Clever Car Hacks For The Everyday Driver
Owning a car doesn't have to be a stressful experience. Insurance, maintenance, and other costs can add up and become difficult to manage. Luckily, there are some simple things drivers can do to keep their cars in tip-top shape. Whether you need to store some belongings, keep everything immaculate, or want to avoid normal wear and tear, there are multiple car hacks that can help. Continue reading to learn how to make the most out of your vehicle.
Create Some DIY Car Mats
Car mats can be great for keeping dirt, crumbs, and more off your car floor. Not all cars come with mats and the ones that do can get worn down over time.
Those who are into DIY crafts may be happy to know that car mats are easy to make. If you have some extra carpet scraps laying around or want to pick some up for a couple of dollars, you can cut them out into the shape of car mats.
Keep Laundry Baskets In Your Trunk
Cars can be a great place to store your everyday essentials such as groceries, clothing, and emergency supplies. Keeping all of that stuff in your car can get a bit messy, though.
One way to keep everything tidy is to store some collapsible laundry baskets in your trunk. These fold down to be compact, but when they're open they can fit a ton of stuff in an organized way. People can even sort their laundry baskets by categories such as workout, food, or toys.
How Your Seat Warmers Can Come In Handy
Picking up a great meal from a restaurant can be the highlight of someone's day. However, it can be severely ruined if the food gets cold. There's a way that you can prevent that from ever happening again.
The first thing you'll need is an empty seat in your car. Then, place the takeout food on the seat without anything covering the bottom. Finally, turn on the seat warmer and keep your food hot the whole way home.
Don't Let Your Car's Paint Job Get Ruined
It's only natural for your car to endure some dings or scratches every now and then. Taking it into an auto shop to get a new paint job can be costly and take a while.
There's a cheap hack that can cover the scratch in no time. First, find a nail polish that's the same color as your car. Then, paint over it a couple of times. It won't look brand new, but it's a quick fix that isn't noticeable.
How To Keep That New Car Smell
Cars often get stuffy over time and start producing a musky odor. Pets, children, dirty clothes, and more can leave the car smelling like a barnyard. Instead of buying store-bought car air fresheners, you can make them at home.
All you'll need is a jar with a screw-top and some scented wax. It's important to poke holes at the top of the jar, so the smell can release. The wax will melt after being left in the car for a little while and soon the car will be filled with the scent of your choosing.
Toothpaste Can Clean Headlights
It's crucial that your headlights are as bright as they can be, but they often become dirty without the driver noticing. If they don't come out sparkling at the car wash, there's a way to clean them at home.
Take out some toothpaste and rub it over the entire cover of the headlights. It will need to sit for a little while, so it can soak in. Next, rinse it off with some water and it should remove the foggy glaze. Other home products that work include furniture polish and car wax.
Don't Let Anything Fall Through The Cracks
It can be so frustrating having things fall through the cracks of the car; whether that be the change from a drive-thru, your smartphone, or little pieces of food. There are a few hacks that can stop things from falling down in those hard-to-reach places.
You can either get a pool noodle or foam pipe insulation and wedge them into the gaps between your car seats. If DIY isn't your thing, you can purchase specialized car seat gap fillers.
This Car Hack Only Requires A Rubber Band
Using a phone while driving isn't the smartest idea, but some people need to look at their phone for directions. If you don't have a car mount, there's another way to get your phone standing up on its own.
A rubber band will do the trick. Simply loop it through the air conditioning vent and pull the other half out. Stick the top half of the rubber band around the top of your phone and wrap the bottom half around the bottom of your phone.
Can't Remember Where You Parked?
One of the worst things about parking your car in a crowded parking lot is finding your way back to it. If you're too far away or in a noisy area, you might not hear the sound of it unlocking.
The best thing to do in this scenario is to take photos of the exact area you parked and other things in that general vicinity. Also, if you're in a parking garage take photos of the floor level and space number.
The Perfect Pool Noodle Hack
Pulling the car into the garage can be risky if you're not paying close enough attention. It may be difficult to determine the amount of space you'll get when you open the car doors.
In order to prevent any damaging dings or scratches on your car, you can attach a pool noodle to both sides of your garage or on the side of your car. This gives the car doors a cheap and efficient cushion.
