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Old 28th May 2020, 08:44   #1
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Default Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Just like marriages suffer the 7-year itch, we feel that car ownership suffers from a 5-year itch. Somehow, at or in the whereabouts of the 5-year mark, we start looking for a replacement (car, not spouse). There are many problems with that though.

You lose way too much money

The economy has tanked

BHPians are postponing or cancelling their car purchases

Still, as a community that lives to drive, boredom isn't an option for BHPians. Hence, let's talk about sprucing up our existing rides instead. Listed below are a couple of pointers on how you can make your existing car more fun & interesting. These will make you derive more pleasure from your car, no two sides to it. GTO has been practising this for ages. When he was starting to get bored with his 1st-gen Vtec, he spiced it up. Ditto with the Civic; when it got 6 years old, GTO gave it some mild performance enhancements. His Jeep got a midlife makeover too with new clothes & a brand new engine. The 530d is turning 7 this year & was blessed with a 300 BHP remap.

Do these enhancements cost money? You bet. But that expenditure is a small fraction of what it would take to replace your existing car with a new one. Just to put it in numbers, let's say you own a 5-year old C2 segment sedan that will fetch you 5 lakhs on OLX, and you have your eyes set on a new sedan / crossover for 17 lakhs. The point of this thread is = instead of spending Rs. 12 lakhs on the upgrade, spend anywhere between Rs. 50,000 - 1,50,000 to improve your existing car. The enhanced driving experience will make you hold onto your car for another 3 - 4 years. As a result, you will save that 12-lakh upgrade money. Bonus = No EMIs either. You probably don't need a loan to spend 1.5 lakhs on your existing car, but you most likely do for that extra 12 lakhs on the new car. Invest the saved money & watch it grow!

BHPians, please add to this list with other ways you can think of to rejuvenate your existing car.

A proper detailing session
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-01detailing.jpg

If you haven't detailed your car in a long time, this is easily the best 10 grand you'll spend. A thorough deep cleaning of the interiors and shine on the exteriors from a competent detailer will give your car that new'ish look once again. The cabin will also be a nicer place to spend time in. Think of your old car as a head full of "white hair", and a professional detailing session being the L'Oréal black hair dye.

Better rims & tyres
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-6d618a988f77487e8ddb645a40697795.jpeg

If legs make a model, then wheels make the car. A sick set of alloy wheels will drastically improve the looks of your car. Compare this car to this one and you'll be nodding your head. Superior / fatter tyres will improve your car's handling, and possibly the ride quality (if your OEM tyres are rubbish, which they usually are). Can you believe the hotness of the Vento above? We can't stop drooling.

Upgrade the ICE!
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-7a.jpg

Nothing quite like a good sound system to make every drive enjoyable. You could get aftermarket speakers + damping + amplifier to transform the in-car-entertainment experience. We have seen a world of difference between an OEM system and an after-market one for just Rs. 30,000! Added bonus = damping will improve the overall NVH levels. Just don't go overboard (The Downside of High-End Audio Installs).

ECU Remap
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Remaps are the quickest, easiest & most cost effective way to get 10 - 50 horsepower more from your car. The industry has come a long way and today's remaps not only make your ride faster, but they also give you more usable power. The smile you get when driving your car will change to a wide-open grin!! Don't even think twice about this - just be sure to get a remap from a reputable tuner (lots of reviews on Team-BHP).

Sports Exhaust
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-11freeflow.jpg

Few things in life can compare to the pleasure of listening to the freeflow exhaust of a high-revving petrol. So addicted was GTO to his Vtec & Civic sports exhausts that he says he'll never own a petrol without one. Choose a provider who will let you tune the sound to your preference, and then enjoy downshifting in the tunnels . I got a freeflow exhaust for my Maruti 800 for just Rs. 5,000, while GTO had paid between 15 - 20k for his Hondas.

Suspension Overhaul
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This one is often neglected by owners who don't bother to do anything with the suspension unless it starts leaking or making noises. Not cool. If your car has covered 50,000 km on typically Indian roads, odds are that your suspension is way past its prime. A worn out suspension will result in sloppy handling, high speed behaviour and ride quality. Check your suspension & get it overhauled as required. Your car will feel TIGHT again. If you drive like an enthusiast, you might also consider performance-oriented suspension hardware.

A Comprehensive Service
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Even at a low 60,000 km, you never know what the state of the lubes / filters is in your car. Nothing quite like a comprehensive service & check-up from an expert mechanic (including wheel alignment & balancing) to get your car in the pink of health again. Go ahead & take an appointment. It could noticeably improve the way your car drives.

