If you’re a commuter, spending even a couple of hours behind the wheel each day can be taxing; not just on your poor, traffic-hating self, but also on your car. As those problems start piling up, car owners are all too frequently left with no choice but to deal with it or shell out for costly repairs and upgrades.
Luckily, there are a handful of car hacks you can utilize to make every commute a better experience! Whether you’re a commuter who spends hours per day in bumper-to-bumper traffic or someone who only goes to church every Sunday, every driver should know these 20 tricks!
1. Protect your car’s doors: Drivers with a tendency to whack their car doors on the walls of their garages can benefit from a repurposed pool noodle. Just stick the noodle to the wall with nails or glue and—bada boom, bada bing—you’ve got a door-saving bumper!
Today’s Home Owner
2. Guide your parking: Spend some time aligning your car perfectly in your garage, and then hang a tennis ball from the ceiling so it’s touching the car’s windshield. In the future, you’ll only have to pull your car up to the ball to know you’re perfectly parked.
Home and Furniture Gallery
3. Cool down an AC-less car: AC broken? Avoid entering a sauna by rolling down the passenger side window. Then, open and close the driver-side door. This will push all that hot air that’s been stewin’ inside to the great outdoors where it belongs.
Zolee’s World / YouTube
4. Use plastic sheets to block out glares: Trying to squint through the sun’s blinding gaze can result in disaster, so stay safe and pick up a few tinted plastic sheets to hang on your windshield.
5. Keep food warm: Solo drivers don’t often have a ton of uses for their passenger seat’s seat warmer, but there’s one great way to use it—when you’ve got takeout that needs to stay warm on the way home!
canceric / Twitter
6. Keep kitty litter in your trunk: Even without a cat, it might behoove you to keep some litter on hand in the winter. Sprinkling a bit of it under your tires can help a car stuck in snow or ice gain the traction necessary to get moving.
7. Defrost your windshield: Scraping ice from a windshield can be torture, but you can avoid all that effort with a mixture of vinegar and water. Just spray the combo onto the windshield to dissolve any ice. This works preemptively, too!
1061evansville / YouTube
8. De-ice locks: Rubbing alcohol can melt away any ice that’s accumulated in—and consequently, frozen over—your car’s key holes. Simply squeeze some hand sanitizer into the lock or right onto your key.
9. Prevent foggy windshields: Foggy windows in the a.m.? Take an old sock, fill it with kitty litter, and put it on your dashboard overnight. Then, you can rejoice as it absorbs all the moisture that would’ve been on the inside of your window.
Dave Hax / YouTube
10. Prevent windshield wipers from freezing: While you’re rooting around in your sock drawer, grab another pair to slide over your wiper blades. This will prevent them from freezing over on a really cold night.
11. Keep socks in your glove compartment: You might as well grab another pair of socks out of the drawer (hopefully you still have some left to wear!) and leave them in your car’s glove compartment. You can use them for traction if you have to push your car out of a patch of ice.
12. Effectively clean air vents: A reusable foam paint brush like this one—something you can find for cheap at any craft store—can weasel its way between vent blades and wipe away all of that pesky dust collecting there.
Dave Hax / YouTube
13. Repair dings with nail polish: Small scrapes and scratches can add up if your car spends a lot of time in parking lots or on the street. Try finding a nail polish the same color as your car’s paint for quick, easy, and cheap touch-ups.
Sabrina Marie / YouTube
14. Remove big boy dents: Scratches and scrapes are one thing, but what happens when you put a dent in your door? You need heavy artillery—like a plunger. Use it to “suck” a dented area back to its normal shape.
Cody the Car Guy / YouTube
15. Cereal container trash cans: Admit it: at some point in your life, you haphazardly tossed an empty water bottle or wrapper into the back seat because, well, cars don’t have trash cans. Yours can, though, if you put a compact, plastic cereal container to work! (Hint: this is useful when you have messy kids!)
16. Speed up seat belt retractors: Seat belts get used every time you slide into the car, and as a result, the retraction mechanism can start sticking or resisting. Spray some furniture polish on the belt to grease the mechanism gears right up.
17. Use rubber bands to make a smartphone holder: Cell phone holders are finicky little things (unless you shell out the big bucks), so go the cheap-yet-effective route by looping a rubber band through your air vents and then anchoring your phone in place. Voila!
Dave Hax / YouTube
18. Brush your headlights with toothpaste: Thanks to the abrasive components in toothpaste, you can scrub a headlight clean with a little squirt of the teeth cleaner. Then, brush it around in little circles with an old toothbrush, just like it’s a molar.
Chris Fix / YouTube
19. Desperation cup holder: When you’re working with a bench seat and don’t have a cup holder on hand, a roll of duct tape can do the trick in a pinch. This won’t win any points for appearances, but hey, it beats trying to balance a cold drink between your legs!
eqrunner / reddit
20. Carabiner organizer: Keeping your car organized—especially when it’s trafficked by backpack-wearing kiddos—can be a nightmare. Try hanging purses, backpacks, and shopping bags in easy-to-reach spots by clipping a few carabiners to your headrest!
No doubt about it, some of these tricks will make your time in the car just a little better. What are your favorite car hacks?
Share these car hacks with your friends below!