5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Car Feeling Like New (So You’ll Stop Wanting a New One)

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Confession. I want a new car.

Sometimes that comes in the form of wanting a brand-spanking-new vehicle without any miles on it. 

Other times I want to simply upgrade to a newer used vehicle.

My car is a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu. I bought it brand new (yes, you’re allowed to do that) and it still runs great and looks decent despite the few problems we are starting to have with it.

So why the heck am I desiring a new or “new to me” car?!

I literally ask myself that every time the desire comes up.

The answer is one four-syllable word.


There is some really cool tech on the new car scene these days. Tech that my car wouldn’t even know what to do with.

But that isn’t all.

There are some really great looking new cars on the market.

I’m also dreading the day when my car starts to break down and I have to put some real money into it—something that is coming sooner rather than later.

Aside from about $1200 worth of work to my wife’s car in 2019, , our cars have been pretty good to us. It makes me thankful to be able to have money to set aside for repairs.

Related: Unexpected Expenses: 6 Things to Plan for and How

The more I think about wanting a new car, the more I think about how I don’t want a new car payment. 

I think that’s the dream for everyone, right?

We’ll take the new car but say “no thanks!” to that new car payment. 

And rightfully so! New cars are expensive! Even used cars are expensive unless you get an old beater.

5 Things You Can Do to Cure the Need for a New Car

So with all of this thought about wanting a new car minus the new car payment came some great ideas that I’m currently going through to help relieve my desire for a new car.

I’m confident you’ll find these useful.

Here are 5 things you can do to keep yourself from wanting a new car—all of which are cheaper than buying a new car.

1. Wash Your Car Consistently

Do you know how many times I’ve washed my car since I got it in October 2009?

Probably three times. Maybe four. That’s. It.

I’m lucky that my car isn’t a rusty bucket of bolts right now.

More than that, though, my car looks dull and lifeless on the outside because of not taking care of washing it.

Washing your car consistently will help to maintain the paint and help prevent rust.

It’ll also help make it look beautiful and shiny like the day it came off the new car lot.

The best way to do this is to go somewhere that uses a touchless wash system. That way there are no brushes to scratch your car.

Every six months you can also splurge and get someone to hand wash and wax it as well.

The wax is what gives a new vehicle that shiny, mirror-like appearance. So if you want to keep your car looking like new, you’ll want to get this done every once in a while.

You can also buy wax and do it yourself to save even more money.

2. Detail Your Car Every Couple of Years

For most of us who drive, we spend all our time inside the car. 

If you get into a messy car every day, it’s going to look old to you and you’re going to desire a new one. 

Detailing will make the inside of your car like new. When you sit inside, you’ll be treated to a vehicle that looks like it did when you first bought it. 

Detailing also extends to the outside of the vehicle. Like washing your car consistently, getting your car detailed will extend the life of the body.

Detailing usually involves cleaning every last inch of the car so it looks like new again. It’ll prevent rust in places you didn’t even know your car had.

Detailing can get pretty expensive depending on where you go, but a package from $100 to $300 should be good for giving you that new car look.

3. Maintain Your Car

Did you know that there is a maintenance guide in the back of your car’s manual? Part of it looks like this.

Following your maintenance guide ensures that your car keeps running great even after 100,000 miles. 

Also, make sure you’re doing regular oil changes. A good friend of mine is a mechanic and he swears by regular oil changes. 

If you have a vehicle 20 years or older, you’ll want to change your oil every 3,000 miles. 

But according to cars.com, every automaker they spoke with advised that you can go at least 7,500 miles before needing an oil change.

The point is to get it done regularly and not wait years to do it (yes, people do that).

Maintaining your car will also keep it sounding new and running quietly as well. 

There’s nothing that will make you want a new car more than turning it on and being treated to a loud muffler or other noises.

It makes it hard to hear your kids talking in the back seat too. 😉

4. Install Some New Tech

My wife and I both have vehicles that come stock with pretty standard radios.

No screen. Only a cd player. Thankfully, an aux jack for connecting your phone or MP3 player.

That’s not what most cars come with nowadays.

Now there’s Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, touch screens, backup cameras, and other tech that comes standard with a ton of different cars.

But did you know you can add some of that stuff to our vehicle?

My wife just saved up for a new radio and got one with Apple CarPlay (we bought this one).

It is the coolest thing! It makes her car feel newer because it has technology that new vehicles have.

There are also options to add on a backup camera in the future since there’s a nice big touch screen in her new radio. 

If there is some sort of tech that you like in newer cars, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to add that on as aftermarket. 

Look into it to feel like you’re driving a new car!

5. Take Care of Vehicle Issues Right Away

The last thing you can do to keep your current vehicle feeling like new is to take care of anything that might happen to it right away.

If there is something wrong with your car, get it fixed right away. 

My wife’s car has had an exhaust leak for a couple of years. It’s loud and annoying.

I am just now getting ready to take it in and get fixed. 

Do you think her car felt like new the past couple of years? Nope!

It’s also starting to get worse. If I had taken it in right away, I wouldn’t be having this problem right now.

If your car gets dented, take it into a body shop right away.

Take it to a mechanic right away when things aren’t going well with the engine.

If your car pulls to the left or right when the steering wheel is straight, take it in to get the alignment fixed right away. It’ll save your tires as well.

Speaking of tires…

If your tires are low, fill them with air. I had to replace a tire after just a year of having it because I was driving on it with too little air.

Don’t be like me!

Take care of things right away, and there is a much better chance your car will stay feeling like new for longer.

It’ll save you from more going wrong with your car and having a bigger repair bill. And it’ll feel like new.



According to USA Today, January of 2019 saw American car buyers paying an average of $551 per month for 69 months for a brand new car.

I am definitely not saying that you should never by a new car. If you value it, then go for it.

But imagine what you could do with $523 a month if you are able to stretch out your current vehicle.

Use the tips above to breathe a little life into your old car, make it feel new, and keep yourself from being tempted to buy a new car.

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Hey! I'm Tim.

I’m a budgeting and personal finance expert, author, and Certified Financial Coach. My mission is to not only teach you money principles, but to teach you how to mold them to fit who you are and build the life you want. I don’t like typical money advice. I’ve tried to fit into a mold by using typical money advice and I had less control of my money and went further into unnecessary debt. Now, I live to teach others how to break the mold in their own lives and find their version of financial freedom. Read more about me.

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