26 Car Hacks That Actually Work! UPDATED

Feel like a modern day Macgyver that can make something from anything? Well here we have 26 Car Hacks to help you on your quest to greatness. Below are some really cool things you can easily do to make your dricing life easier, better and more enjoyable.

26 Car Hacks That Actually Work

1. Got a hole in your fuel tank? Use minties as a temporary fix.

It pays to have a few minties in the car on the off chance your fuel tank springs a leak. For a temporary fix before seeing your local mechanic, chew the mintie until it sticks to your teeth. When this happens chew it further to flatten it out. With a rag wipe the area around the leak until it is as dry as possible and then apply the mintie.

2. Need to clean cloudy headlights? Use Toothpaste.

clean cloudy headlights

Yes it’s true, toothpaste (especially whitening) can clean foggy headlights. For this one you’ll definitely need to bring your elbow grease. Apply toothpaste to the plastic lens cover with a cloth and thoroughly rub it in all over the lens. Then rinse off completely with clean water and dry. For further protection use a furniture polish or car wax with UV protection.

3. No cup holder? No problem, use a shoe!

Shoe cup holder in car

If you’re car is from the dark ages you may not have the luxury of using inbuilt cup holders. To that I say NAY! Why not use one of your sneakers? By the gear shift or on the seat it will work perfectly giving your drink more stability. Thirst = quenched.

4. Can’t get your registration sticker off? Use wet newspaper.

Out of date registration stickers are very irritating! Sometimes they can feel like they’ve been set in the glass when trying to take them off. But no need worry some wet newspaper will do the trick. Use warm water and place the newspaper over the rego sticker for 10 minutes. This lets the warm water penetrate the sticker and will almost fall off into your hands.

5. Rip your fingers to shreds trying to put a key on a key ring? Use a staple remover.

staple remover to put keys on a key ring

Do you find it hard to get keys on a key ring or do they tear up your fingers and finger nails? Then it’s time to upgrade to the ultimate in key ring helping technology, a staple remover. Put the teeth of the staple remover in between the two rings, then press down and watch them separate.

6. Picked up pizza for dinner? Use your seat warmer to keep it hot.

seat warmer keeps pizza hot

This one is pretty self-explanatory… Do you have the luxury of using a seat warmer in your car? Well good for you! If you’re ever picking up pizza turn the seat warmer on for the drive home. The result, no were cold pizza.

7. Bang your doors in the garage wall? Use half a pool noodle.

pool noodle stops car door banging

This is a cheap and effective way to stop having to worry about how close your door is to the garage wall when getting in and out of your car. Cut the tube in half and either glue, nail or bolt the tube at the specific height your door meets the wall.

8. Always forgetting where your car is parked? There’s an app for that.

iParkedHere app

Don’t worry, everyone does it. Just not as often as you do! If you tend to forget where your car is parked then let your phone do the remembering for you. iParkedHere is a great app that allows you to input where your car is in an indoor parking lot or outdoor. It even utilises a GPS, image capture an notes if necessary.

9. No paint for small chips and scratches? Use the closest nail polish.

nail polish to remove scratches on car

Park a little too close to the car next to you and while you were at the supermarket they left a little present for you? We can’t fix poor judgement in a few minutes but we can fix that scratch with nail polish. Of course it needs to be as close as possible to your car’s colour. This may be the only option if you’re unable to obtain or don’t own the particular colour from the manufacturer.

10. Always getting lost? Get a GPS and use less fuel!

It is widely known that if you don’t own a GPS you’re going to use more fuel because you’re more likely to get lost. No one likes dishing out more cash for no reason… so hop on it. Get a GPS and start saving.

11. Hang a tennis ball at the back of your garage roof as a parking guide

If you have trouble gauging the distance between the front or back of your car and the garage wall when parking then this is for you. You’ll need a two screw hooks, string or yarn and a tennis ball.

To start have your vehicle parked in the right position. Then, using a ladder and the string, measure the distance between the roof and the middle of your windscreen, add an extra foot (for knot tying) then cut. Once this is done you can put together the guide by screwing the first hook into the tennis ball and the other into your roof directly above the middle of your windscreen and then tie the string to each hook.

The tennis ball should sit nicely in the middle of your windscreen. If it doesn’t untie one of the knots and adjust the height using the additional length.

12. Use a plastic cereal container as a trash can

Overtime it is easy for your car to become a massive bin. We tend to leave papers and food wrappers in our car without even thinking about it. Over time this can amount to a lot of waste. One great option is to convert a plastic cereal container into a bin for your car.

Don’t forget to use a plastic bin liner so you don’t need to clean the container if any of your rubbish contains food or liquid.

