Owning a car isn’t supposed to be difficult. But sometimes, car ownership can be a real stress. That’s why it’s important to learn from drivers more experienced than yourself. These tips and tricks will ensure that you know how to handle your vehicle like the back of your hand. While some of these hacks are strange, others are actually quite obvious. The good news is that they are all effective. You’ll never know unless you try, right?
49. Fix scratches with nail polish
We can bet you that your car isn’t immune to scratches. Needless to say, these things are just part of being a car owner. You can try to prevent them as much as you can, but those efforts can do so much. This is why you need to look for good solutions to this irritating predicament. Touch-up paint definitely still works best. However, for those of us who are trying to save, try clear nail polish. It helps fill in scratches. Nail polish also covers up exposed metal to avoid rust.
48. Clean your engine with soap and water
Before anything else, please remember that a spotless engine is much easier to service. So you really have to clean it often. For the best results, use water mixed with a little dishwasher detergent. You may use a degreaser, as well. Be sure to cover all the sensitive areas, including, battery, air intake, and distributor with plastic bags first. Scrub and rinse the engine with a soft rag afterward. Remove the plastic bags when you’ve cleaned all the surfaces.
47. Remove dents with dry ice
Whether we are actively conscious of them or not, dents can be pretty tricky to navigate. Once you see a dent in your vehicle, you are more than likely never going to stop thinking about it. You’re going to ask yourself how, where, and why. Just know that the problem can be solved by using dry ice to help pop the dents out. You can get some at your local grocery store. It’s that easy. Don’t forget to pick the ice up with gloves. You don’t want to hurt your skin.
46. Unlock your car with shoelaces
Listen, if you find yourself in a situation where you lock yourself out of your car, you shouldn’t worry too much. It can be a little embarrassing to admit, but these things happen all the time. Your shoelaces can help you out during this situation. Tie a loop in a shoelace large enough to wrap around the door lock. Move it until the loop fits the lock. Just lasso it, and you now have an unlocked door. Of course, this only works for vehicles with upper lock mechanisms.
45. De-ice locks with hand sanitizer
One of the most common and annoying problems for car owners comes during the winter season. Car locks can easily ice over this chilly period and it definitely can be frustrating. One great way to combat this is by using waterless hand sanitizer. Squirt some on your key before inserting it in the lock. Why? Well, the same alcohol content that eradicates germs can also melt away the ice in the lock. Do this hack before you start complaining about the weather, okay?
44. Substitute a scented candle for an air freshener
If you are on a tighter budget, air freshers are one of those things that aren’t exactly a priority. But car air fresheners eliminate all unwanted odors and give vehicles that fresh smell. You don’t want your car smelling that bad, do you? For a good alternative, place a scented candle in an unused cup holder during a hot day. Once the candle melts, it slowly releases its fragrance. Put the candle in a glass container to avoid messing up your car’s interior.
43. Improve fuel economy by “hypermiling”
There is nothing wrong with being a little thrifty and careful. Much like coupon crazes, you can save big on fuel economy, as well. You can improve this by doing little things like giving cars in front of you more space. Coast to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes. You can also choose to turn off your engine when you’re stopped for a while. The cruise control option is there for a reason. Use it to maintain your speed.
42. Use a staple remover on tough key rings
Those hard-to-open keyrings are something every driver has dealt with at one point or another. It can be downright frustrating. What if we told you that an easy fix for this is staple removers? These things can come in handy during predicaments like this. You can use them to prop open the keyring, as you slide the key on or off. You basically don’t have to spend anything. Just be sure that you aren’t stabbing yourself in the process, okay?
41. Remember where you parked with smartphone photos
The premise of Dude, Where’s My Car? is something all car owners face every day. It’s funny how fast we can forget where we parked our cars, inside the endless mazes that are parking lots and garages. Nevertheless, there’s a pretty easy solution for this, and it’s in your pocket. Take out your smartphone and snap a few photos of your parking location. Photograph the markers around your car, as well. That way, you can find your vehicle in no time.
