Car care: Freshen up your car for CNY on a budget

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PHOTO: The Straits Times

A fresh outfit symbolically represents a fresh start to the Lunar New Year. It can also be a subtle one-upmanship come visitation time. Shouldn't our cars deserve a freshening up too?

As shallow as it may sound, no amount of flashy, designer clothing will offset the judgemental glares your relatives will shoot in your direction if you're seen disembarking from a clapped-out hatchback.

Besides, there are tangible benefits to a freshly-tweaked car. For starters, a clean car will make your commutes in the upcoming months significantly more pleasant. This is a solid approach for a low-commitment take on car improvment.

But why stop at just a thorough clean? Why not go the extra mile, and update your vehicle? Here's how you can freshen up your car on a budget! Though if you're not the hands-on type, we can assist you here!

Keeping it clean

We should start with the lowest committment 'modification' (if you can even call it that!) of the lot. Whilst we did highlight that there are many other ways of 'zhng-ing' your car for the new year, we believe that everyone should start by putting their car through a thorough detail.

You can use a variety of different cleaning chemicals to agitate stubborn stains. Grime, dust and germs can all be removed with sprays, solvents, brushes and a vaccuum cleaner (there are many MSCPs that have them nowadays!).

Foul smells lingering in the cabin? Aerosol disinfectant sprays can be deployed to kill unwanted fungi and bacterial growth. You'd be surprised at just how big of a difference a thorough sanitation can do to the look of your vehicle!

In-car entertainment

Own an older, COE car? Chances are that you're missing out on the latest gizmos and gadgets automakers are blessing even the newest base models with. But you do not have to buy a new car to enjoy these perks.

That's because the aftermarket has come up with OEM-style centre console panels that have properly integrated Android headunits. These bits are designed to directly replace the plastic bezels that surround your existing double-DIN stereo.

These kits will come with phone mirroring capabilities, as well as built-in reversing cameras, internet connectivity and even the ability (not that we're advocating it!) to surf the net on the go!

Interior retrim

For a more extensive makeover, an interior retrim is a good option. It may not fall within the realm of what most would deem as a 'budget' refresh, but in the grand scheme of things, it actually isn't as significant as one would have first thought of.

There are many different upholstery workshops in Singapore, with all different areas of expertise. Some shops have cut their teeth on replicating OEM-style interiors but out of higher quality materials, whilst other service providers can create completely custom panels that far exceed the complexity of stock parts.

A refreshed interior will also make commuting in the new year a much more pleasant experience, especially if you own a COE vehicle with aged (and possiblt filthy!) fabrics in the cabin!

Vinyl wrap

Perhaps the only mod in this list that focuses on the exterior of the vehicle. A vinyl wrap is an inexpensive way of drastically transforming the outlook of your car. Whilst films of old are seemingly repurposed advertising vinyl sheets with a shorter lifespan, automotive vinyl technology has improved by massive leaps and bounds.

PHOTO: Pexels

Not only is the quality significantly better, and thus more durable, you are also able to choose from a wide range of colours and finishes. Some of the higher end wraps claim to have self-healing properties!

But vinyl wraps can not only change the look of your vehicle - they also protect the original paintwork underneath!

Refreshing your car for CNY

Who wouldn't like a new-feeling car for not too much cash? Replacing worn out components can shave years off the perceived age of your vehicle. A new interior and retrofitted technology can improve the quality of your commutes for the new year ahead!

Whilst there are modifications on this list that a gung-ho DIY-er can attempt, there are tweaks that should be best left in the hands of the experts. We have an expansive list of workshop partners that can tackle your CNY car refresh, which you can explore right here!

This article was first published inĀ Motorist.