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Car Hacks: These Genius Tips are Huge Lifesavers in a Pinch

Sure, you know how your car works. You’ve never read the manual, but you know where the wiper button is, how to work the AC and the radio, where the hazard lights are, and hopefully how to change a tire in a pinch. What you never knew you needed, though, were these genius yet simple car hacks, which we’re sure you’d never find in a standard auto manual. Everything from minor annoyances to major, lifesaving pinch-fixes, you’ll find in here. Sick of defrosting your windows every morning? We’ve got the solution. Stuck on the side of the road with a broken fan belt? That’s in here, too. Read on to discover these ridiculously useful secrets!

Have you ever used one of these car hacks yourself? Know one we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to SHARE these with those you care about — you never know when they might be needed!

Fix a Dent With a Plunger and Hot Water

Have an unsightly dent in the side of your car? Don’t fret! We all make mistakes, and it’s actually pretty easy to fix: Just boil water in a teapot or saucepan and pour it over the affected area, then take the plunger and pull. If the body isn’t too severely damaged, the dent should come right out, and if not, it should at least look less prominent.

Clean Headlights with Toothpaste

If you have foggy headlights, don’t go running straight to the auto store for some special solution! You may already have something that will fix your problem right at home. Toothpaste works just as well on headlights as it does on teeth, it turns out, because it has mild abrasives in it that are meant to clean enamel. With toothpaste and a little elbow grease, your headlights can be clear as day again!

(Note: This won’t always work. If your headlights are yellowing from the inside, you obviously won’t be able to get at the problem, and it’s time to think about getting replacements.)

Use a Staple Remover to Open Your Keyring

No need to destroy your fingers trying to get that new set of keys onto your tight metal keyring. Just pull apart the end pieces with a staple remover, and slide them right on in! It’s so simple, we bet you’re wondering why you never thought of it.

Shower Caddy in the Trunk

If you’re smart, you keep some emergency supplies for your car in the trunk — things like oil, a funnel, a rag, a flashlight, etc. If you don’t want it rolling all over your trunk, so that it’s in one place when you need it — and so you don’t get anything ELSE you may have in the trunk dirty — consider getting a shower caddy to store all those important items securely.

Prevent Door Dings With a Pool Noodle

Do you always, always, ALWAYS hit your door on the side of your garage when you get out? There’s a simple fix: Just cut a pool noodle in half, and stick it to the wall where the door hits it (the scuff marks should make it easy enough to tell).  You can secure it with bolts or with simple command strips, but either way, your car and your wall will both be safe!

Use a Cereal Bin as a Trash Can

We leave trash all over our cars without thinking about it — but did you know that if you’re not careful, all the smells from that trash can stick to the inside of your car forever? Get yourself a trash can and you won’t have that problem. All you need is one of those small plastic containers that hold cereal. Just line it with a plastic bag and you’ve got a compact and easily sealed trash can that keeps your car neat and organized AND smelling fresh.

Use a Tinted Plastic Sheet to Reduce Glare

We all know the struggle: You forgot your sunglasses, the sun is setting, and you’re driving west. Your visor can’t protect you at this angle, but there is something that can! A simple tinted, plastic sheet will stick to your car window with static, and you can move it wherever you need to, so the sun will never bother you again!

Park Your Car Facing East to Lessen Frost

This probably sounds like some weird witchy trick, but it’s actually very simple and logical. If your car is left so that it’s facing the sun in the morning, the rays will defrost your front windshield for you first. So as long as you leave for work after the sun rises, you’ll never have to wait for the defroster to warm up again!

Hold Your Keys to Your Head to Extend Their Range

It sounds stupid, we know, but we swear it works! If your keys don’t have much of a range, hold them right under your chin and press the button again — the fluids in your head will exchange the reach of the signal just a little bit. Seriously, if you don’t believe us, just try it for yourself!

Messy Kid on a Long Car Ride? Magna-Doodle Can Help

You’ve got two obvious issues when going for a long car ride with a young kid: They’re messy, and they’re easily bored. Lucky for you, packing a MagnaDoodle in your arsenal of toys can help with both those problems. First of all, they’re easily one of the most entertaining toys, as kids can draw and redraw over and over without running out of (or dropping) materials.