40. Lighten your keychain to protect your ignition
Hey, we get it. We all want the coolest keychains we can get. You do have to keep in mind that heavier keychains can weigh your pocket. They can make your pants look a little bulkier, as well. Not to mention, these things can also weigh down your ignition switch, which is bad news. This can cause premature wear and tear. So be sure to keep your keys lean and light to protect the vehicle’s ignition. It’s always the little things!
39. Keep kitty litter on hand for icy roads
So you find yourself stuck on an icy path and don’t know what to do next. Well, this is where your big bag of kitty litter comes in. Yes, you read that right. Kitty litter can help you immensely during this situation. Spread some around the drive wheels of the car for traction. Since most litter is made of either bentonite clay or silica, it can give tires something to hold onto. So starting today, be sure to keep a bag of kitty litter in the trunk!
38. Clean out the mess in your trunk to increase gas mileage
Are you aware that the random stuff in your car might just be costing you money? Yes, the extra pounds of knick-knacks your car carries can reduce your fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an extra 100 pounds can translate into a 2% reduction, which equals to seven cents per gallon. It may sound trivial because seven cents doesn’t seem like too much on paper. But once you add it up, you can easily spend an extra $75 a year if you fill up 20 gallons a week.
37. Clean foggy headlights with toothpaste
After a while, headlights can get oxidized and dirty. You have probably encountered this problem yourselves, as do all drivers. A quick Goggle search will give you all the tips and tricks to get them clear again. One of these is toothpaste, which can help brighten your headlines, too. Just slather a chunk of toothpaste on the headlights and buff it in. Rinse with water and wipe the trouble area clean. Best of all, you cleaned your headlights without breaking the bank.
36. Clear your windshield with a razor blade
From bugs and dirt to sap and more, a lot of unwanted gunk can pop up on your windshield at any given time. You may try using washer fluid to remove all those spots, but it can only do so much. A good alternative to this is scrapping the gunk off with a razor blade. Your windshields will look much better. The only thing you should worry about is the sharpness of the blade. Just make sure you aren’t going to cut yourself or other people.
35. Get a squeegee to defog your windows
It’s highly likely that your windows are going to fog up if you park outdoors. And dealing with them can be such a drag, especially when you’re running a little late for class or work. Wiping them down with tissues is fine, but using a squeegee can help save you time and energy. It’s a much more efficient option than using tissue or cloth, to say the least. That’s why you should always keep a squeegee on the side of your car door.
34. Put your key under your chin to find your car
This is another tip for people who keep losing their cars to complicated parking lots. Of course, looking for them for half an hour or just seems like a lot of wasted time. If your key comes with an unlock button, then you are in luck. When you can’t find your car, place the key fob under your chin. Press the unlock button to get maximum range. Your car is going to pop up soon enough! It’s better than getting lost in the parking lot, that’s for sure.
33. Get a cassette-to-aux-cord device
For those of us who have older car models, we run into a lot of trouble with our cassette players. Apart from its vintage appeal, these things can stand in the way of your music experience. Fortunately, you can find cassette-to-aux devices available in local stores. This way, you can get to listen to your own music. Just put it into the hole for the player and attach the cord to your phone. It is literally that simple. Your car rides will be so much better!
32. Be more efficient with your gas by holding the handle halfway
These days, we need to save as much as we can, especially when it comes to gas. Here’s a tip you should try out the next time you’re out for gas: When filling up gas, make sure to hold the handle halfway. Why? This trick can get you more gas and less air in the tank! This doesn’t only give you more gas, but it can help you drive much smoother. Driving can be a lot easier when the tank has less air in it.
31. This is how you get the heat out
Okay, if you happen to live in a hotter area, chances are your car gets pretty hot inside. Of course, you can always wait for things to get cooler. But there is a better solution for this. Just open the driver-side window all the way down. Then go to the other side and wave the passenger door back and forth. This is the fastest way you are going to get the heat out of vehicles. Leave your window open if you turn on the air. This also pushes the heat out.
