Love Your Car With Products Under $100
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reignite your love for your favourite wheels and get ready to drive off into the sunset.
So we put together a list of 17 ways you can spruce up your ride for a better driving experience.
All these options are under $100 so you won’t have to break the bank!
Our 17 Favourite Car Care Tips & Products
Getting your car back into top condition definitely doesn't have to cost the earth. Read on to find out how you can use household items to get that fresh feeling back before your next drive.
You can use this as a chance to get involved with your local community too.
1. ‘Wash me’
Most Aussies find this request written in the dust on the back of their car at some point!
Even if you live in the city, your car will eventually cry out for a good wash.
A car wash kit won’t set you back by much, then you’ve just got to put in a little elbow grease to get the job done.
You can find plant-based car washes that won’t kill your lawn at your local auto store, or search this map to find environmentally friendly car washes.
DIY Car Wash
If you do a bit of country driving, your front bumper will probably be covered in bugs and tar, which just won’t budge using soap and water.
Look for a heavy duty remover like Turtle wax to get your front bumper properly clean.
Once your car is squeaky clean, make the shine last longer with a good car polish. The best brands only need to be applied annually, so read the label when you choose your product.
Support Your Local Community Fundraiser!
If you don't want to get covered in suds and grime, find a local community organisation who's running a car wash fundraiser and get behind them.
What's better than having someone else do the dirty work, while kicking back with a latte, knowing your money is going to a great cause?
If you're lucky enough to live in Brisbane, check out the Number 29 annual car wash to raise money for a community youth support program Jellybeans.
The easiest way to find the next community car wash near you is to search for 'car wash event' on Facebook.
Here's what I found near me in Adelaide:
- Car Wash for Childhood Cancer
Get behind your local footy players and enjoy a BBQ plus get your car freshened up!
Reap the benefits of car care
Your car will really love getting a thorough clean, plus you’ll be increasing the resale value by protecting it’s paint and interior too.
2. Headlight Restoration
Over time headlights become cloudy with use.
It’s pretty easy to fix though.
There's lots of different options for cleaning murky headlights. You can grab a headlight restoration kit from your local auto store, or try on of the innovative ideas that we've found on Pinterest.
Toothpaste is one popular household product that can help bring the shine back to your car's lights. Let us know what you've tried!
Your car manual will have instructions on how to remove the headlight covers.
You’ll love how much brighter your lights are afterwards!
3. Check the Tyre Pressure
Having the correct tyre pressure makes a huge difference to the handling of your car.
Simple 4 Step Tyre Pressure Check
- Check our car manual to find the correct pressure is.
- Remove the valve from the tyre and check pressure PSI using the tyre pressure gauge.
- If the pressure is low, inflate the tyre. You can set the correct pressure on the gauge. It will beep when you reach the correct PSI.
- Once you're done, remember to replace the valve caps.
You can buy your own gauge, or use the one at your local petrol station.
When all your tyres are inflated to the same level, you’re in for a much smoother ride.
4. Jumper Leads or Road-side Assist?
With your own set of jumper leads you won’t have to rely on the goodwill and preparedness of strangers to get started if your battery runs flat.
As an extra bonus, you’ll be able to come to the rescue of others with a flat battery too.
According to the NRMA, you want to be careful using jumper leads on newer cars though. With huge developments in car technology in the last 10 years, you could cause expensive damage to a new car.
Read this article to find out more.
To be sure, use jumper leads on your car if it's a pre-2010 model. If it's newer, you'd be better off investing in roadside assistance. For $90 a year, it's a lot cheaper than the damage you could if you harm your car's computer systems.
5. Reversing Camera
Stay accident free by adding a reversing camera so you can see what’s behind you.
Photo: Flickr/Josh McConnell
This is a great way to avoid running into low objects or the neighbors cat. Reversing cameras are inexpensive at stores like JB HiFi.
6. Get Portable Vacuum for Your Garage
Getting your household vacuum out into the shed to vacuum the car can be quite a chore. With a small portable vacuum, it’s much easier to navigate the tight spaces in your car.
This is a great investment if you have kids or you live near the beach - nothing is worse than constantly having sand or bits of sweets through the car.
With a portable vacuum it'll be so much easier to vacuum up regularly.
7. Car Detailing
This sounds like a pretty fancy term, but it really just means ‘give your car a clean inside’!
It’s the little steps of attention to detail that show you really care.
For example, cleaning and treating the plastic interior, and making the windows shine. Even cleaning inside the door jambs and protecting the trim.
A full detail doesn’t need doing too often, but your car will glow afterwards when you do put the time in.
8. Car Cover
You’ve cleaned and waxed your car, but how do you make all your hard work last?
A car cover will save you time and energy on your next car washing session, and keep your vehicle in mint condition.
