Here are the top five things you can do to make an old car drive new.
Owners routinely think that cheap tires will simply last the 40,000 miles without adding hidden costs to the price. The truth is that tires made out of high-quality materials shield your car from blunt impacts with road debris. Look for quality first instead of price whenever you shop for tires.
Motor oil is probably the most exhaustively studied fluid in a vehicle. However it's those other overlooked fluids that make a big difference. Coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and other related fluids and filters, will usually have a far greater impact on a vehicle's longevity than just motor oil alone.
In certain cases you may be stuck having old tranny fluid due to internal wear issues. But if you haven't replaced the coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid, do it. They are the cheapest insurance against maladies that push you into buying a new car such as blown engines, expensive brake repairs and steering rack replacements.
If you want your car to look new and eventually, classic, nothing beats a good quality wax that you put on yourself. Take an afternoon and try to learn the basics by practicing on your hood and other areas of your car. Once you get the hang of it, you'll never want anyone else to wax your car again.
Invest in the interior
However, it is often better to start with your seat and the steering wheel instead, since that's what you touch during most of your daily journeys. Most seats will wear out over time, and steering wheels are particularly sensitive to sun exposure.
The auto recycling world is a literal heaven for these parts. Cars in severe accidents early on in life usually get totaled, leaving a perfectly nice driver seat behind along with door panels, storage bins, and minor interior and exterior parts.
As for a steering wheel cover, buy the more expensive ones that require professional installation instead of the cheap rubberized WalMart specials. With seats and steering wheel covers, you can always opt for the work of a professional upholstery shop.
Your old ride can usually look and drive like new for anywhere between 3 percent to 10 percent of that new car price — or basically what you lose in depreciation the moment you drive a new vehicle off the lot. Is it worth it? Most beaters of the modern era can last over 250,000 miles if you stay on top of maintenance and invest in the little issues so that they never become big problems.