You take pride in your car. You’ve selected a car that suits your personality and fits your lifestyle. You’ve made sure that it’s in good repair and is safe to drive. One thing that rings true, no matter who you are, is that you always wish that your car was a little newer, a little better, and a little more attractive.
You can improve any car to make it look high end. You can take visual cues and stylings and enhance or emphasize them, or add accessories to give the appearance of a luxury car. You can change your car’s stance or wheels to give a sleeker look. You can also jazz up your car’s look simply by pampering it with an extensive detailing.
Here are some tips to follow if you want your car to look high end.
Method 1 of 5: Detail your car extensively
It’s no secret that a clean car with shiny paint looks more expensive. Detail your car top to bottom to make it look like a high end car.
Step 1: Wash your car by hand. When you wash your car by hand, you get more of the stuck-on mess off the paint and glass.
Scrub the whole exterior with a microfiber mitt or cloth and high-quality car wash soap to clean your car the best. Wash deep into the nooks and crannies that automatic or touchless car washes simply don’t get.
Step 2: Wipe the car dry. When you’re done washing your car, wipe off the water droplets with a microfiber cloth or chamois.
Water spots dull your finish and make it look like your car isn’t worth a good job. Keep your microfiber clean and wring it out well to achieve a streak-free clean. Rinse your cloth with clean water when it gets dirty.
Step 3: Polish scratches annually. Those swirl marks from washing your car regularly along with the scratches can be polished out to maintain a fabulous high-end shine.
Use a high-speed power polisher and good-quality compounds to get the best end result. If major scuffs or scratches occur before it’s time to do a full polish, perform a spot polish by hand with compound on a foam applicator.
Make sure your paint is fully cleaned before polishing your paint or you’ll cause more scratches than you’ll remove.
Step 4: Clean your trim. Plastic parts discolor just by being in the elements and need to be cleaned and restored.
Use a restorative plastic treatment to remove the whitened residue and fading that appears on plastic parts.
Method 2 of 5: Install tasteful chrome accents
Chrome has always been an indicator of status and wealth, so adding chrome detail to your car will make it look like your drive a high-end car, even if it isn’t. The key is to use high-quality, tasteful accents.
Step 1: Install chrome door cladding. Install a chrome door spear or cladding ? to ½-way up the doors on the exterior to give a splash of chrome on both sides.
Make sure it is completely straight on both sides or it could make your car look cheap.
Step 2: Have chrome mirror caps installed. Chrome mirror caps help accent your car near eye level.
Step 3: Install chrome grille accents. A prominent, shiny chrome grille will be more visible and more visually appealing than a painted or plastic grille.
Method 3 of 5: Install the darkest legal window tint
There’s something mysterious about dark window tint. When you can’t recognize the person behind the wheel because they are obscured by dark window tint, it suggests the driver is of high importance, which means the car must be high-end, right?
Step 1: Determine the darkest window tint you can legally have. Each state has their own window tint laws, so be sure you know how dark you can go.
Hefty fines can be levied if you exceed the legal depth of window tint, plus you’ll be required to have the window tint removed or replaced.
Step 2: Tint your windows carefully. A professional-looking window tint job will enhance your car’s look greatly.
If you choose to install the window tint yourself, do so carefully. Poorly installed window tint makes you and your car look cheap, not high-end. Find a professional window tint installer who warranties their product and installation for the highest quality job.
Method 4 of 5: Install amazing wheels
When you buy a new car, the fancy wheels go on the luxury cars or the higher trim lines that cost several thousands of dollars more than the entry level cars. For a small price, you can install attractive alloy or chrome wheels to make your car look high-end, even if it isn’t.
Step 1: Decide on a wheel size. Plus-sized wheels draw much more attention because there is more chrome and less tire visible, but that also means you’ll need new tires as well.
If you choose a wheel that is the same size as your original wheels, you can usually reuse the tires on the new wheels to make your money go further.
Step 2: Determine the wheel finish you desire. You can choose a shiny, reflective chrome wheel, a flat metallic alloy look, machined face wheel, or even painted wheels.
Try to match or accent your car’s body paint. Some wheel finishes such as uncoated aluminum and real chrome finishes require more care and maintenance than others. Care for your new wheels so they keep making your car look high-end, not unkempt and dirty.
Method 5 of 5: Keep your car in good repair
If your car is leaking, rattling, or smoking, it doesn’t look high end. A car that functions as it is intended is more attractive.
Step 1: Fix problems that cause noise. Noises can make your car sound old and cheap.
Repair exhaust leaks and replace your muffler if it’s rusted through and loud. Replace squealing belts and noisy idlers and pulley so your car runs quietly. Fix loose suspension parts that squeak, rattle or knock.
Step 2: Repair oil and fluid leaks. If your car leaves an oily spot everywhere it’s parked, it looks like an old car, not the high-end machine you want it to look like.
Step 3: Perform regular vehicle maintenance. You can avoid embarrassing breakdowns if everything is in good working order and properly maintained.
No one wants to be the person with the hood open at the side of the road. Those breakdowns are usually preventable with scheduled maintenance.
Any car can look like a high-end car with the proper care, though sometimes a few accessories or accents will help. Keep your car detailed and in good repair, and most of all, show pride in your car. If you need any repairs or a require a safety inspection, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians make sure your car both looks nice and rides safely.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Make Your Car Look High End and was authored by Jason Unrau.