cleaning the inside of the car, including the carpets, seats, and dashboard
- Cleaning the windows
- Polishing the chrome
A good detailer will pay attention to all the little details that can make a big difference in your car’s appearance. This is especially true if you haven’t had your car detailed in a while or if it’s never been done.
Cost of a detailing job
A professional detail job can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the services you choose and the condition of your car. But even if you have to pay the top end of that price range, it’s still worth it. The results will be amazing, and your car will look new again.
Step 2: Fix the Paint Job.
One of the biggest things that can make an old car look-well, old is a bad paint job. If your car’s paint is faded, chipped, or otherwise in bad shape, it can affect the vehicle’s overall look.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to fix up the paint job on your car. Here are a few ideas:
- Wash and wax the car regularly. This will help protect the paint and keep it from fading.
- Touch up any chips or scratches in the paint. You can usually buy touch-up paint at your local auto parts store.
- If the paint is badly faded, you may need to have the car repainted. This is more expensive, but it will make your car look brand new.
Step 3: Protect the paint job.
If you did decide to have your car repainted, or even if you just had it detailed, you’d want to protect the new paint job. The best ways to do this is to have it ceramic coated or apply paint protection film.
Ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that bonds to the paint and creates a protective layer. It’s similar to a clear coat, but is much more durable and can last for years.
On the other hand, the paint protection film is a clear, self-adhesive vinyl that covers vulnerable areas like the front bumper and side mirrors. Both options will help keep your car’s paint looking new for longer.
Types of ceramic coatings
Ceramic coatings come in different types, each with its advantages. Here are a few of the most popular types:
- SiO2 (silica dioxide): This is the most common type of ceramic coating. It’s durable and protects against UV rays, oxidation, and corrosion.
- TiO2 (titanium dioxide): This type of ceramic coating is even more durable than SiO2. It’s also very good at repelling water and resisting stains.
- ZrO2 (zirconium dioxide): This is the most expensive type of ceramic coating, but it’s also the best at repelling water and resisting stains.
Check out is ceramic coating worth it to learn more.
Step 4: Fix Any Rust Spots.
Rust spots are those ugly, orange-ish spots that form on the surface of the metal when exposed to oxygen and moisture. Few things make a car run down than a bunch of rust spots.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get rid of rust spots:
Use sandpaper to remove the rust.
Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and then move to a finer one. When you’re finished, wipe the area with a cloth dampened with paint thinner.
Apply rust converter.
This is a chemical that turns rust into a protective coating. Rust converters work best on small rust spots.
Replace the rusted part.
If your rust spot is too large to be sanded or treated with a rust converter, you’ll have to replace the part. This is usually only necessary with big pieces, like fenders or doors.
Step 5: Fix Any Dents or Dings.
Another common problem with older cars is dents and dings. These can be caused by everything from hail to parking lot accidents. Regardless of how they happened, dents and dings can make your car look bad. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to fix them:
Use a plunger.
If the dent is small and shallow, you may be able to pop it out with a plunger. Just make sure the plunger is clean and dry before you use it.
Use a vacuum cleaner and bucket.
This method is similar to the plunger method, but you’ll need a vacuum cleaner with good suction. Put the vacuum cleaner over the dent and then place the bucket over the vacuum cleaner. The suction will pull the dent out.
Step 6: Clean and Polish the Chrome.
Chrome can make a car stand out, but it can also get dull and tarnished over time. The best way to clean chrome is with a commercial chrome polish. You can find these at most auto parts stores.
To polish the chrome, first, remove any dirt or grime with a soft cloth. Then, apply the polish with a clean cloth and rub it in until the chrome is shiny. Finally, remove any excess polish with a clean, dry cloth.
Step 7: Clean and Tint the Windows.
Dirty, streaky windows can make a car look old and worn out. The best way to clean them is with a commercial window cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Just spray the cleaner on the windows and then wipe it off with a cloth.
And if you want to take things a step further, you can tint the windows. Darker automotive tints will make your car look more sleek and modern. Tinting is a relatively simple process, but it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Q: How often should I wash my car?
A: Ideally, you should wash your car every two weeks. But if you can’t manage that, aim for at least once a month.
Q: What’s the best way to dry my car after washing it?
A: The best way to dry your car is with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are gentle on the paint and won’t leave any streaks or water spots.
Q: How can I make my car’s headlights look new again?
A: The best way to clean headlights is with a headlight restoration kit. These kits come with everything you need to remove the haze and restore the clarity of your headlights.
Q: Can I use WD-40 on my car?
A: WD-40 is great for a lot of things, but it’s not meant for use in cars. It can actually damage the paint and other surfaces of your car. So, it’s best to avoid using it.
Q: How can I make my car’s tires look new again?
A: The best way to clean tires is with a tire shine product. These products will make your tires look shiny and new in no time.
How often should I wash my car?
Ideally, you should wash your car every two weeks. But if you can’t manage that, aim for at least once a month.
What’s the best way to dry my car after washing it?
The best way to dry your car is with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are gentle on the paint and won’t leave any streaks or water spots.
How can I make my car’s headlights look new again?
The best way to clean headlights is with a headlight restoration kit. These kits come with everything you need to remove the haze and restore the clarity of your headlights.
Can I use WD-40 on my car?
WD-40 is great for a lot of things, but it’s not meant for use in cars. It can actually damage the paint and other surfaces of your car. So, it’s best to avoid using it.
How can I make my car’s tires look new again?
The best way to clean tires is with a tire shine product. These products will make your tires look shiny and new in no time.
Making an old car look new again is a labor of love. But it’s definitely possible with a little elbow grease and the right know-how. Just follow the steps in this article, and you’ll have your old car looking shiny and new in no time!