Tips to Make Your Old Car Feel New

Tips to make your old car feel new

Are you a car owner who doesn’t feel good and excited looking at your car because it has become old? It can happen to the best of us, especially if you are just starting out in life. I remember the first car I bought was a used ’99 Chevy Cavalier. It was in fairly good condition, but being fresh out of college meant maintaining the car wasn’t one of my top priorities. Subsequently, my old car became an embarrassment whenever I took my girl out on a date. The easier option here would have been to get rid of the used car and opt for a new one. But that’s when a good friend of mine, who happens to be an auto mechanic, suggested some tips that would make my old babe look just like new. So, here I will be sharing those tips, that will surely help all of you who want to be proud of their car, and are looking for ways to spruce up an older car.

Okay, I do agree that in order to turn back the clock the direct option is to replace all the broken/faulty parts. Now, this option can set you back anywhere between a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks. For those who can’t afford that much, don’t worry. Even if your budget is low, you can make your old car look new by following the money saving options mentioned here.

First and foremost, no matter how old, banged up, or rusty, a really clean car is always going to look better than a car that is covered in dust and dirt. So, a thorough wash is a nice way to get started. A point to remember here, much like us humans, the condition of a car is always judged by looking at its exterior. In any case, that is the first thing visible while looking at a car. Hence, when going for a car makeover we shall work on the outside first and then on the inside.

External Makeover

Remove Dents and Repaint
The car’s paint is its protective shield against the elements, but as time ticks by all sorts of nicks and scratches appear. Being the first recognizable and visible part of the vehicle, our first objective is to make the exterior look as new as possible. This can be done by spray painting a fresh coat (starts from $1500). No matter how tempted you are to paint your car, you shouldn’t try it unless you have some professional painting experience. Else your car will probably end up looking worse than it is. Also, a banged up car with dents is an eyesore. A professional dent removal job can restore the original curves on your car. Now, a 1-inch dent can cost you anywhere between $50 to $100.

Money Saving Option
If your car has minor scratches, you can touch them up with paint pens ($4 to $20) that you can find for sale at most automotive supply stores. But be sure to get exactly the right color. Although paint pens can do a good job covering up small scratches, they are not meant to cover large areas. Likewise, for small dents, try a DIY dent-removal kit that is available on the market. But remember such kits are effective only for small dents, and might require some skill. The kits can cost anywhere between $20 to $150.

New Headlights
Unlike glass headlight covers used in older cars, plastic headlight lenses turn yellow and become foggy and look worn out after as little as three or four years. UV radiation from sunlight turns them yellow or cloudy, which can also become a potential safety hazard. The end result is that this makes your car look old. Getting a new pair of eyes will surely lighten up the look of your car, not to mention the better illumination at night and in foggy conditions.

Money Saving Option
Use cleaning kits (around $20-25) specifically designed to clean plastic headlight assemblies. The best ones will contain a cleaner as well as an UV protector. It is not necessary to remove the headlights from the vehicle to clean them. You don’t need special tools or skills, either. The entire cleaning routine may take around 30-45 minutes, but the result is better looking and brighter headlights.

New Set of Wheels
One of the most neglected part of a used car is its wheels. Since it is an old car, tires are bound to wear, and rims tend to rust and accumulate dust and dirt. Opting for a fresh set of wheels will surely lend a new look, not to mention the other benefits of using fresh tires. Upsizing or choosing larger wheels can go a long way in changing the look of the car. Larger wheels are instantly noticeable and also provide certain benefits like a better grip and a smoother ride. You can also opt for alloy rims to complement the look of your car.

Money Saving Option
Use a tire cleaning and dressing kit ($20-80) to give your tires and rubber trim an exceptionally brand new look. Why opt for expensive alloys when plastic hubcaps look just the same. Sleek looking plastic hubcaps (around $30-100) can give your car a sportier look and even become your personal style statement.

Internal Makeover

Change Floor Mats and Carpet
Carpets get loaded with ingrained mud, sand, and debris that cling to our footwear. Coffee or soda spills can also stain the carpet and ruin the nap on it. Floor mats and carpets really take a beating and can become worn out after a reasonable amount of time. Luckily, most auto stores sell floor mats and carpets ($30 to $100 for 4-piece set) in a variety of colors and styles to fit your fancy.

Money Saving Option
Excavate all the trash splayed all around and vacuum the entire floor. Use a carpet cleaner spray ($5 to $20) to remove tough stains. Soak the mats and carpet (if wash-proof) in warm water for half an hour and then shampoo them thoroughly.