13. Tinted plastic as moveable shade.

How irritating is it when you’re driving with the sun at a low angle and your visor can’t stop all the light coming through. At times this can be dangerous as the light can temporarily blind you. One hack is to use moveable tinted plastic sheets. If it is good enough for pilots then it is definitely good enough for the rest of us!

The sheets stick to the surface of windows via surface static, which allows you to place the small sheets on the windscreen or side windows to block some of that unwanted light to give your eyes some relief.

14. Hook a mesh bungee to your roof handles for extra storage.

Coat hooks inside your car serve a limited purpose. Even when hanging coats on them they usually aren’t off the seat and get crinkled or are in the way of whoever is sitting in that seat.

A better use for them is to hook a mesh bungee net (usually used to strap bike helmets to the back seat or fender) to the handles to use as extra storage. You can put anything up there (coats, hats, gloves etc) that you don’t want on you car floor. Most car roofs these days are curved so whatever you’re storing shouldn’t be in the backseat passengers line of site or block the drivers view out of the rear window.

15. Park your car facing east to defrost windscreen in the morning.

Although it seems simple you can save some considerable time in the morning. If you live in a place where frost is a big problem on winter mornings and leave your car parked outside then this is for you.

Whenever you can make sure you park your car facing east. As the sun rises in the east you’re using the suns warmth to defrost the ice on your windscreen rather than you having to stay outside in the cold and scrape it off yourself. With this trick you should be able to use your windscreen wipers to do the not so heavy lifting for you. Who doesn’t want a little bit of added comfort on a cold winters morning?

16. Use a plunger to remove small dents.

This hack is fairly self explanatory. If you have a small dent on one of your car panels you can use a plunger to try and get it out. When pulled back the suction of the plunger also pulls the dented part of the panel forward and back into place. Here is a video showing how it’s done:

17. De-ice a car door lock with hand sanitizer.

Does your car door lock not want to play ball in the winter? It could be that it has seized due to moisture within it freezing overnight. A great way to fix the problem is to use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. The heavy alcohol content breaks down ice very well and the squirt style bottles make it easy to inject the sanitizer into the lock to work it’s magic.

The best part is that you’ll be spending less time out in the cold fiddling with your keys without gloves on.

18. Turn your car’s ashtray into a smartphone doc.

If you drive an older model vehicle that was built in a time when Angry Birds meant exactly that… an angry bird and not a smartphone game then this hack is for you. Your older model vehicle probably doesn’t have that many places to store stuff and especially nothing to fit your phone. Or does it? Jason Torchinsky found a way to utilise his car’s ashtray as a smartphone doc.

Rather than trying to explain everything in detail check out his article on LifeHacker it gives great insight into what to do. Jason says that it is a fairly easy hack that should only take a couple of hours.

One thing’s for sure… don’t forget to clean out the ashtray!

19. No cleaning products in site? Use a razor blade to clean your windscreen.

Many of us don’t have the luxury of living close to a petrol station so we don’t have close access to a squeegee bin and water for cleaning your windscreen. Most of the time it won’t be too clean anyway so you’re probably better off putting this hack into action.

A simple but useful tool, a razor blade can do the job effortlessly. Keep one stashed away in your glovebox and use it to scrape off any dirt or bugs that try to go through your windscreen. Plus you never know, it may come in handy for other situations.

20. Use a sticky pad on your dashboard to keep your gadgets in one place.

Sticky mats are a great tool for keeping your gadgets in one place on your dashboard. No more phones flying around the car when going around corners! The sticky mat is also perfect if you’re unable to mount your gps to the windscreen.

There are hundreds of different types and brands but don’t be tempted by the highly priced items. You’ll find great quality and inexpensive sticky mats on eBay and Amazon.

21. Hack a cassette adapter to be a Bluetooth adaptor for your phone.

This is a semi technical hack but definitely one that anybody can do. Take a look at YouTube author KipKay creates a $5 bluetooth music hack using a cheap cassette adapter and some bluetooth headphones.

Rather than trying to explaining the how to in text, it’s best if you just watch his awesome video!

22. Reroute your windscreen washer lines into the car and fill with water for drinks on demand.

This one is a little crazier but definitely doable. Re-routing your windscreen washer lines into your car will give you water or any other beverage you wish to put in it on demand. BUT a word of caution. I’ve only heard about this and never seen it attempted.

If you do attempt it make sure you document it for everyone else! Also make sure that the container and washer lines are completely cleaned out. Some vehicles may use a specific detergent and not just water in the lines.

23. Dual USB power through cigarette lighter.

I’ll consider this one a ‘common sense’ hack. The majority of (if not all) handheld devices these days connect and charge via USB. There isn’t much point buying the in car charger kit for a specific device if you can get away with buying a dual USB charger for the cigarette lighter. This will not only save you money but if you or friends have devices they need charged, all that’s needed is it’s USB cable.

