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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, February 23, 2024

College 101: Caring for a Car — Inside and Out

I love cars, and I’m pretty handy with them. I have an old car that I’ve been working on since high school, and it runs pretty well, if I may say so myself. However, it’s not the most popular car in the world: my family, my friends, and especially my girlfriend are not fans. They say it’s an eyesore, and I have to admit they’re right. I didn’t do a great job of painting it (yep, I did that myself, too!), and the interior is a disaster. It’s dirty, and it’s ugly, and I know that. However, I’m not keeping this car forever. What’s the big deal? It runs fine, so I’m inclined to just keep it as it is until I sell it, if I can find a way to explain my position to my family, friends, and girlfriend! Any suggestions?

It sounds like you are very talented indeed! Congratulations on getting your car into solid shape--under the hood, at least. Working on cars is a fun hobby, and it is a valuable skill. Your car sounds like it’s one hundred percent serviceable in many important ways.

However, have you considered the possibility that your car’s poor cosmetic condition--and your own insistence on going it alone and ignoring the physical appearance of the vehicle--could hurt you and your vehicle in the long run? You mention the possibility of selling your vehicle, but it’s quite clear that the appearance of the car could make that goal tougher, or cost you in terms of how much you get in exchange for the car you worked so hard on. In the meantime, it’s taking a toll on your personal relationships. On top of all that, we’re talking about a car that should be viewed as a very impressive thing--a big accomplishment on your part! Yet, your own family and friends have trouble seeing past the way the car looks. That’s not all your fault, but it does seem like it’s well within your power to improve the situation, and that doing so is a task that falls within--or at least adjacent to--your interests.

Your car is a valuable asset, and maintaining it means caring for it, both inside and out. Educators automotive & diesel technology college in NY recommend working with trained and certified experts to give your car a thorough check-up. Just because you fixed it up yourself doesn’t mean that it couldn’t benefit from the eyes of a professional. Your expert may remind you that some appearance issues go beyond the cosmetic. Take body rust, for instance. That can be a death sentence for even the best-running car. Pros and shade-tree mechanics alike sometimes call rust “the cancer of cars.”

That’s why you should consider taking another shot at painting your car, or working with experts to tidy up the job you already did, say the detailers who specialize in paint overspray removal. While you’re at it, make sure that dents, dings, and scratches are all fixed. They can be breeding grounds for rust.

Also, it may be time to look into reupholstery for your car’s interior. Or, perhaps a budget solution will do. If you’re dealing with ratty floor mats and torn cushions, new mats and seat covers are a cheap and easy way to make your car look a bit more acceptable.

Don’t forget to keep the car clean, too. It’s more than a cosmetic concern. Regular cleaning and detailing help preserve your car’s looks, which means its value on the used car market is better preserved, too!

We’re not trying to take away from your remarkable accomplishments in restoring this vehicle. Far from it! We recognize that you’ve done a great job of making your car useful. However, if your car is also presentable, you’ll get more recognition from your loved ones, who will be better able to share your love for your vehicle. Plus, you’ll better preserve the value of the car you worked so hard on, meaning you’ll get more for it when and if you choose to sell it.

“Some men take good care of a car; others treat it like one of the family.” - Evan Esar

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