What you also may not have thought of, though, is they can double as a tray table for kids to eat meals off of without getting crumbs and spills everywhere. That’s what we call a win-win!

Use Coke to Clean Your Wheels

You’ve probably heard “use Coke to clean this” a million times, but a mixture of cola and dish detergent really will get all the road grime and brake dust off your rims and leave them sparkling. Some people do worry that the soda will just make things sticky, but the detergent you mix in prevents any buildup from occurring.

In an Emergency, Pantyhose Can Serve as a Fan Belt

First and foremost, we should note that if you have any other options when your fan belt breaks (like calling a tow), you should absolutely exercise them. Saving the money is not worth the risk of starting a fire in your engine. However, if you’re well and truly stuck, you can tie up a pair of pantyhose to substitute for a fan belt in order to get you to the nearest gas station or area with cell service so that you can get help.

Nail Polish Can Fix Little Scratches

Most of the time when you get a little scratch or chip in the paint of your car, it isn’t worth the expense of fixing it up professionally. Of course, the unfortunate downside to this is that you end up driving around with unsightly scratches on your car. We bet you didn’t know you could cover those up yourself! All you need is a little bit of nail polish. As long as you can match the paint on your vehicle pretty closely, a little bit of nail polish will cover up the scratches well enough that nobody would notice if they weren’t looking for them.

Use Hand Sanitizer to De-Ice Your Key Holes

If you’ve felt the pain of having frozen locks on your car door, you know how hard that problem can be to solve. The answer is something you may not have expected — hand sanitizer. Pouring something INTO the lock that doesn’t work may seem counterintuitive, but the alcohol in the solution will melt the ice, and then you’ll be able to turn the lock. It’ll dissolve on your car the same way it does on your hands.

Keep Your Belt Buckled In Hot Weather

Trying to buckle your seatbelt in the summer is a dangerous game. Any metal piece of your car that’s been exposed to sunlight and heat is going to hurt your hands, but you can at least avoid the seatbelt problem by buckling it in after you get out of your car, and leaving it there until the next time you get in. It can’t heat up to burning temperatures if the sun can’t touch it!

Over the Door Shoe Rack = Backseat Organizer

This is an especially useful one if you have kids: A simple over-the-door shoe rack can serve as a great place to store all the backseat essentials — sippy cups, toys, chargers, snacks, you name it. All the pouches are easily accessible and way easier to look at at a glance than the pouches that come with some minivan seats.

Use Clear Nail Polish on Window Chips

Magical nail polish strikes again! If you get a crack or chip in your windshield, it’s always liable to spread and crack further, becoming quite dangerous for everyday driving. But if you can’t afford to replace your windshield, a few drops of clear nail polish in the affected area should stop the crack from spreading until you can — much like a run in a pair of stockings.

Ziplock Bag Over the Mirror

Running into issues with ice frosting over your mirrors? All you need are some Ziploc bags. As BobVilla.com explained, “Just open up a few Ziplock bags and slip them over your mirrors. The plastic covering will keep most of the ice and snow from sticking, making those frigid mornings way less frustrating.”

No Phone Holder? Use a Rubber Band

It’s so annoying (and dangerous) when you need to look at your GPS but don’t have a co-pilot to hold it up for you, and don’t have one of those window or air vent holders to hold your phone. It’s actually pretty easy, though, to utilize a rubber band for the exact same purpose. Just loop it through a couple of the vents in your center console, and around the top and bottom of your phone, and the tension will hold it up.

(Note: Add a binder clip and the hold is even stronger!)

Cool Down Your Hot Car Quickly

Ever had to stand there and air out your stiflingly hot car in the summer, just enough so that you can BREATHE when you get inside? Speed up the process by simply rolling down the passenger side window, and opening and closing the driver’s side door rapidly for a few seconds. This creates a sort of fanning effect that gets all the hot, stale air out of your car and gets fresh air in.

Dryer Sheets are Your Next Air Freshener

Don’t waste money on clip-on or over-the-mirror air fresheners that only really work for a few days. A box of dryer sheets lasts way longer, doesn’t get in the way, and truly absorbs odors. You can get them scented or unscented, and your car will smell pleasant and fresh for months.

