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How To Breathe New Life Into An Old Car

That 1960s Mustang you just got your hands on isn’t so cherry red anymore, but it came at a bargain price. Restoring any vintage car to its former glory — or just giving your old car a needed makeover, for that matter — will take some work, but nothing compares to that feeling of pride when your car restoration efforts are complete. Whether it’s a classic or a clunker, here are some steps you can take to get your car’s exterior sparkling again, dress up the interior, and even update some technology.

Beautify the Exterior

Dents and dings just won’t do, but it will be easier to identify them if you thoroughly wash the car first. While you are washing it by hand (and afterward), assess the damage, and then determine whether touching up scratches and chips is a do-it-yourself job or whether you need a body shop and a professional buffing. The same goes for the dents — some can be fixed with household tools, some can’t. Once all the dents and scratches are taken care of, it will be easier to decide whether a paint job is needed or whether you can shine and protect it yourself. Next, inspect all of the window glass. If you notice any damage, especially a crack or chip in the windshield, have it fixed before it gets worse and full replacement is required.

An Inside Job

While exterior appearance counts, you are going to spend most of your time inside the car. Dirt and food likely have been ground into both the carpet and upholstery, so start with a thorough cleaning and vacuuming. If you can’t get upholstery stains out, hold off on replacing it until you consider the following:

  • Is your dashboard dashing?
  • Is the instrument panel functional?
  • Is the interior lighting sufficient?

Any changes to these should be made before installing new upholstery.

Next, clean the non-upholstered surfaces thoroughly. Use 303 Automotive Protectant to give surfaces a protective finish to prevent future UV damage and fading.

The Engine

Keeping an older car running is a separate issue from appearance, but a clean engine will draw attention at vintage car shows, not to mention adding to resale value. Thoroughly clean all under-the-hood components, which sometimes get oily or collect road residue. Corrosion on battery terminals can be cleaned with a solution of water and baking soda. When cleaning other parts (don’t get the electrical parts wet), consider using 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner.

Upgrade Tires and Rims

Tire performance has come a long way so, if your old car has old tires, it might be best to upgrade even though the original tires were a classic aesthetic match. Maintain the look of the vehicle as closely as you desire — and polish or replace the rims to make them shine like new.

Consider Upgrading the Technology

Having a vintage car that is Bluetooth-compatible might seem contradictory, but as you restore your old car, consider adding technology to make it more practical for modern driving. Stereo systems and GPS devices are such possibilities.

Your mission — restoring an older car— is a big job, but the results you can achieve will be truly rewarding.

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