How to Make Your Used Car Feel New: 5 Parts Upgrades You Should Consider

09 October 2020
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  • Replacing wearables (shocks, struts, tyres, etc.) can breathe new life into an old car.
  • Upgrades to brakes, axles, engine and transmission components are great for a smooth ride and safety. 
  • It’s important to choose genuine OEM replacement parts whenever you are upgrading your vehicle.
  Sometimes, it’s time for a new car entirely. Other times, you might just need to give your used car a little love and help it feel like new again. If your old ride is feeling a little rough, there are definitely some upgrades that you should consider. There are also some things that you can do to keep your car feeling and running like new for longer, such as keeping up with routine maintenance and care.  Regular tune-ups and maintenance required to keep your car at its best include oil changes, new spark plugs, brake pad replacements, and other transmission and engine tune-ups. All of these are necessary to keep a vehicle operating at its best at all times. When properly cared for, even a 10-year-old car could feel newer than a two-year-old car, given the right circumstances.  Beyond routine maintenance, we’ll cover five great upgrades that can make any used car feel like new again. Sure, you can upgrade the sound system or deck out the interior, but there’s more to a car than looks. If you really want that like-new feel, keep reading to find out what upgrades need to be on your project list.  Suspension The suspension in your vehicle takes a beating on a daily basis. Those who drive on bumpy roads or in heavy traffic will see more wear on their suspension than those who stay on motorways or drive in smoother conditions. The suspension includes a number of components, most of which can be replaced or upgraded to improve the quality of your ride. Even the oldest cars can benefit from some of the suspension upgrades and replacements available, including:
  • Shocks and struts
  • Ball joints
  • Control arms
  • Sway bar links
  • Tie rods
All of these components work together to connect the wheels and steering components and provide a smooth ride for the vehicle. If any of them needs repair, a rough ride is almost guaranteed. In fact, some serious issues, such as snapped tie rods, can strand you on the side of the road. Make sure that you inspect suspension parts regularly and replace them as needed.  If you are looking for a way to make your car feel like new, upgrading to new shocks and struts or replacing the sway bar links can make a big difference. Trying to identify a specific issue? Typically, when shocks and struts are bad, they will make you “feel” the bumps of the road more than if they were in good condition. When sway bar links go bad, they can create a rattling and shaking in the front-end suspension while driving. Although an issue like this is rather benign, it can lead to further issues if not corrected. Not to mention the massive improvement in comfort when they are replaced.  Tie rods that are going bad may create noise or shaking in the suspension near the wheels. It's usually felt more in the tyres and will play to one side or another depending on which one is going bad. With ball joints and control arms, drivers will typically notice a looseness in their steering and control, which can often be corrected with maintenance or an OEM replacement.  Brakes The brake pads on a vehicle, and most components of the braking system, in fact, are classified as what are known as “wearables”. Essentially, this just means that over time, they will need to be replaced as a part of routine operation and maintenance that comes with the vehicle. Aside from replacing brake pads, your car may also require new callipers, rotors, or even new brake lines. Cars with drum brakes could benefit from a drum replacement in the same way.  Callipers and rotors aren’t going to need to be replaced as often as brake pads, but if your car is riding rough or in need of a refresher, consider replacing the entire brake system with a genuine OEM upgrade. Besides offering a fresh new feeling in your ride, having a new brake system can also enhance the safety of your car. At a minimum, follow the manufacturer-recommended brake maintenance guidelines.  Wheels and Tyres The wheels and tyres on your vehicle are perhaps one of the most used parts of your vehicle. They take a lot of wear and tear and are responsible for carrying the weight of the vehicle while in transit. Tyre replacements are part of routine vehicle maintenance as the treads wear down over time, but few people think about wheel replacements or tyre upgrades to get that like-new feel.  The wheels of your car can take a lot of bumps and other wear. Over time, they can become worn, dented and damaged as a result. Wheels that aren’t in good condition are going to cause a rough ride, even if the tyres are in great shape. If you’ve got new tyres and still aren’t getting the smoothest ride, give your wheels a look and consider replacing them to breathe new life into that old car.  Rubber Seals and Gaskets Rubber is not impermeable. Over time and with use, it will break down and could become damaged, or even completely fall off. There are rubber seals all over your car’s exterior and within the engine. Replacing the most used ones will help systems operate more efficiently, reduce rattling noises, and ensure that the car is properly sealed in all of the important places.  For better heating and cooling, better engine operation and more, consider taking a look around at the various seals and gaskets on and in your car. If you notice worn seals, of course, those should be replaced immediately.  Catalytic Converters and Exhaust Systems Over time, the exhaust system in your car can become clogged and worn with use, which may result in it working less efficiently. This type of work is more advanced than many upgrades, but it can really do wonders for your vehicle. Think about all the fluids and chemicals in your vehicle. Now, think about all the chemicals and pollutants in the air. All of these elements filter into your vehicle and out through the exhaust system. Depending on the mileage of your car, the exhaust could be in need of a little TLC.  Catalytic converters that are clogged not only result in lower fuel economy and reduced efficiency, but they can lead to carbon monoxide exposure in severe cases. While many industry blogs and performance companies discuss just removing the converter entirely, it is far better for the life of your vehicle (and the environment) if you replace it with a new one instead. If you live somewhere that requires emissions testing, it will be easy to keep updated with the efficiency and operation of your converter and other exhaust components.  If you aren’t required to get any kind of emissions inspection, you may have to inspect the system yourself from time to time. Check for burnt out pipes, broken clamps that could be the source of rattling and other issues with the entire system. You can replace a number of components in the exhaust, but catalytic converters and mufflers are the most common culprits of rough operation due to age.  How to Choose the Best Upgrades Unless you’re wealthy and have a lot of free time, it’s not likely that you’re going to make all these upgrades at once. What you can do, however, is compare the different options and see what benefits they have to offer. Of course, if you have a system that needs a little more attention, put your focus there first. Otherwise, it’s all about figuring out which upgrades will give you the “new car feel” that you’re going for.  Whenever you’re researching parts for replacements, make sure that you are only looking at genuine OEM replacement parts. There are thousands of aftermarket parts and counterfeit parts on the market, which both have their own issues and concerns. Even if you’re looking to upgrade, many manufacturers now offer their own OEM compatible upgraded components that are better than factory features and parts.  The Bottom Line It doesn’t take much to make your old car run like new again. If you’ve already washed her up and given her a good interior cleaning, but still feel like something is missing, consider the options discussed here to make improvements and keep your car in like-new condition for longer. Figure out which options are going to offer the most benefits for your vehicle based on its condition and potential issues that you may be experiencing.  For all your genuine OEM replacement part needs, count on Autofixa. We have a huge selection of genuine factory parts for a variety of vehicles, and years of industry experience to help you ensure that you get exactly what you need. Contact us today to learn more or get started on your next project with genuine OEM parts.

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