Plungers Can Help With Dents
Cars are bound to get dented. Slamming the door against the garage wall or someone ramming their car door into your car in a tight parking lot can lead to unsightly dents. Fixing the dents can cost a lot of money and make you take the extra time to drive to an auto repair shop.
Instead, grab a plunger and take the dents out yourself. Start by pouring hot water over the dented areas of the car. Then, place the plunger over the dent and pull as hard as you can until the dent disappears.
A Smart Way To Store Trash
The cars that come with built-in trash cans don't usually have the most space. Filling cupholders with trash can get messy with stuff sticking to the bottom.
In order to not leave your car a mess, try using a plastic cereal container. All you'll need to do is line it with a leftover plastic bag and it will hold a decent amount of trash for any car trip. Store them under the car seats, so they won't tip over during the drive.
Check Your Tires In A Snap
It's important to check your tires because they will go through normal wear and tear. Checking the tires doesn't take long and will help you in the long run.
First, grab a coin and turn it upside down with the head facing the ground. Then, place it in between the tread of the tire. If the tread goes past the forehead, then the tires are fine. If you're still able to see the forehead, then it's time to replace them.
How To Keep The Car Cool Without Air Conditioning
It can be brutal taking a long drive in the heat without a working air conditioner. Most people would probably want to do a lot of other things before being stuck in a boiling car.
Some may think the solution is to roll down all the windows, but that won't necessarily keep the heat out. The best thing to do is to only roll down the front two windows. This allows the air to circulate. The hot air will leave the car and the cool air will stay inside.
A Cupholder For The Minimalist
One interior car feature that can get a lot of attention is the cupholder. Unfortunately, some cars either don't have enough of them or the cupholders don't fit the size of the cup.
A simple solution for this won't cost you any money. Simply take one of your tennis shoes off and place it on the ground. Then, you just need to put your cup inside. The weight of the cup will weigh the shoe down, so the drink won't spill.
Don't Pull Too Far Into The Garage
Pulling your car into the garage can be challenging because it's not always easy to tell how much room you have. In order to make sure you never pull in too far again, you'll just need some string and a tennis ball.
Start by parking your car where it needs to be. Then, hang some string from the ceiling with a tennis ball attached at the bottom. The tennis ball should be right at the windshield.
Never Rush While Getting Gas
It can be tempting to try and fill up your tank as fast as possible when you're at the gas station. While it's great to keep the line moving, it can actually be harmful to your car.
Instead, people should pump the gas at about half speed with a relaxed grip on the pump. This is recommended because less air will seep through the tank and you'll be able to fill it with more gas.
Putting A Plastic Bag Over Wing Mirror When Traveling Alone
If you are traveling alone and get out of the car, it is a good idea to tie a plastic bag over the two side mirrors. It might seem silly, but birds have a tendency to fly into or peck the mirrors, causing them to crack or even shatter.
By keeping a few plastic bags in the trunk of the car, you will save yourself some money by not having to replace the glass of the mirrors!
Speeding Is Never The Answer
It's never a good idea to go over the speed limit, especially since it's illegal. Speeding is very damaging to cars. If someone is speeding on the road, it causes their brakes to wear out a lot faster.
Speed limits are there for a reason and they work with traffic lights in order to get people to their destination in a quick and efficient manner. Going the speed limit can also decrease anxiety and road rage.
Coca-Cola Can Clean Your Wheels
It's incredible what Coca-Cola can clean! And yes, car tires and rims are on the list! Use this simple hack to get the layers of dirt and grime off your car tires.
Pour a bottle of regular Coca-Cola (not diet) over your tires and rims. Give it a few minutes to set it. Then wipe your tires and rims down with a rag. It's really that easy.
Prevent Your Sideview Mirror From Freezing
It can be difficult enough to arrive on time with traffic and the rest of the daily grind but having to scrape ice off your car is the pits. Prevent your side view mirrors from freezing with this hack.
Use a ziplock bag and rubber bands or tape to cover your mirror and secure it, once you're parked. This will prevent the condensation sitting on your mirror and causing it to freeze over when the temperature drops.
