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How to make a 10-15 year old car feel new on a budget

ok i want to buy and sell cars this summer and im buying my mother a older higher end car so i wanted to know what repairs or parts should i replace or fix to make the car feel like a new car i want something that will yield a big difference

Struts, tires, and an alignment. I always replace all the fluids with an older used car unless I know the maintenance history. And check the life left in the brakes. Other than that, typical maintenance as called out in the owner’s manual and address repairs as they present themselves.

The easy answer . . .

Get the paintless dent guy to do his thing
Get the car professionally detailed in and out
Replace anything and everything that is worn and/or defective

As for your question . . . it’s pretty vague

You don’t mention what kind of car, how many miles, etc.

We don’t even know what problems this THEORETICAL car even has

By the way, I’m glad that you’re buying your mom a car

On the other hand, I think your mom would be better off in a newer Lexus, versus an older Benz

That was just an example

And your wallet will also thank your for buying the Lexus, vesus the Benz

One year our Sheriff’s Department decided to try and keep their cars another year instead of buying new. They only tried it once and decided it was not worth it. They overhauled the engine, transmission, replaces struts, springs, all suspension and front end parts, and a bunch of other stuff. Then after all that, the bodies and frame tend to start to flex and the seat springs start to go and the windshield gets pits in it.

Like Busted said above, tire and struts will give the ride a nice feel. Make sure the A/C works, the seats are in good shape and it looks good.

I might ask what kind of car and how many miles on it?

You also state that you want to buy and sell cars this summer. That can be a very iffy proposition and even more so with no mechanical abilities.

It may also be illegal if you do not have a dealer license and subject you to a fine and/or jail time.

Have the car thoroughly checked out by a competent and reputable shop before making an offer. Have them give you a detailed report of everything they checked, the condition of everything they checked, recommendations, and an overall assessment. The check should include a thorough check of the engine and an assessment of the suspension system.

Then, get everything done that needs doing. We can offer opinions on the recommendations, but if they say “needs brakes”, do it. Safety items are not optional.

Once the vehicle is brought into good roadworthy shape, have it detailed at a professional detailing shop.

Now, think carefully, would your mom really prefer a 10-15 year old “high end car” over a much newer yet comfortable car? You may discover while shopping that a 5 year old Buick is more luxurious, quieter, and rides better than that 15 year old car you were considering. If you could step up to something like a 5 year old Lexus it’d be even better.

Also consider her budget. IMHO you would not be doing mom any favors by buying her a 10-15 year old Mercedes even if she’s financially secure. If she isn’t financially secure, it just might be a serious mistake. There’s an old, true saying. “How do you make a small fortune quickly? Start with a large fortune and buy a used Mercedes.”

A 10 year old Benz would probably be a W203 C-class or a W211 E-class

Both of which were 100% POS cars

Definitely not doing mom . . . or her wallet . . . a favor

What’s your budget for repairs? $50? $500? It could require $2,000 or so to replace tires shocks struts etc.

I don’t know what car we’re talking about.

I don’t know what’s wrong with it.

I don’t know your budget.

I can’t possibly guess as to what should be done without at least knowing those three things.

Struts, yes. New tires, but take the rims to a shop that can straighten a bent rim, so many rims are slightly off axis from having tires dismounted on them and from road hazards.

A new audio system with all the bells and whistles available on new cars, including a large screen that will work with a back up camera and GPS.

If you could take a 10-15 year old car and make it like new on a budget, why would people buy new ones. What are your mechanical skills like? For example struts, timing belts rear main seals, front transmission seals heater cores etc. are inexpensive if you can do them yourself but can cost an arm and a leg to have done because of the labor. What area do you live in? Around here any car that has been driven through our winters is toast. In hot sunny areas, paint and interiors suffer. Have you priced a paint job lately?

It sounds like you are looking at this as a way to a little more income, with little work.
THat may only happen on the best of days and most vehicles that you will buy will need more than cosmetics to make a profit.
At 10-15 years old, many critical parts are close to the point of replacement, and if the previous owner did little to maintain the vehicle…it’s even worse off.
The best maintained vehicle may just need STruts, tie rod ends, rear shocks and exhaust. Plus a lot of elbow grease, rubbing compound and wax.
But what if the owner didn’t ever have the trans maintained, skipped the timing belt change and drove it mostly thru construction sites…up and down the ruts and potholes.
Then your looking at ball joints, rear springs a new trans, and a timing job on top of all that.

It can work if
You can do all the labor yourself.
have a couple of grand to spend on parts.
And you find just the right vehicle that is low miles and well maintained.
You have other vehicles that you can use while you fix up this major project.

When you find one repair…look close…there will be two more repairs close by.


@oldtimer11, he did say ‘feel’ like new, not ‘look’ like new. After all, we’re not magicians.

He is talking about buying and selling 10 - 15 year old “high end” cars for a profit. If they don’t look good they don’t sell for much. I was just trying to point out that each region has its own set of pitfalls and he had better know his market.

According to the original post, he’s hoping to fix up a 10-15 year old “high end” car for his mom. Did I miss something?

“i want to buy and sell cars this summer and im buying my mother a older higher end car…”

I take it he wants to buy, fix up, and sell a few cars. hopefully a higher end car for his mom.
I take it she is driving a rattletrap now, and he’d like her to be driving something better.

Either way he has not chimed in to give any further info…though it’s only been ywo days.