How to Make A Used Car Feel Brand New for Less Than R20k

You can make your used car seem brand new with these tips.


How to Make Your Used Car Seem Brand New for Less than R20k

This might sound strange coming from a company that specialises in selling cars, but you don’t always need to buy a fresh-off-the-lot car to get the most out of your driving experience. Buying a new car is an exhilarating and proud feeling, but unless you can comfortably afford it without taking out a second payment on your house, it’s not the best financial decision.

I write about, review and create content about cars every day, and one of the dangers of the job is wanting to own each and every new model that captures my interest. Let’s take my 1.4 Hyundai i20 Fluid as an example for this article. The exact same model (2014) with similar mileage (85k) is available for sale for R75k. If I decided to buy the new i20 Hyundai Motion 1.4, it would set me back a lovely R280k. Needless to say, it’s not a split-second decision I should be making. 

Of course, the new i20 is absolutely stunning and comes with an array of fun, exciting features and specifications. However, I’ve owned my car for less than two years and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – other than the fact that I can’t help comparing it to newer and more exciting models. Does that mean that I need to buy the new i20?

I’ve put together a rough guide of how I can improve my car for less than R20k and still feel like I’ve driven away in a brand-new car.


Keep It Pristine: R1600

A clean car is a happy car. You might be dreaming of that new car smell, but you don’t need to pay a fortune to get it. You can keep your car looking and smelling fresh by making sure that you don’t eat or drink in it. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to remove any and all rubbish as soon as you get out of your car. Clean spills and crumbs as soon as possible and wipe down sticky surfaces.

You can also put the lustre back into your car’s look by investing in a comprehensive valet service or car detailing. Your car will look as if it just rolled off of the lot and smell even better. Take a look at the paint correction shown below to see one of the outcomes of detailing your car.  A comprehensive valet service from R650. You could also take your paint job to the next level by having them glaze it for R950 – this will also take care of those pesky scratches that mar your otherwise great car’s look. Take a look at Top Shine Car Wash’s valet prices below for more information.

Top Shine Car Wash Valet and Glazing Pricing 


No Inferior Interiors: R8 797

If you’re bored of your current upholstery and trimming, you can change it. Granted, these changes won’t be as affordable as the others we mention, but everything combined will still be much less than buying a brand-new car! You could go from worn and torn fabric seats to supple, smooth leather for less than R10 000. To re-upholster my 5-seater car with leather (something I’ve wanted for years), it would cost me R8 797 (for leather and vinyl) if I work with the lovely team over at LeatherBoyz. Not only would leather be easier to clean, it would also give me that luxurious feel that I’ve always wanted.  


Faded headlights: Min R34

You know what we mean – those yellowed, faded headlights are an eyesore no matter how beautifully clean the rest of your car looks. You can take your car in to have your headlights restored (by using a car detailing service as we listed above) or you could do it yourself if you feel confident enough in your own skills. One of the most comprehensive videos we’ve found on the subject is ChrisFix’s guide to headlight restoration. His toothpaste technique, if you choose to do it yourself, will set you back a whole R34 (if you use two tubes).

 Chips, Dents and Scratches: Costs may differ

Those smalls dents and chips make a big difference when you forget to fix them. Walk around your car and make a note of each and every flaw, scratch and dent that you would like to fix, and let your local car detailers/auto repair shop take care of it. It will cost you much less than a new car and by doing this regularly, you’ll be saving yourself time, money and effort to completely restore your car if you ever decide to sell it.

 New Technology: R4000 – R6000

You don’t need a new car to have the latest technology. Sure, adding a Bluetooth sound system to a classic Corvette isn’t necessarily what we suggest you go for, but you can definitely upgrade your car’s sound, tech and handling without replacing it. Keep in mind that these additions won’t always increase the value of your car if you choose to sell it again one day. For the right buyer, your new tech could be a blessing, but for others, it might not. Many buyers might want to steer clear of a car that has so many modifications that could lead to problems with the electronics and performance of the car later on. So, apply these changes at your own discretion! We also recommend, unless the product states otherwise, that you have a professional mechanic install these products.

Some of the things you could add (or upgrade) in your car that will make it feel brand new are:
  •         A quality sound system – R1999 (Radio) + R1800 (Speakers)
  •         Parking sensors – R270
  •         Keyless ignition – Prices Vary

Read: Do car mods affect the resale value?

Gadgets: Costs depend on individual preference

You could always just invest in some good ol’ gadgets. Part of the appeal of a brand-new car is exploring all of the new odds and ends that your previous car never had. Maybe it’s a sunglasses holder or a sunroof or a touch-screen infotainment system. Check out your car brand’s online website to see which accessories you could add to your car to put the fun back into your drive.

Let us know how you’ve modified your car. Would you buy a car that’s been modified or not? We want to hear from you, so feel free to send a message or leave a comment below.

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