Photo: Flickr/Paul Keller
Hopefully you'll take better care of your car than this Fiat 133 driver, like keeping your tyre pressure high (see item 3 above), but you have to appreciate the effort!
9. Install a Dash cam
Let the facts speak for themselves in the event of a collision.
Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular and affordable. You might get a better deal at a hifi store or online if you shop around a little.
For a more in depth look at installing a dash cam on your car, review site Choice provides tips for buying a dash cam.
You can find review of different models and get an idea of what you can expect to get from a standard camera.
10. Seat covers and floor mats
Depending on how you use your car, there’s lots of options here.
You can go for super practical rubber mats that’ll contain the mud and dirt, protecting your carpets.
Or you might opt for something plush like a quilted floor mat for an extra touch of luxury.
For seat covers, if you're wanting to buy local, there's an Etsy store based in Sydney where you can buy personalised or custom made covers, or choose from their range.
It’s a cheap way to update your car and even add a little touch of flair.
11. Bluetooth head unit
Having good music while you drive is just as important as fuel and inflated tyres.
With a bluetooth head unit you’ll be able to stream your favourite tunes without the interference of wires, plus it allows you to make hands free calls and avoid potentially expensive fines if you touch your mobile phone while driving.
Buy a device from your local retail store, or check out this Kickstarter campaign for a 'Dashbot'.
This neat device allows you to keep your phone in your pocket but still play music, get directions, and even provide engine diagnostics with the expansion pack option.
For the privacy conscious it’s a great option as the manufacturer doesn’t collect data on your location or save recordings.
12. Top up or change your engine oil
Replace and top up the engine oil regularly to keep all your car’s major components moving smoothly.
This is the one single step you can take that will help the engine last longer and run more smoothly.
Your car’s owner manual will tell you what type and how much oil you need. Always check the oil before you start the car to get a correct reading, when the car is cool.
It’s really easy to do.
How to check your oil level
- To check the oil level, open the bonnet, find the oil cap and pull out the oil dipstick.
- Wipe it clean with a paper towel, then dip it back into the oil sump.
- When you pull it out the oil level should be between the markings at the bottom of the dipstick.
- If it’s low, add some oil to the tank, and you’re good to go.
Your car will love you back much more if you do this simple check once a month.
13. Replace Windscreen Wiper Blades
As the wiper blades get older they become brittle and they’ll start to skip over your windscreen.
New wiper blades will clear your windscreen much better so you can enjoy driving in the rain again. Hopefully you'll remember to change them before they break and you're not caught fixing them in the rain!
Your mechanic may offer to fit windscreen wipers for you when you get your car serviced, but it’s not hard to replace them yourself and save yourself up to $80 dollars.
A cheap sunshade will keep your car a little cooler, as well as protecting the dashboard and steering wheel from cracking.
You can get sunshades for the windscreen, you might also get shades for side car windows.
Check out the personalised shades from Etsy store 123t Ani-mates - we especially love the tortoise customisable shades.
You can choose to express yourself with bright colours and prints, or even get personalised shades made.
Or you can keep it classy with something elegant and simple, the choice is yours!
15. Shampoo seats and carpets
If you happen to have children or furkids, you’ll need to shampoo the seats and carpets a little more often to keep the fabric from getting worn out.
Here’s a quick step by step, fuss-free guide to shampooing your car’s carpets and seats at home.
Remember to do it on a day when you’ve got enough time to let the seats dry before you need to drive again!
If you’ve a leather interior, you can clean your seats using a 3:1 white vinegar solution and a spray bottle. Spray the seats and rub lightly with a damp chamois.
Once clean, apply leather conditioner to keep them in top nick.
You don’t need to do this every time you clean the seats, but once every 3 months will protect the leather from wear and tear.
16. Glass should be invisible
You can just use ordinary Windex to clean your car windows, with newspaper or paper towel to wipe them down and buff them to an invisible shine.
Or for some really unique approaches, this Reader's Digest article suggests that items from your kitchen, like cola, or even vodka, might come in handy.
You can even try hair conditioner to get extra shine. Who knew?
Being able to clearly see where you are going is really important, and your passengers will appreciate a clear view too.
17. Buy a Book to Guide You
Are you getting excited about how easy it's going to be to look after your car?
If you're keen to learn more about owning your car, you might grab a book on car ownership.
Whether you go for something retro that can double as a neat coffee table placement, check out this retro, illustrated version of the Practical Australian Motorist.
If you're a lady looking to get car advice that you'll enjoy reading, check out this Garage Girl's Guide to Everything You Need to Know About Your Car.
With so many ways to spruce up your car for under $100, there's really no excuses to make your ride a little bit nicer.
If reading this blog post hasn't recharged your car love, maybe it's time to start browsing for something that tickles your fancy better.
With Australia's Best Car Websites you can start a journey of discovery to the car you can really adore, in your own time.