Aaron Widmar
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How to Make Your Used Car Look Like New

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pressure washer cleaning your car wash spray water hose
Washing is an important way of enhancing your car’s appearance
Photo: The News Wheel

You can make your recently purchased used car look nearly as fresh as a brand-new car. All you need is some car-cleaning supplies and a free afternoon. In addition to making your used car look more attractive, its exterior and interior appearance can help it maintain its value better. Here are some suggestions on what you can do.

Are You Shopping for a Used Car? Read these helpful tips to simplify your search!

Scrub from bumper to bumper

A quick rinse in the drive-thru automated car wash isn’t enough. You need to really scrub your used car, digging into all the crevices. Use a car-safe detergent and soft-bristled brush to sweep away corrosive gunk that’s festering in these nooks, which is where rust can start to form.

Touch up missing paint

When paint is scratched away from the car’s surface, it leaves the metal panels underneath exposed. Do a close inspection of the paint job; look for imperfections, scratches, and nicks. Even small dots can expand to larger blemishes if left untreated. You’ll want to fill in any missing paint by performing a touch-up. Get a paint bottle of exact-match hue from a local car dealership’s parts department.

Use a restoration kit

Is the paint faded on your used car? You may be able to improve its luster with a restoration compound kit. Buy a bottle and buffer from the car parts store and see if you can bring that original glow back. Once you’re done, coat your clean car in a layer of protectant wax.

Polish the headlight lenses

Lenses fade and cloud over time, so make them crystal clear again. Don’t know how to restore headlamp lenses? Here’s a simple guide.

air duct intake vent spray dust cleaner
Use an air duct cleaning spray to purge allergens from the vent system
Photo: The News Wheel

Clear the air ducts

Use an odor eliminator and cleaning spray on the ventilation ducts by spraying it into the system’s air intake. While you’re at it, install new cabin and engine air filters.

Moisturize the vinyl

The dashboard, doors, and plastic trim on your car have probably dried out. Drench them in a moisturizer that will reduce the chance of cracking and peeling. Do the same for the seats if they’re leather or imitation leather.

Get rid of stains

Use a stain removal spray on the fabric seats, cloth carpeting, and headlining where noticeable spills have left stains. Scrub multiple times if necessary to remove those unsightly blemishes.

Replace broken glass

If your car’s windshield has been cracked by an airborne rock, it’s imperative to have the glass fixed or replaced. A clean, clear windshield will do wonders for a vehicle’s look. Plus, it will prevent the chip from developing into a bigger crack that’s costlier to fix.

Just because your car has some miles on it, doesn’t mean it can’t look shiny and new. If you keep your car well-groomed and maintained, it will garner favorable attention.