Common car problems, easy car solutions.
The only thing better than a powerful, high-tech solution is a cheap, quick one. Think of how much time you spend in your car and how much better your driving experience could be with these small, easy car hacks.
Fix damage with household objects
We’ve all tried to fix car damage with whatever happened to be lying around. But it turns out, some of them actually work well.
- Clear cloudy headlights. Toothpaste isn’t only for bad breath. Simply buff it onto your headlights using a soft cloth and let it sit for a few minutes. Polish it off with a damp cloth, and your headlights will shine.
- Fix small dents. Suck some kinds of dents out of your car with a toilet plunger. Pour hot water on the dent, and use a clean toilet plunger to push and pull until the dent pops out.
- Protect your paint job. Clear nail polish on shallow scratches can help protect your car from further chipping and rusting. It also temporarily fixes chips in glass.
- Add garage bumpers. A pool noodle can become a decent shock absorber. Fasten on to each side of your garage to prevent hitting or bumping into your car door.
Make your car more comfortable
These quick and inexpensive hacks make organization a breeze and can save you time searching your car for lost items.
- Seatback storage. Hanging plastic shoe racks over the backs of seats gives your car extra pockets.
- DIY phone holder. Thread a rubber band through your car’s air vents, looping it over the top and bottom of your phone to hold it.
- Overhead storage. Fasten a mesh bungee to the ceiling for an instant coat rack and extra storage.
- Trash can. Use sealable plastic cereal containers to store trash, especially if you eat in the car and want to keep food smells from lingering.
- Air fresheners. Keep an open a box of dryer sheets in your car for a cheap, long-lasting deodorizer. Make DIY potpourri by pouring dryer scent beads into a small satchel for a more upscale option.
- Grocery bag corral. Tie a bungee cord around the hook in your car trunk, run it through your grocery bag handles and fasten it to the hook on the other side. It keeps your bags upright and your food safe on the drive home.
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Improve your ride
Eliminate mild annoyances you might encounter while driving.
- Remove old stickers. Easily eliminate bumper stickers and old parking decals warm water and newspaper. Soak the newspaper, put it over the sticker and let it sit. The water gradually soaks in, helping the sticker to practically fall off by itself.
- Cool your car quickly. Pump out hot air more quickly by opening one window, blasting the AC and rapidly opening and closing the opposite side door. It speeds up the cool-down process and can reduce the temperature by at least 10 degrees.
- Air up your tires. Ensure an optimal ride by pumping up your tires to between 30 to 35 psi, depending on your car. Many gas stations offer free air, so make good use of it.
- Don’t try to beat traffic. Switching lanes generally only helps you save a few seconds on your trip. It also considerably increases your chances of an accident.
Protect your rental car deposit
The first step to an enjoyable rental car experience is carefully reading your contract to understand its terms. After that, you’ve got a few hacks for easy travels.
- Photograph your rental. Give your car a once over before driving away, and take clear photos from all angles to account for every nick and scratch.
- Look for the fuel gauge arrow. The arrow on the fuel gauge shows you which side to fill up on before you even pull into the gas station.
Optimize your driving
Don’t underestimate the power of technology when driving from A to B.
- Use the GPS. If you’re not 100% sure how to get somewhere, save time and fuel by using the GPS. Apps like Waze give you a heads-up when there’s a wreck, delay or speed trap.
- Get apps for your watch. If you wear a smart watch, you can download apps that help you navigate while driving without glancing at your phone.
- Save your parking spot. Drop a pin on your phone’s map immediately after you park so you can easily find your car when it’s time to leave.
- Think twice about hustling with a rideshare. If you’re considering driving for Uber or Lyft, crunch the numbers against your expenses to learn whether it’s a good use of your time.
The next time you find yourself complaining about your ride, see if a DIY quick fix can make your drive easier before splurging on expensive solutions.