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Fixing up Your CarNotes From The Road

Affordable Vehicle Fix-ups
By Steve Temple/

Ten Ways to Add New Life to Your Older Car -
Back in the late Sixties, the average age for vehicles in operation was about five years. Today, that number has now more than doubled. Of course, this change is partially due to the higher total number of cars on the road, along with improvements in quality that allow for longer ownership before it ends at the wrecking yard.

Whatever the reasons, the trend is clear: the average vehicle age has been increasing rapidly over the last five years. So what does this statistic have to do with your family car? A few things, actually.
To start with, does it make more sense to keep and fix up your old car rather than to buy another one, either new or used? The answer varies with both use and condition. Given those qualifiers, it might be more economical to maintain and fix up an old car than buy a new ride every five years or so. The only exceptions might be if your vehicle is repeatedly breaking down, and parts are expensive and hard to find. That’s even more the case if it’s becoming unsafe to drive.
All that said, have you considered a cosmetic makeover? After all, if your vehicle is showing its age, and you’re planning to keep it longer, what can you do to give your older car a new lease on life?
We’ve gathered a batch of affordable fix-ups, noted in the accompanying photos, to help you put a fresh shine on your old favorite. These aren’t just gewgaws and gadgets, though. Many of them actually improve performance and personal comfort, too.
Restore the Paint
Besides a good wash and wax, several new car-care products can restore and even repair two-part urethane paint. They won’t get rid of scratches that penetrate the clear coat into the color layer, but they can do wonders with minor imperfections.
Clean the Engine
You don’t have to add a lot of polished dress-up parts on an engine to get it to shine. A thorough engine cleaning can do wonders. Cover the air intake and electronics with plastic bags secured with a rubber band before using a high-pressure wash and/or engine degreaser.
Replace the Exhaust System
Replacing a rusty and rattling exhaust system with a new aftermarket unit with chrome tips not only looks and sounds way better, but also can add significant power gains. So you’ll actually feel the difference under your right foot.
Replacing Rims and Tires
Buying brand-new booties for your baby is always a great way to enhance both style and performance, but also consider using period-correct rims and rubber, especially on a classic car. Newer, low profile rolling stock sometimes projects the wrong persona, while old-school rules.

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