Nanotech Car Scratch Remover Cloth

OK, this isn’t so much a hack, as just a really cool product that can save the day when it comes to the beauty of your car. Adopting advanced nanotechnology, these Multipurpose Scratch Remover Clothes can remove car scratches and stains, as well as restore vehicle color and protect paint surfaces. Each cloth can be used between 10 to 15 times, according to the company. If you’re unsure of its effectiveness, they come with a one-year limited warranty. So you can test them out and contact the company to return if you’re unsatisfied.

Wax Cube Air Fresheners

Besides dryer sheets, there’s another DIY air freshener hack for your nose’s pleasure. Simply pick up some scents wax cubes and pop them into a mason jar with some hols cut in the lead. Leave said jar in your car and as the vehicle heats up, the wax will melt, filling your car with a lovely aroma.

Penny in the Tire

Tis next hack could literally save your life. Take a penny, turn it upside down, and put it into your tire treads. If President Lincoln’s head sinks halfway in, you’re good. If the tread doesn’t cover any of the president’s head, new tires are in your future.

Cup(Cake) Holder

Pick up some silicone cupcake wrappers and slip them into your car’s cupholders. They’ll keep all that loose change organized, and are easy to remove and clean, keeping the cup holders pristine.

Carabiner Hooks

If you need to make some space in your backseat, pick pop some carabiner hooks and attach them to your headrests. they can be used to hold bags, groceries, umbrellas, and etc.

Muffin Pan Cupholder

If your heading out to pick up a big fast food order, make sure you don’t leave home without a muffin pan in a basket. Why? Because it makes an gigantic and comparatively sturdier holder for soft drinks.

Laundry Basket for Groceries

Next time you go grocery shopping, stick an empty laundry basket in the trunk. That way when you get home, you can fill the basket with bags and cut down on your trips back and froth to the car.

Kitty Litter

Even if you don’t have a cat, you should have some kitty litter in your trunk. Why? Because it can be used to build traction on ice and snow during the winter months.

Kitty Litter Continued

If you fill a sock with kitty litter and keep it on your dashboard, it will keep your windshield from fogging up.

Yes, really.

Command Hooks

If you need a place to keep your purse, bag, or mask without your stuff going everywhere, simply attach a command hook at floor level. That keeps everything you need accessible, neat, and tidy.

Windex Those Windshield Wipers

If you’ve been procrastinating changing out your windshield wipers, “soak a clean white rag with your favorite glass cleaner. Wipe the rag up and down the length of your wiper blades. You’ll see the results on the rag, and you’ll see out your windshield much better in the rain.”

Paper Towels

Attach a toll of paper towels to the roof of your trunk with a small bungee chord. That way, you always have available paper towels for your trunk, but they won’t roll around ir get crushed while you’re driving.

DIY Car Mats

If you want to keep the floor under the passenger and backseats clean, custom-cut scraps of old carpet to fit on the floor as DIY mats. That way you keep the car clean, and when they get dirty you can simply toss them out.

Vinegar on the Windshield

If you want to keep your windshield from icing over at night, fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar and one part water. Spray the mixture evenly on your car window, and acid in the vinegar will prevent freezing.

Shoes Make Great Cup Holders

Surprisingly, shoes make great additional cup holders in our cars. Sometimes you just need a bigger cup holder or simply an extra one when you have more drinks than your car can fit. Thankfully, an old shoe can act as the perfect cup holder, as long as you don’t mind the smell. The foot hole is perfectly sized to hold a cup, and can even be adjusted for those gallon cups you find at gas stations.

Extra storage using mesh bungee net

Not everyone can afford that oversized SUV that can fit a huge grocery run. So sometimes that calls for a little creativity to use the space they have for storage. One place in the car that’s often underutilized is the ceiling…

But this hack will give you all the storage you need, and more. By adding a mesh bungee net to your car’s ceiling, you can throw anything you might need up there like it’s trapped in a web.