This Trick Is Great For The Gas Station
There comes a time when you arrive at the gas station and think to yourself about what side the gas gets pumped. Pulling your car in on the wrong side is frustrating and holds up the line. Here's a quick trick that will have you wondering no more.
Most cars have an arrow on either the left or right side of the gas pump icon. The side the arrow is pointing to is the side of your gas tank.
Clean Your Car With Olive Oil
Some people take pride in keeping their car spick and span and there are some household items that can do the job in an instant. While olive oil is mostly used in the kitchen, it's also a great car cleaner.
All you need to do is add a few drops of olive oil to a coffee filter and wipe down the dashboard and other dirty areas of the interior. It may have a funky smell at first, but it works.
WD-40 Will Clean Your Stickers Right Off!
Tired of seeing your 2016 "vote for" sticker on your bumper in 2018? Try using WD-40 to get those pesky stickers off with perfect results. Otherwise, be prepared to peel paint away with the sticker thanks to the adhesive they use.
To make this hack work, just spray the outdated bumper sticker with WD-40 and let it soak in. Be patient, wait, and let the magic happen. Once the miracle solution has soaked through the sticker and its glue, peel it back and smile.
Clean And Replace Your Filters
When your vents are clean but your car still smells, it's time to clean or replace your filters. This is a common sense cleaning hack that’s easy to forget until you get your oil changed. When you get your oil changed, they’ll show you how gross they’ve become to get extra money out of you.
Now that you know, you can clean or replace the filters yourself and use the money you save to buy yourself a nice dinner.
Make Your Own Washer Fluid
If you drive in miserable weather and need to keep your view clean, then you need to start making your own wiper fluid. Rather than take a chance that you have enough before you buy more, simply mix three cups of grain alcohol with four cups of water and two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent.
Throw the mix in your trunk for emergencies and never lose sight of the road in front of you again. We also recommend changing your wipers regularly if you live in an area where you use them a lot. Don't be like the guy above.
Detail On The Go With Q-Tips
We bet you've never thought about using q-tips or other cotton swabs to detail your car. The tiny cotton headed swabs are perfect for creeping into small crevices and picking up gunk. And they come in packs of hundreds!
The best part of q-tips, however, is that they can be stored anywhere. Leave some in your cup holder and side storage compartment for an easy way to detail on the go! It’s the smart thing to do.
Baking Soda Gets Rid Of Lingering Smells
At some point in the ownership of your car, it's going to smell. Unfortunately, you can’t just remove all the fabric and wash it like you would your clothes. You can, however, use baking soda to attack and eliminate those friendship-ending smells.
Dust your seats with baking soda, then let it sit for a while. Patience is key for this one. Baking soda is incredibly absorbent, so don’t be afraid to let it do its job. After a few hours, grab a vacuum, suck up the baking soda, and take a big whiff.
Don't Forget The Toothpaste For Your Headlights
While you're out buying cotton swabs for your car, you might as well buy some toothpaste as well. It’s a great cleaning solution to clear up the fog on your headlights, and it’ll save you money by avoiding the mechanic.
Some mechanics will charge up to $1,000 to clean your lights. A tube of toothpaste will cost you less than $10! It’s easy to do, too; scrub toothpaste on the lens of the light, rinse it off, and dry it. The results will speak for themselves.
Clay Bars Leave Your Car's Body Clean And Shiny
This one made us do a double take, but we promise it's becoming common practice. Apparently, you can use clay to clean-up and shine the body of your car. The reason is that clay works to pick up any gunk on your car’s body.
We looked up how much car clay would cost you, too. The lowest price we could find was $15, which doesn’t sound too bad to us if your car looks fresh off the lot for the first time in years.
Nail Polish Will Save Your Windshield
You never know when a small rock will pop up on the road and crack your windshield. If you don't get the small crack fixed, it will grow and become a real danger to you.
One thing you can do to buy time before getting to an autoshop is to fill the crack with clear nail polish. Once dry, the crack will stop spreading. It won’t make the crack go away, though. You’ll still need to get it fixed, just with less stress.
Magic Erasers Are Magic For Your Interior
This is a great hack if you have leather or vinyl seats in your car. If they're looking extra gross, grab a magic eraser and scrub the gunk away. Watch with pleasure as all the coffee stains and other spills disappear.
