Today’s guest post is brought to you by Pamela Reyhan, manager of digital content strategy for Allstate.
After 150,000 miles, my 2000 Mazda is showing her age. Don’t get me wrong. Thanks to preventative car maintenance and a few repairs, the car still runs smoothly. Though, a cracked steering wheel, lumpy driver’s seat and the petrified remnants of too many drive-thru visits speak to each and every one of those miles.
I’ve been missing that new-car feel lately. But rather than break my budget for a new vehicle, I’m planning on bringing back the magic. Here’s how I plan to do it, and how you can keep working toward your savings goals without having to spring for a new car:
- Clean sweep. It takes more than one of those paper air fresheners to revive an older car. Yes, that means excavating the trunk, shampooing the seat upholstery and removing fries trapped deep beneath the driver’s seat. I’ll be happy to say goodbye to those nasty remains, but, more so, to all the harmful dust mites, mold and the mysterious odors lurking in the upholstery and carpeting.
- Upgrade the cockpit. A badly worn steering wheel just plain feels old. An inexpensive cover, though, is an easy way to get back that fresh-from-the-dealer feel. I plan to polish the dashboard and check for worn knobs, which I can easily replace with parts from a local salvage yard.
- Make beautiful music. I’m going to bring my car into the 21st century by swapping out that tape deck for a new car stereo that includes Bluetooth, an iPod hook up and satellite radio. New car radios are surprisingly affordable. For less than $200 (including installation), I’m going to seriously upgrade the entertainment factor of my morning commute.
- Brighten headlights. Many old cars have composite headlamps that dull over time. Some basic headlight repairs, or a headlight restoration kit that costs less than $30, will take my headlights from a dull, yellowed tint to brilliant illumination. I’ll see better while driving at night, and my car will look better, too.
- Quiet the noisy ride. Does your car whistle or howl when you drive down the highway? Mine does. And I think the rubber trim that seals my car doors may be to blame. These rubber strips can become brittle or detached over time, allowing heat to escape in the winter and letting water in when it rains. I plan to ask my mechanic to reseal the rubber, so I can enjoy a quieter ride. Without leaky doors, my car’s interior temperature will be better regulated too.
- Get comfortable. Seat foam breaks apart over time. I can really feel my car’s age when I sit in the driver’s seat. I’m going to source “like-new” seats from a low-mileage vehicle at the salvage yard. (If the foam on your seats is ok, a pair of new seat covers might be all that you need.)
- Check the brakes. Shocks, struts, brakes and brake pads wear out over time. Nothing screams old car like a bumpy ride. When I take my car in to get the rubber trim resealed, I’m going to have him check my brakes so that I can enjoy a smoother ride, and save my tires from unnecessary wear and tear.
Pamela Reyhan is the manager of digital content strategy for Allstate. She loves all things digital, is the mother of twin girls and is a former Diet Coke addict.