Are you staring at your old ride and wishing you could give it a facelift without emptying your wallet? Well, we’ve got some budget-friendly hacks that’ll make your car turn heads again. And don’t worry, we’ve even listed the prices to keep your makeover on budget.

1. Give it a good wash

You’d be surprised by how much a good wash can do for your vehicle. Take it through a car wash for as little as $9 or do it yourself at home. Make sure to get a good brush and some microfiber cleaning cloths so you don’t leave anything behind.

2. Use a clay bar

After you wash your vehicle, pick yourself up a clay bar kit and put some elbow grease in. We like Meguiar’s  Smooth Surface Clay Kit (which you can get for about $22). Clay bars help to pick up any contaminants on your car’s surface that were left behind after the wash. This’ll do wonders in helping your car to have that smooth finish everyone loves. While it might take some time and effort, it’s a fairly simple process. You can watch REVIVING RIDES’ latest video to see how he gets it done as a first time clay bar user.

3. Touch up any scratches

Scratches on your car can be an eyesore, but they don’t have to cost a fortune to fix. Most auto stores offer paint pens designed for these touch-ups, made to match your car’s specific color code (usually found in the driver’s door jam). You can grab one of these for about $12.

4. Wax and polish

Grab some Meguair’s Mirror Glaze ($13), 6 inch fine foam polishing pads ($10), and a DA Polisher ($50) and you can make your vehicle shine like it just pulled off the lot. If you aren’t sure if it’s worth it, Bobby Clark with REVIVING RIDES shows an insane before and after in this video.

5. Wipe On Clear Coat

Putting a new clear coat on your ride probably sounds insanely hard and expensive. Vice Grip Garage made it easy for us. If you like the patina look but don’t want it to look quite as, um, old? Try out his Gloss Wipe On Clear Coat. Like the name says, you literally just wipe it on. It’s only $125 to do your entire vehicle (one bottle gives you enough to do an entire C10 truck). Check out this video to see just how much of an impact this stuff can make.

6. Restore your headlights

Headlights get gross pretty fast. A quick way to make your vehicle look new, or at least newer, is to restore your them. You can get a kit for $20, and with a little elbow grease, have them looking pretty great.

7. Detail the interior

Take out all those empty bottles, old receipts, and Chipotle napkins and get to work. Giving the inside of your car a complete detailing will make it smell better, look better, and feel better. Sure, it takes some time, but it’s worth it if you ask us.

8. New badges

Swapping out old, faded badges for shiny new ones is a quick way to update your vehicle’s look. While prices vary, you can typically find replacements for anywhere between $10 and $200, depending on your taste and the brand of your vehicle. This small change can have a big impact on the car’s appearance.

9. Wheel Covers

If new rims aren’t in the budget, consider wheel covers. Autozone has plenty of options, with complete sets starting at $40. While they might not fool anyone into thinking they’re high-end, they’re a definite improvement over worn or damaged originals.

10. Floor mats

A set of floor mats is a must, regardless of your car’s current condition. Not only do they protect the flooring, but they’re also easy to clean, making maintenance a breeze. With options as low as $20 on Amazon, it’s an affordable way to keep your vehicle looking nice.

11. Seat covers

Seats are one of the first things to get nasty in the vehicle’s interior. Especially if you have cloth seats. Cover up those stains and make your ride look new by putting in some seat covers. Even cheap ones will look better than your old, stained seats. You can get a full set for under $100, just do some research and make sure you get some that’ll fit.

12. Steering wheel cover

After a while, steering wheels tend to get kind of gross. They can get sticky, leave residue on your hands, and make your vehicle look, well, bad. Steering wheel covers are cheap and they can instantly make your car’s interior look better. You can find a decent one for $15 to $30.

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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