Modern Touchscreen Head Unit
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A good-looking head unit with a responsive screen, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay and a reversing camera can greatly add to the "feel good" factor. Your car might not have the latest tech, and this is an effortless way to bring it up-to-date. We've been seeing really great HUs for Rs. 20,000 odd.

Body Wrap
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Think of this as a simple change of clothes for your car. Faster and easier than a full paint job. We have a good discussion with pros & cons here. Best part is, it's easily reversible. Costs between Rs. 25,000 - 50,000. The E90 in this picture is a 16-year old design, but hasn't this wrap helped it look more "with the times"?

Luxurious Upholstery
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-10upholstery.jpg

Give the insides a makeover with a custom made interior - you can choose the material, stitching, bolstering + a lot more and get those perfectly fitting seats made for you. After all, that's where you spend your time with the car. There are some outlets doing truly fantastic jobs (search within the forum for recommendations).

Get a body kit
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You could transform the looks of your car with a body kit. Due to the large size of our market, you now get body kits for practically any car (check images here). And it's not like you have to necessarily own a sporty car for a body kit. Here is a handsome one for a humble Corolla too.

Sunroof
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-08sunroof.jpg

Whoever said sunroofs aren't fun in India doesn't know what he is talking about. We absolutely love sunroofs & think you / your family will enjoy one. That said, there is a reason this point is toward the end of the post. Sunroofs cost a lot, while improper installation can lead to water leakage. Tread carefully. Webasto is the most renowned brand (but again, installation quality is everything) and a few carmakers are offering it as a dealer option. Take a look at installation pictures in this thread.

A fresh paint job!
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-paintbooth.jpg

This point is also intentionally kept at the very end because few 5 - 8 year old cars need a full paint job. The quality of factory paint has vastly improved, and today's cars are largely rust-free. Still, if you absolutely must have that "brand new" look for your old car - or have maintained your car poorly - fresh paint is an option. We recommend keeping the same colour so that you can maintain your "factory build quality" (full strip-down not required). If you'd like a different colour, better to go for a wrap instead.
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Old 28th May 2020, 09:07   #2
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

We totally practice what we preach . Examples:

City Vtec: Got a paint "overcoat" (same colour), after-market ICE, rims, custom headers, best-sounding free-flow ever. Extended ownership by about 4 years:
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Jeep: Got a new body & brand new 2.5L Bolero engine from Mahindra. Extended ownership indefinitely:
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Civic: Got a Race Dynamics Power Tune box, 5-spoke rims, Michelin PS2s, free-flow exhaust, K&N Typhoon intake, disco sound system. Extended ownership by just under 3 years. Car was perfect and could have genuinely kept it for longer, but had zero use for it (wouldn't move from its parking spot for weeks together):
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My bro's Jetta: At the 5-year mark, got a 170 BHP remap, Apple CarPlay ICE, grippy Michelin Pilot Sports, front lip + rear spoiler and blackened roof + rims. Extended ownership by at least 3 - 5 years. Is 8 years old today and my bro plans to keep it for another 2 years minimum:
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530d: At the 6-year mark, got 5-spoke rims & a 300 BHP remap to spice things up. Holding onto it till she is at least 10-years old:
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-4.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 28th May 2020 at 09:12.
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Old 28th May 2020, 09:39   #3
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

My Polo GT TSi has completed 4.5 years. I plan to keep it at least 8 years.

There are a few problems that have developed.

1. The buggy HU. I had installed DS-611 from Audiosources. This came with TPMS. But one of the TPMS has failed and the HU has lots of irritating bugs as well.
2. The flip reverse camera is not working. It flips open, but I don't get a video stream on the HU. Could be a failed camera or some lose connection in video signal connector.
3. The car has developed lots of scratches and dings.

Once it completes 5 years, I plan to do the following to spruce up.

1. Install the OE RCD340 from VW. I am done with replicas from AliExpress. Though the OE unit costs 45K, I am going to get this installed for peace of mind.
2. Troubleshoot and fix the reverse camera.
3. Fix all the dents and do a complete repaint and follow it with a proper detailing session.

This should make the car fresh as new and keep it going for another 3 or 4 years.

I want to upgrade this car with a good EV. I think there should be very good EVs available in another 4 years.
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Old 28th May 2020, 09:53   #4
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

There is a way to fall in love with your old car again, without spending a penny - and that is temporary separation. But obviously, this works only if you have a second beater car at home. Let's say you own a Linea and an old Santro. Use the Santro exclusively for a month or two. And then jump back into your primary car, and see if you still have the urge to sell that car.