30. Keep your takeout hot with seat warmers
After a long day, we all need our comfort food. We’ve all been there. Those pizzas or chicken wings you picked up on your way home might get cold quickly. Once you put them on a plate, you are going to find yourself eating some not-so-fresh chicken. There’s a good hack for this. You can avoid this problem if your vehicle has seat warmers. Just put the takeout on top of the warmer, and you’re good. Say goodbye to those cold slices and wings!
29. Use slime to clean your car
As weird as it may seem, the slime your children are obsessed with can be a win for you, too. If you have a dirty car, put that sticky mess to good use. The slime or good kids usually play with can easily pick up dirt and debris, especially in those hard-to-reach areas. Trust us when we say that this is a far better alternative to using a special cloth. Best of all, that slime or good can be reusable.
28. Roll all four windows on a hot day
Those hot days in summer can be absolutely terrible. It’s something no driver looks forward to. Suffice to say, it can put you in a mood. This isn’t some special trick, but it is important to remember nevertheless. In the event that your AC breaks down and it’s just scorching hot inside, just roll all four windows for some much-needed fresh air. Doing so, instead of only rolling down the two front windows, can get you much better ventilation inside the vehicle.
27. Laundry baskets can help keep your trunk tidy
It’s okay to admit that your trunk is a little cluttered. Most of us have the same problem. Whether it’s extra clothes and shoes or other junk left lying around, these items can fill up a trunk fast. Organize the mess by using large laundry baskets. It’s simple. You should designate a theme for each basket, from groceries to clothes and more. You may do so by color-coding if you please. The space you are going to save is going to shock you.
26. Remove car sticker residue by using a hairdryer
Getting a little eager when getting your first car is normal. Some of us end up wanting some fun decals and stickers for our new baby. Sadly, you might live to regret it somewhere down the line. There’s also a good chance that they can be hard to remove without leaving a sticky residue. Our tip is to apply heat first using a hairdryer. This makes the stickers come off fairly easy. It also won’t leave any smudges on the exterior.
25. Use the “penny test” to see if your tires need changing
So you aren’t sure if you need to change your tires? That’s fine. You can tell you need new tires by looking at the treads of your current ones. This is where the penny test is key. Just put a penny upside down into the tread of the tire. If Lincoln’s forehead still appears, then the treads are too low. If they go too low, then you should definitely change them. Unless they change the portrait of Lincoln on the penny, this trick is pretty effective.
24. Wrap your wiper blades around stockings
Your first instinct when there is rough weather is to turn your windshield wipers to full blast. What other options do you really have when you can’t see the road ahead of you? Sadly, this often leads to your wipers getting worn out, which can then scratch your dashboard. You can avoid this by wrapping the wipers tightly in women’s stockings or even socks. Of course, make sure you can sacrifice a pair first before using them for your wipers.
23. The tank is where the gauge is
Are you sure you really know where your gas tank is on? Well, this can be especially tricky when you have a new car or are driving a friend’s. One easy way to tell where the engine is located is by looking at the gauge on the gas tank on the car’s display. You will see a small arrow that indicates the direction where the tank is. After this, you are never going to park on the wrong side of the gas tank ever again.
22. Rubber bands can make for a good substitute phone stand
If you are really tight on cash and don’t have extra to buy a phone stand, this will help. We aren’t all rich enough to buy those expensive ones at the store, after all. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need them. Hear us out here, okay? Just thread an elastic band through your AC vent and there you go. Secure your phone to the car and you have yourself your own DIY phone stand! It isn’t exactly going to look cool or anything, but it definitely works!
21. Don’t go over the speed limit to reach your destination faster
While speeding through traffic lights can seem like the faster way to reach your destination, it can lead to some serious legal repercussions if you are reckless. Not to mention, this isn’t even the fastest way. Those traffic lights that you see are carefully designed to let you cruise through the most green lights if you are loyal to the speed limit. Yes, you can get to where you want to go much safer and faster by not breaking the law.