Hang A Tennis Ball In Your Garage

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have parking sensors in their cars like the most recent models come with. If you’re worried about pulling too far into your garage and damaging your grill, a tennis ball hanging from a string will act as a parking aid, and when you hit the ball, you know you’ve gone far enough. Thanks to this hack, you can kiss goodbye to hitting the garage wall ever again.

Keep Your Takeout Warm By Using Your Heated Seats

The best ideas are often right in front of our faces. It makes so much sense to make sure your takeout doesn’t get cold by the time you get come from picking it up. Your first thought might be to just turn off the A/C and ride in a hot car. But why suffer at all? If you turn your passenger seat warmers on high, your food will stay warm and you can keep the temperature in the car whatever you’d like without a worry in the world.

Olive Oil Is Great For Collecting Dust

Cars seem to be dust magnets, and if left for too long, they can be unsightly. Plus, having all of that dust lying around isn’t the best thing to be breathing in a confined space. Luckily there is a common household item that will collect all of that dust for you…

And it goes by the name of olive oil. By rubbing a small amount of the oil onto something like a kitchen towel or coffee filter, you can mop up all of that dust with the greatest of ease.

Use Your Floor Mats For Traction When Stuck

If you get stuck in the mud or snow, you can use your floor mats for traction. All you have to do is unclip your floor mats from both the driver and passenger floors and then place them behind or in front of each of the stuck wheels (depending on if you need to go forward or backward).

Repurpose An Inflatable Pool Floatie For A Bed

If you’ve ever been on a long road trip and needed to pull over to get some rest, its a cheap and comfortable idea to keep a pool floatie in your trunk to blow up in your backseat when you want to take a nap. Nothing is worse than fighting the feeling of your heavy eyelids on a long road trip. Its always better to play it safe and take a little break.

Drop A Pin To Remember Where You Parked

Are you the type of person that always seems to forget where you parked? Well here’s an easy solution, especially for those times you’re parking in an unfamiliar area, particularly in a city. Drop a pin for yourself. Whether you have an android or an apple phone, you have the ability to mark your location. So as soon as you park, drop that pin and you’ll have no problem finding your car later on.

Understanding Your Gas Tank

If you’re driving a car you’ve never driven before, you might be wondering, which side of the car is the tank on? Well, this is actually easier to determine than you might’ve thought. In every car, there’s a little fuel pump symbol on your dash with an arrow next to it that points to whichever side the tank is on.

How To Avoid Getting Played By Mechanics

If you’re looking to get some work done on your car, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself at a mechanic that is absolutely willing to lie to you and take advantage of your lack of knowledge about the vehicle. So, one great way to gauge if the mechanic is an honest one or not is to ask about a part of the car you’re positive is in great shape.

How To Get Sticker Off From Window

Whether you’re the bumper sticker type or the stick family type, it can be tough to get those pesky stickers off your car in one piece without leaving adhesive marks behind. If you’re having trouble with this, use warm water to soak some newspaper and place it over the sticker for about 10 minutes. It should come off much easier.

How To Get Rid of Blind Spots

If you can see the back of your car in your side mirrors, they’re positioned incorrectly and this could potentially be dangerous. The best way to avoid blind spots is to position the mirrors so that no part of your car appears in them.

Always Take Pictures Of Your Rental Car

If you’re renting a car, whether it be for just a day or for a weekend getaway, make sure you take pictures of it beforehand so that you can’t be blamed for anything wrong with it. Even with reputable rental companies, all it takes is one person to make the wrong decision to pull one over on you. Better safe than sorry!

Keep Your Doors From Freezing Shut

If you’re in a wintery state or just going somewhere cold, your doors might freeze shut. To prevent this from happening, coat all of the rubber on the inside of your doors with cooking spray (such as PAM) and then wipe it down. You shouldn’t have a problem opening up your doors in the morning after a freezing-cold night.

Take Advantage of Free Air

There are two important things to keep in mind when it comes to filling your tires up with air. The first of which being that you’ll get better gas mileage if there’s a proper amount of air in your tires. While that seems a bit more obvious, what you might not know is that gas stations will turn the air pump on for free. Everyone knows air shouldn’t cost anything, so don’t fall for the price labeled on the air pump.

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