Of all the rejuvenation tips that involve spending money, music system upgrade offers the best bang for the buck.
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Old 28th May 2020, 09:57   #5
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Out of the list above, the two which work best for me are Alloys and Exhaust. Change these two and the car suddenly becomes a newer car to look and drive.

A lot of people who have used stock exhaust their entire life do not understand the impact of an Exhaust on their driving experience. It changes you from an Alan (from two and half men) to a Vin Diesel (from Fast and Furious)
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Old 28th May 2020, 10:13   #6
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

One thing I have noticed is upgrade (some case upsize) the old OEM tyres to a good quality tyres from reputed brands. Suddenly your noisy car is silent and notice a change in handling of the car.
For example my Safari came with Bridgestone tyres after 5 years changed to Michelin it’s fun to drive.
For my dad’s Honda City after 5 years upsized the OEM tyres and suddenly the car feels planted and handles differently.
It’s a small cost to fall in love with your car again.
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Old 28th May 2020, 10:28   #7
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Along with ICE upgrade, a double layer damping on the doors will make the car silent by a couple of decibels at least. The outside cacophony is reduced to a good extent. You feel calm even when surrounded by chaos. Those long drives on well paved 4 lanes will turn more comfortable with rear seat passengers getting a good sleep as well!
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Old 28th May 2020, 10:29   #8
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Recently, wifey's 6 year old Swift needed a tire change. The car has done only 35000 km, but the tires had started cracking due to age.

Since the past one year or so, I was hinting to her that I wanted to upgrade the car. But finally, I decided to wait a couple more years before doing that (Thank you, GTO for the evergreen thread!).

I got a full service done, all fluids, filters, the works. The car is a base variant and came with wheel caps which were all scratched up over the years. Finally, decided to spend on a new set of wheels along with the tires. Got a good deal on a set of slightly used Swift RS alloys, and upgraded from 175/65R15 to 185/60R16 tires in the process.

Wifey doesn't think much of it, but suddenly, I have a newfound love for the car. I also intend to do a full detailing - inside out - after getting the nicks and dents repaired.

Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-img_7107.jpeg

Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-img_7142.jpeg

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Old 28th May 2020, 11:29   #9
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Been there and done quite a few of that, for both my cars till now because I am one of those who believes that your car can outlive you if you maintain them well and keep giving it the required new lease of life each time you see a need, and proactively!

At times, many will raise eyebrows on the money spent for such rejuvenation exercises but the sheer smile and pleasure you as an owner derive while you see or drive your vehicle thereafter is priceless!!

Latest for me is to damp the Ertiga and improve the ICE set-up. Honestly, even today, the ICE for the Ertiga is not even close to compare with what I have upgraded to in the WagonR more than a decade back that runs of 4 Channel Amp and Component speakers along with a Polk Subwoofer!! The Damping sheets are ready, along with cleaning cans and wiring but exactly when I wanted to order the speakers, lockdown happened and I didn't even attempt to start this. Now, after carefully assessing the free time I may have in coming days, I will initiate this.

On upholstery, I have got a job done twice for the WagonR till now. Once when it was purchased new (2006) and then in 2011. For the Ertiga, although I don't see a reason to change the upholstery for now, I do fantasize a different shade of seats that will surely change the way the interior would look and I am sure that is next on my list.

Servicing and replacement of parts ? Well, I won't take the trouble to explain that all because with almost 2L Km on both the cars, I have spent on such replacement jobs merrily without hesitation.

Last edited by paragsachania : 28th May 2020 at 11:32.
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Old 28th May 2020, 11:31   #10
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

The idea works well.

In my case, I do most of the add on's and mods from the second year of ownership and don't do much until again I am bored with it. In the case of my Figo, I got the exhaust from Red Rooster in the second year and then got Hella lamps fitted soon after. Replaced the music system and tires in the first year along with alloys.

In the 6th year, just a year before I sold the car, I went for wider rubber in the form of MRF ZLo's and that made a world of difference and made the last year of ownership thoroughly enjoyable.

With my present car, a Aspire Sports, I got it remapped in the second year and that's about it. Probably after couple more years, I will go for a downpipe for the exhaust and as well as stickier rubber once the stock tyres wear out.

A picture of my Figo few months before I sold it.
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Old 28th May 2020, 12:01   #11
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

SO SO TRUE.

I have a 2013 GT TSI. In 2019 started looking out for a potential upgrade but wasn't quite satisfied with the offerings in the market around 15-20 L. The only car which actually pulled my heart was the Octavia and the Kodiaq both way above my budget.