20. Park with your windshield facing east
Instead of waiting for the ice to melt off your windshield in the morning, park your car with the windshield facing east. It’s where the sun first rises in the morning, which means that it’s a fast way to let nature do its thing. This small change can save you some precious extra minutes during your mornings. In fact, you can even get a few more minutes of sleep in before going to work. You are going to thank yourself later for doing so.
19. Cereal containers can be good makeshift trashcans
There is never enough space in our pockets and compartments for all the trash we accumulate during our rides. So instead of filling up your car with garbage, you should take a plastic cereal container and put it inside the vehicle. You just have to empty it out and you got yourself your own portable little makeshift trash can. Anything is better than having your litter all over the interior. You don’t want to be that kind of car owner, right?
18. Stockings can help when your timing belt snaps
Stockings save the day once again. They aren’t just for windshields. Stockings can be used in the event that your timing belt snaps, as well. The timing belt is vital to the car engine’s functions. When the belt snaps, park your car, turn it off, and tightly wrap a stocking around the engine pulley. This should buy you some time before you can get to a shop where you can get the belt replaced. Plus, the stockings won’t damage the engine any further.
17. A chewed mintie can stop fuel tank leaks
Minties have this reputation for being that incredibly chewy gum that pulled out people’s fillings. Apparently, it is that sticky, so much so that it can help your car out when the fuel tank is leaking. Put a chewed-up Mintie on top of where the leak is and that should be good enough to hold things together. Of course, you should still take your car to the mechanic. Nevertheless, these candies can hold in gas for roughly several days at best.
16. All cars have manual locks
You may have heard that most new cars don’t have manual locks anymore. This isn’t true. When your electric key is malfunctioning, simply feel under the door handle for a piece of plastic. Under this is where you will find the manual lock. There’s nothing wrong with unlocking your car the old-fashioned way. Of course, our default is to stick to the electric key. But just in case it fails us, at least we have this hack to get us through.
15. Dryer sheets as an air freshener alternative
If you aren’t into scented candles, expensive air fresheners, or spray bottles, then this just might be for you. Keep your car smelling nice and fresh by putting dryer sheets under the seats. This is a safe and hassle-free alternative to air fresheners dangling inside the vehicle. In fact, the sheets’ smell will flow through your car seat, getting rid of all those bad odors. You may also open both of your front windows for maximum freshness! Now, who doesn’t want that?
14. Use the “tennis ball” trick when parking
Parking in your own garage can be a struggle, especially with random storage items lying around. We have a special trick for you. The next time your car is parked in the right place, mark the spot by hanging a tennis ball where the windshield is. So that the next time you park your car, you will avoid bumping into anything. As long as you are strictly following the tennis ball and nothing more, then you are good to go.
13. Your floor mats can give you some much-needed traction
It sometimes feels like a lot of car owners are not the biggest fans of the winter season. The front floor mats in your vehicle are more helpful than you think. Earlier, we’ve discussed how kitty litter can get you out of icy predicaments. But if kitty litter doesn’t sound that appealing to you, go with your front floor mats instead. This is another way to give your vehicle some traction when faced with icy surfaces. Just put them back when you’re done!
12. Avoid scratches with pool noodles
Most of us don’t have spacious garages where our cars can sit comfortably. That’s why it can sometimes take a lot of time and effort for us to park our vehicles without hitting the garage walls. Fortunately, we have the perfect cheat to beat this. Cut a pool noodle in half and stick it to the side of the garage where the door opens. The door will eventually hit against the foam, which prevents any potential scratches from ever happening.
11. Install a garage opener inside the vehicle
Okay, let us preface this by saying that this is arguably the laziest hack we have on the list. Nevertheless, it does make life easier for drivers. If you happen to have some spare time or cash, then you might want to get pushbuttons installed in your car. This will save you the time and hassle of searching for the garage remote every time you arrive. You can either do it yourself or hire someone capable. It’s going to make a big difference.
