How to make a used car feel like new

Interior and exterior cleaning tips for cars

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Presented by eBay
Car wash
You can't get that new car smell back again but you can buff up the paintwork, polish the wheels and shampoo the upholstery to help return your car to its nearly-new best. We've compiled a list of the most effective products to help give your car a new lease of life.

Shampoo and wax the exterior

Giving your car a good shampoo is a great start and for that you're going to need a decent car shampoo. Don't be tempted to use washing-up liquid, as this can dry out the paint job and have an adverse effect on the entire bodywork too. Shop eBay for some great offers on car shampoo such as Snow Foam With Wax Shampoo – which at £16.99 for 10 litres provides an excellent starting point for your car cleaning mission. It covers the car in a deep foam, making it easier to remove tough stains like sap and tar.

You'll notice the difference if you follow up your wash with a good quality car wax. This will bring the paintwork to a higher shine and offer more protection than shampoo alone. Shield Wax is made by one of the biggest names in the business – Armorall – but is just £9.90 for 500ml on eBay. Whatever brand you choose, if you apply wax with an electric polisher, you'll see a real difference in the exterior of your car.

Polish the wheels and treat the tyres

Before you apply any specialist cleaning products to your car's rims or wheels, hose them down with cold water to remove dirt and brake dust. This is best done before you wash your car to avoid splashing dirt over clean paintwork.

Its lightness and performance have made it one of the most popular choices in rim finish but aluminum alloys are notoriously tricky to clean. If you've been good about wheel rim maintenance, they shouldn't need more than soap and a sponge but if you've allowed the dreaded black stuff (brake dust) to take hold, you'll need something stronger. CarPlan Wonder Wheels Professional Wheel Cleaning Kit is recommended by What Car? and available on eBay from only £8.97 - just what you need to get those rims sparkling again.

As well as rims, a black and shiny set of tyres can really set your car apart from the rest. There are a wide variety of tyre shine brands available on eBay but CarPlan's Tyre Slik can't be beaten on both price (around £13) and effectiveness. Tyre shine will not only make your tyres appear newer, it will also protect them from UV damage, helping them to last longer.

From alloy wheel cleaner to tyre shine, shop it all on eBay's Motor Sales & Events section

Man cleaning car interior
Freshen the interior

Although the outside is what everyone else looks at, it's the inside where you spend most of your driving hours. A car that smells fresh and clean is a much happier place to be in, and knowing that all of the vents are free of dust makes for a more relaxing drive.

A top tip to begin with is to put the car's blowers on full – this sends any dust out of the system and on to the vehicle's floor. Next, give the car a thorough vacuum, removing the mats and remembering to get into the spaces at either sides of the seats. Keeping the mats out, use a carpet upholstery cleaner to spruce up the car's floors. Although you'll cover this back up with the mats, it's a quick and easy way to lift the smell of an older car. You can use upholstery cleaner on the seats too, just make sure to remove any residue afterwards with a clean cloth - shop air fresheners, vacuum cleaners and more on eBay.

There's a great variety of cleaning products designed to make cleaning your car's interior as easy as possible, along with brushes that can really help dislodge any persistent stains.

Shine the windows

A clear view through the windscreen is obviously important. On top of this, cold mornings can highlight a car's streaky windows, which is why making them shine should be an essential part of your car cleaning routine.

For ease and effectiveness, car window wipes offer a hassle-free way to keep windows and windscreen sparkling. You can get as many as 40 wipes in an individual pack, and they're ideal for keeping in the glovebox to make sure your car's windows never look streaky. If your windows are cloudy rather than dirty, invest in some microfibre cloths. They remove that cloudy appearance and leave no dust or fibres across a just-cleaned surface. With a pack of six costing as little as £2.99, they're well worth the money.

Prepare for your MOT service with eBay's unbeatable selection of Parts and Accessories. Shop for bulbs, tyres, fluids and more within eBay's Motor Sales & Events section.