Change Seats and Upholstery
Foam could lose its form over the years and this might end up being uncomfortable. Have it replaced and invest in a good back rest and neck-pillow. Seat covers are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and are one of the most dramatic ways to impact the interior. Perhaps best of all, they come in thousands of colors and fabric combinations. Seat covers can be ordered with emblems or logos on them, so you can even show off your team spirit or school pride.

Money Saving Option
Opting for car seat covers in the preferred choice of material and color can add a dash of color and style to otherwise drab interiors. If your upholstery is in relatively good shape, then opt to wax and buff the seats using a good wax polish ($5 to $20) and a portable buffer attachment. A little bit of elbow grease is sure to bring about a marked difference to the look of your car interior.
Polish Dashboard and Fix Console
As time goes by, the plastic on the dashboard and steering wheel becomes dull and may need replacement. The glass on the speedometer might have scratches. Knobs, switches and indicating lights on the console also cease to function properly over time, and may require replacement or repair. If worn out, you may even choose to get a new customized steering wheel, or replace certain sections of the dashboard if they are cracked or damaged beyond repair.
Money Saving Option
Use a dashboard cleaner fluid ($10-40) and a microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces clean. Do not directly spray the fluid on to the surfaces as they tend to leave a stain. Use small brushes and cotton swabs to clean hard to reach spots. Coating these surfaces with UV protector is a good way of ensuring that the dashboard and console are protected from cracking up or getting discolored due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.* The prices given above can vary according to location and availability.

Some More Tips

✔ Use deodorizers that eliminate odors from mold, smoke, and other causes, rather than merely masking them. You can also try eliminating odors from the air blowing ducts by spraying odor eliminator into the system’s air intake.

✔ Bluetooth integration, navigation systems, video monitors, DVD players, and a host of other gadgets lend a snazzy look and feel to the car. Moreover, all this stuff can be installed in just about any car or truck, regardless of its age and condition.

✔ Clean and polish your car’s windshield (and other exterior glass) with plain water and old newspaper. Unlike soft cloth or paper towels, newspaper doesn’t leave lint.

✔ To help restore a license plate that is beginning to rust, spray it with a good anti-rust (like WD-40) and wipe with a clean rag. Not only will this eliminate light surface rust, but will also prevent the plate from rusting further.

✔ While using water and soap to clean under the hood, be particularly careful to keep water away from electrical connections like the fuse box, cable junctions, and the large electrical connectors near the battery.

With just a few supplies and a little bit of elbow grease, shaving five years off the look of your car isn’t that difficult. It is still much better than coughing up a few thousand bucks for a brand new car. What’s more, making an older car look like new can pay dividends, worth up to 50 percent more than a car which is just fairly maintained.

Tips for Buying a Car Audio Amplifier

If you want to blast the speakers of your car audio system, you will need to install an amplifier. Basically, an amplifier picks up a sound signal from a source and increases it, resulting in the sound getting louder. The difficult part is amplifying the source signal without distorting it. In order to keep them functioning, amplifiers require an adequate power supply and must also have the ability to store sufficient current to be able to deliver all the fluctuations within the music being played.

A CD player or cassette radio produces about 9 real watts at the maximum into 4 speakers considering the power it is provided from the electrical system of the car. However, in case you want more than that to power the speakers you have, you will require an amplifier. Amplifiers provide the extra power resulting in your ability to play music louder. In addition, amplifiers improve the quality of the sound at every level of volume that the music is played in.

In case you are thinking of buying a car audio amplifier, you will require taking into consideration a few factors beforehand. Some of these factors are the power, the channels, and the heat.

Power
The power is one of the most important aspects that has to be taken into consideration when you buy a car audio amplifier. Basically, there are two kinds of power ratings: RMS and Peak.

The RMS rating is a measurement how much power the amplifier will be able to use in order to power the speakers. When buying your car audio amplifier, be careful to choose one to match the ratings of the speakers and subwoofers. If you do not do so, there are high chances of damaging your speakers.

The other type of power rating is the peak rating. This is a measurement how much power that the amplifier has when there are sudden amplifications of sound. This rating is not as important as the RMS rating. Car audio amplifiers usually have a lower RMS rating compared to the peak rating.

The power of amplifiers range from around 20 watts per channel to more than 1000 watts per channel, while the prices range from anything like $50 to thousands of dollars according to the quality, power output, and features.