We don’t want to make any guarantees, but magic erasers are so powerful, your car might just look brand new. Used more commonly as a household cleaning supply, magic erasers are cheap and can be found at any store.
Vaseline Is Like Magic
Vaseline isn't just for moisturizing dry skin. When your leather or vinyl car seats begin cracking, dab some Vaseline on a cloth and rub it down. It won’t fix the cracks, but it will help prevent further cracking.
It’s great for cold weather too. Tired of waking up on a snowy morning to realize your door seals are frozen shut? Rub some Vaseline on the rubber seals to prevent this annoying problem.
Use A Vacuum To Pick Up Dust From The Floor
Let's say you’ve made it to the point where a paintbrush or a q-tip has successfully removed the dust from your vents. What comes next? Grab a handheld vacuum and get rid of the dust for good!
To kill two birds with one stone, hold a vacuum extension up to the vent when cleaning to avoid extra work. You probably already have a vacuum with extension pieces in your closet, so put them to good use.
Squeegee Your Seats To Remove Dog Hair
This one only applies to pet owners or excessively hairy individuals. If there is noticeable shedding on your seats, a vacuum is useless. What you need is a squeegee and a water bottle.
If you don't believe us, try it yourself. Fill a spray bottle with some water and bring it to your car with a squeegee. Spray the affected area and squeegee the problem away. We promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.
Rustoleum? Have You Ever Tried Soda?
Looking for a healthy way to use soda? Aside from being a tasty and refreshing beverage, the sugar-filled drink is also great for removing rust from cars. It works so well because of how much acid is hiding in your carbonated beverage.
To take advantage of cola's rust-destroying properties, put some in a spray bottle and get to work on the affected part of your vehicle. Afterward, maybe reconsider how much soda is in your daily diet.
Baby Wipes For Windows? Yes!
Apparently, this is a big hack in the military. Always carry a box of baby wipes in your car with you. Not only are they a quick way to clean up accidental messes but they work wonders on your windows!
If you're taking a long drive and your windows are getting caked up, pull over and use a baby wipe. It works just as well as wiper fluid and can be used on every window on your car, not just the windshield.
Try Washing Your Car With Hair Conditioner To Get Extra Shine
Another way to avoid taking your car to an overpriced car detail shop is to wash it yourself with hair conditioner. Hear us out on this one. Buy conditioner with lanolin it and apply it to your vehicle.
Use a circular buffing motion to apply it to your vehicle's body until all you see is shiny paint. Jealous of how shiny your car looks? Take a shower, apply conditioner, and then go out for a night on the town to show off all your shine!
Olive Oil Is A Natural Buffer
Looking for an easy way to make the leather on your dashboard look good as new? It's time to start using olive oil. It doesn’t take a lot and it will shine things back up perfectly. It also lasts a while.
You can use olive oil to help buff your seats as well. Then, with whatever is left over in the bottle, make an Italian feast as a reward. You’ve earned that spicy meatball!
Use Silicon Gel On Air Vents
Earlier we showed you how to clean your air vents with foam brushes and other tools. When you don't have time for multiple tools, trying using silicon gel to cut out the middleman.
By using this gel-like Silly Putty, you’re able to pick up all kinds of gross dust and grime from those hard-to-reach places in your car. You can use the gel for vent, window control buttons, or any similar area that is building up dirt.
Dryer Wipes Will Solve Your Bug Problems
One of the most annoying things about long distance driving is how many "bumper bugs" you pick up along the way. Crushed and crusted into your bumper, we've discovered that using a dryer wipe to clean them off works like a charm.
Take your dryer sheet, damp it with water, and gently rub the bugs away from your bumper. For those bugs that are super stuck on there, you can scratch a little harder, just be careful of your paint job while you do!
Never Doubt The Power Of Compressed Air!
Do you have a can of compressed air sitting near your keyboard to help keep dust out? If you notice your car vents are coughing out a lot of dust, try using the compressed air there, too. It's a great way to blow the problem away!
After blowing the dust away, grab a baby wipe or handheld vacuum for a deeper clean. There’s no reason to give the dust a new address when you can kick it out of town for good.