In November during its 6th service, wanted to get a few bumps and scratches removed. The service advisor told me of the full-body denting & painting offer. Seemed reasonable that it cost twice as much as I was going to spend on the major repairs . But in this, I would then get rid of all the smaller scratches which were not included in my original to-do list. Once selected, I changed the front number which was torn on the underbody during a bad scrape.

On the mechanical front got new Engine mounts. all suspension bushes etc were relaced a year ago so it was good to go. 80 k spent on rejuvinating the car. I think i will keep this for atleast 3 years from now.
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Old 28th May 2020, 12:24   #12
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

Lovely thread Blackwasp.

I tend to keep my vehicles for a long time, a very long time and I don't tend to wait for a mid-life to upgrade (sigh). I tend to have an instant itch which unfortunately means they end up becoming stubborn family members that I can't get rid off because of the effort (and money) put in to getting it right from day 1.

The oldest is a 1982 bullet that has been been ported/shaved, painted plus many other mods and I don't see any reason to change because it does what I want it to do.
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The 1986 Gypsy my wife just inherited, and is the only one that is mechanically stock, but has some useful storage boxes between the front seats and in the engine compartment. Sentimental value, so can't let it go.
Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money-gypsy-110819.jpg

My 2005 Swift was mechanically modified within the first 1000 km.The engine was ported/shaved, cone filter, second hand OZ rims and tyres, ICE upgrade, better lights, SS end can, decat, essentially to make it more fun to drive which it has. Over time the suspension was stiffened using coil springs from a Diesel swift. This car makes me smile every time I take her out, so see no sense in changing it.
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The oldest, but still a good 6 1/2 years old is the Linea Tjet which again got better lights, ICE, tyres and a remap all within six months of ownership. Over time is got a bigger intercooler/DIY CAI, projector fogs with HID's, and a Gyeon ceramic coating which has made it look better than new. With all the performance mods I really don't see any upgrade that's possible without me robbing a bank.
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Old 28th May 2020, 12:28   #13
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

My Creta is going to touch 5 years next month and I have no plans of selling it for atleast couple of years. Although the car developed few issues and the overall Hyundai experience has been dull, I have always enjoyed driving the car thanks to the brilliant engine.

As for the midlife upgrades, I have been planning a lot of things right from the day I bought the car. Here are some of the things I might do in the future.

1) Ceramic coating - Already done and have put up the details on my thread. Worth it.

2) Headlight upgrade - Haven't really felt the need for an upgrade but will definitely move to HID's in the future (No LEDs for me).

3) Audio upgrade - I have a brand new sub woofer at home but never planned on adding it to the car. More than this, I really want to upgrade the HU. Still, it might not happen soon.

4) Remap - Cars around spoil me. The other cars that I generally drive (Jetta - Petes tuned, uncle's cars and most of the friends have remapped as well). There's definitely an itch.

5) Sun film - I use a basic film and doesn't do a great job. No costly 3M films but might get a better film.

6) Brake upgrade and service - Should have mentioned this as my first point . Am planning to move out from HASS as my friend recommended few workshops where most of his cars are being serviced. Getting the brake upgraded will be my first priority.

Last edited by naveen.raju : 28th May 2020 at 12:30.
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Old 28th May 2020, 13:13   #14
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

I have a few things lined up for my car (on priority):

1. Change tyres at 80,000 kms to Michelin's.

2. Shall be changing all the required bushes in the suspension and in the anti-roll bar too.

3. Hoping for couriers to get delivered from the USA so can swap bulbs and connectors for my Morimoto HID.

4. Get the car properly detailed as it has never been to one since Day 1.

5. Buy a spare set of Brembo pads as the current ones are nearing their life's end.

Not so important (read priority orientated) jobs:

1. Make a full-length exhaust system with SS material (last preference, not a priority).

2. Remap again.

Last edited by Sheel : 28th May 2020 at 21:55. Reason: Removing a deleted post's quote.
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Old 28th May 2020, 13:24   #15
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Default Re: Your car's midlife crisis - How to rejuvenate your existing car and save a lot of money

I agree with the thread and all the posts. How do we spice up the exhaust sound of a diesel engine? I have a duster, I love the ride quality. Car is now 2 years old. I already have OEM android auto Apple head unit. Nice faux leather seat covers. Few stickers on back and front windshield.
All I want now is to make it sound better , just for the thrill of driving it. Not sure what can be done to the diesel exhaust note.
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