Channels
The next thing you need to take into consideration is how many channels they have. Amplifiers range from a single output channel to up to 8 channels. The most popular models at present are 2 and 4 channel ones, although mono amplifiers are also getting quite popular. It is the number of channels that will be the determining factor of how many speakers can be connected to the amplifier. Amplifiers have a left and right signal for each of the channels they have.

Heat Generated
Another thing you need to think about is the heat factor when you buy your car audio amplifier. Always look for ones that have a heatsink designed into them. These are metal strips that are provided on the exterior of the amplifier. The heat that is generated by the car audio amplifier is absorbed by the heatsinks.

Preamp Output
In case you want to go in for multiple car audio amplifiers for your audio system, then you will require one with a preamp output, which will enable you to connect multiple amplifiers to each other. The amplifier which has the preamp output will send the signal to the other amp.

Quality
The quality of the amplifier has also got to be kept in mind when buying one. Generally, the weight and the size of the amplifier itself is a good indication of the quality of the power output as well as the build. Usually, amplifiers that are of better quality usually have a larger and heavier heatsink compared to one that is of a lower quality, although many top quality amplifiers may not always follow this prescript.

Frequency Signals
In order to produce bass tones, large car audio subwoofers require lower end frequencies. However, make sure to not to go in for frequencies that are below or above the range that is recommended. If the frequency is too high it will cause undesirable effects on the sound quality, and if it is too low, the speaker could get damaged. Most amplifiers come with a subsonic filter to prevent frequencies that are too low, and also a crossover to eliminate the higher range of frequencies. These components will help the speakers receive the correct frequencies they require for performing at their optimum level.

Buying a good quality car audio amplifier is like shopping for any other component for your car audio system. First, you need to have a good idea what you intend accomplishing with your amplifier, and then make a thorough research of the choices available accordingly. You don’t need to buy the most expensive one if you are just installing a superior quality car audio system in your vehicle. But if your goal is taking part in car audio competition, then you will need to go in for a top quality and expensive amplifier. Make informed choices by finding out all the facts before buying one.

Car Audio Troubleshooting Tips

Imagine getting a new stereo system installed in your car, but it doesn’t work properly. Car audio problems are common nowadays, the reasons for which can be varied, like loose wires, problem with the amplifier, or problem with the stereo. Such problems can also cause the speakers to produce a popping or crackling sound. However, there are some steps that can be taken to diagnose and repair these problems.

The first thing you would need to do is to find the source of the problem. There can be many things at fault, such as cables, audio amplifier, or speakers. Make sure that everything is properly connected between the speakers, stereo, and the amplifier. Disconnect the wire that connects the stereo and amplifier, but do not unplug the cable connecting the amplifier to the speakers. If the problem still persists, the amplifier might be at fault. But if the problem is solved, simply disconnect the wire from the radio. If the problem still persists, then the connecting cable probably needs a replacement.

The stereo system also won’t work if there is a loose or missing connection. Check all the cables of the stereo, amplifier, and speakers separately and ensure that they are properly connected. Torn, pinched, or exposed cables can also be a reason for the system to be defunct.

If there is not enough power supplied to the speakers, they will not produce sound. Speakers that are installed by the car company work fine with the store-fitted audio system. If different speakers are installed, they might not work due to compatibility issues, or may need more power to operate. Check their power supply by using a power meter. If they are receiving power but are still not working fine, the power provided may not be sufficient.

A blown fuse also can be a reason for the stereo to be nonfunctional. Refer to the car owner’s manual and ensure if all fuses in the fuse box are intact. If they are fine, you need to check if the car’s stereo system has its own fuses, which can be possible in case of some systems. If you find a faulty fuse, you need to replace it with a new one.

There also are chances of the speaker being faulty. You may check a blown speaker by an electric meter. Ensure that there is no power supplied to the speaker; set the electric meter to show “ohms”. Place one meter lead on every terminal point. If the speaker is fine, the meter will display 1.0 ohm, but if it is blown, the meter will read infinite ohms. A simple way to check a blown speaker is to place your hand on it and feel if there is any vibration and thump coming out at high volume. If the required thump is not felt, the speakers are blown.

If the speakers are not mounted in a correct manner, they may cause problem by producing a buzzing sound or vibrating. Such problems can be solved by simply turning the mounting screws a bit tighter. You can also place a piece of rubber between the speaker frame and the car interior.

If any of these above tips don’t seem to work, you probably need to take the help of a car stereo technician.