10. Give Your Dashboard A Shine With a Coffee Filter and Olive Oil
There’s a good chance that your dashboard needs some cleaning by now. It’s one of the first problem areas for car interiors. Junk and filth can quickly add up. You don’t need all those specialized cleaning supplies from the hardware store, okay? All you need is a coffee filter and some olive oil. Apart from the smell of olive oil whilst cleaning, this is a safe trick. Give your dashboard a long rinse once you’re done to eliminate the smell.
9. Use Tape As a Cup Holder
If you have one too many drinks in your car, your cup holders might not be enough. While this is a rare predicament, it is important to know that tape can be a good replacement for cup holders. Stick the tape to the end of your dashboard and use the hanging roll as a DIY cup holder. It isn’t exactly pretty, to say the least. But it is both cheap and practical enough to solve your problems without much hassle. Remember to bring a tape wherever you go!
8. A Laundry Basket And Muffin Tray Can Be A Good Cup Holder
Okay, we get why you are skeptical about the tape, but this trick is much sturdier. If you are on a road trip with family and friends, and they all have their own drinks, you should try putting a cupcake tray inside a laundry basket. You are going to be surprised how well they hold the beverages. Just remember to safely secure and fasten the laundry basket in the back. You don’t want to have to clean up a sea of drinks when you get home, do you?
7. Break The Ice With Vinegar
Earlier, we’ve discussed how hand sanitizers and the power of nature can be great for melting the ice on your car’s windshield. There is a third option that you should consider, and that is vinegar. Mix some vinegar with water in a spray bottle and just spray the areas where you want the ice to melt. The ice will be gone, just like that. It won’t have the most pleasant smell in the world, but it can help clean up your windshields for sure.
6. Add Extra Ceiling Storage With This Hack
A lot of us end up running out of car storage with the millions of things we need to have inside our trunk and glove compartments. If you want to have even more space, then try this hack. Tie some bungee cords to a mesh net and attach it to the four hand-holders in the car. Before you know it, you have yourself your own ceiling storage. It won’t cost you much, as well. Sadly, this isn’t ideal for taller drivers.
5. Shoe Organizers Are Good Backseat Storage Options
By now, you have probably noticed that a lot of these hacks are for storage purposes. Add this to the long list of space-saving options you’ve learned here. Organize the clutter in the back of your car by hanging shoe organizers behind the two front seats with shoelaces. You can keep a lot of stuff there, especially if you have kids who need something to play with. They can also be a good place to store essentials and the like.
4. Use Hooks To Avoid Dropping Groceries
This sounds simple enough, right? While you can put your groceries in the backseat of the car or your trunk, you can’t be sure that they are safe from speed bumps. To be safe, put some hooks on the back of your front car seats to safely secure your grocery bags. Gone are the days of fallen cereal boxes and broken eggs. With this trick, you can relax knowing your groceries can handle any bump.
3. Rice Can Help Defog Your Car
Because of condensation, windshields can fog up easily. You can avoid this by simply filling a cloth bag with some rice. Yes, it sounds weird. But trust us, it works! Just place the bag inside the car on the dashboard. It should absorb the excess water and give you a much clearer view of the road. This is the same principle that applies to putting phones in rice when they get wet. You can microwave the rice afterward to dry out the water collected.
2. Remove Dents With Plungers
Okay, this is one of those tips that you really have to give a chance. We know how it sounds, okay? But there is a good reason why this works for minor dents. These things can easily be repaired with just about any plunger. It is both a convenient and cheap way to get rid of those pesky dents you can’t explain. Try it out yourself if you don’t believe us. All we can say is that it can make a huge difference.
1. Sunshades Can Protect Windshields During Winter
Sunshades can help out during the summer and winter seasons. You can use a sunshade to combat the smoldering heat from the sun. Meanwhile, in the winter, you can do the exact same thing. The only difference is that you’re using the sunshade to battle the cold. Just make sure to put a blanket or plastic tablecloth over the outside of the windshield. It’s an effective way to protect it from the harsh snow. Plus, it keeps the windshield wipers from sticking to the glass.