24. Replace broken fan belt with pantyhose

replace fan belt with pantyhose

First lets start off by saying that if your fan belt is broken we recommend you call your nearest Repco Authorised Service centre to see if your car can be towed to their workshop. But if you’re in a situation where calling your nearest workshop is not an option (and willing to take the risk) then you can replace a broken fan belt with stockings for a temporary fix.

This may be more difficult in newer cars with numerous other components in the way but it has been done. See Tim Anderson’s article on Instructables for more details.

25. Boost the range of your car remote by holding it to your head

boost car remote using your head

Does your car remote lack the range needed for it to actually be useful? One way to increase the range of the remote is to hold it underneath your chin. I know it sounds crazy but it actually works and should add a few car lengths to the remote’s capable distance.

Tim Pozar, a Silicon Valley radio engineer was asked by the New York Times how this actually works.

Mr. Pozar explains, “You are capacitively coupling the fob to your head. With all the fluids in your head it ends up being a nice conductor. Not a great one, but it works.” Using your head can extend the key’s wireless range by a few car lengths.

26. Feeding your kids on the go? Use a magna doodle as a food tray

magna doodle as food tray in car

Image from ParentHacks.com

If you’ve got young kids, you know how car rides can sometimes be a struggle. Giving them toys are a great way to keep them quite, as long as they aren’t noisy themselves! A magna doodle is a great drawing tool for these types of trips, quite, easy to use and no batteries!

They’re also great for the busy family on the go that eat in the car. You can use the magna doodle as a food tray for younger children who would usually drop their food all over the place. Who likes to clean up old and dried up food that’s seeped into the seats and carpet? Definitely not me!

Know any other car hacks that are car, driving or automotive related? Let us know in the comments below!

This is another post from Motoring About

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23 Responses to 26 Car Hacks That Actually Work! UPDATED

  1. Pittsburgh_Car_Dealers says:

    There are some useful tips here, although we wouldn’t recommend transforming your windshield washer into a drink dispenser. There may come a time (specifically in the winter) when you will need to clean your windows to see.


    • Lori Nielsen Dorris says:

      HaHa, many years ago we had a party vehicle that the windshield washer dispensed whiskey! It won’t freeze believe me!

    • KH says:

      Not to mention the fact that methanol is toxic and there is no guarantee that it will be completely flushed from the system.

  2. Anell Neuhoff says:

    Cola (preferably without gas) and dishwashing liquid works wonders for making tyres shine after washing your car.

    Take a 2litre Cola and pour out (or drink) about 200ml then pour in 200ml dishwashing liquid. Shake it and use a little with a sponge to make your car tyres nice and shiny.

    • Inspiredam says:

      I thought it would be a stick mess, but I tried this and it actually worked!!. Thanks anell

  3. LT Cleaner says:

    When your headlights are foggy, cloudy or yellowed means that Oxidation is building up in your plastic lens. Replacing headlight lenses can cost several hundred dollars. Having a detail shop or Auto repair shop professionally restore your headlights can run $75 to $150 per car. No headlights covers remain clear forever. All plastic headlights become cloudy, foggy or yellowed over time. Enjoy Crystal Clear Headlight Covers In Minutes WITHOUT Sanding, Buffing or using Masking Tape with LTC Headlight Cleaner. Headlights treated with LTC Headlight Cleaner will maintain clear for 8-12 months or more, it varies where your car is parked; garaged, streets, *remember that sun is one of the biggest factors why your headlights get oxidized.

    Sanding and polishing eventually will scratch and reduce thickness of your plastic headlights. Toothpaste will semi-clean your headlights and leave it without any kind of UV protection. Why pay for something you can do at home for less. Like everything else, there are good and bad 1 step headlight cleaner products and this is considered the Best Headlight Cleaner.

    You’re 6 steps away to remove Headlight Oxidation from your headlights with LTC.

    1. Wipe off dust from headlight
    2. Shake bottle for up to 30 seconds first time, consecutive applications up to 10 seconds.
    3. Apply 1/20 oz in a cotton cloth rag.
    4. Start rubbing cloth rag with some pressure, chose your desire rubbing pattern and don’t stop rubbing until you see the difference and you’re satisfied with the results.
    5. With a clean cotton cloth rag start wiping off until is dry to the touch.
    6. Clean edges around headlight removing excess fluid in non plastic surfaces.

    Source link: http://trk1.ltcleaner.com/headlightcleaner

  4. Psst says:

    Too often headlight lenses are misdiagnosed as oxidized. When modern clear lenses appear yellow, what’s obscuring them is usually a film of wax and road oils.

    Truely oxidized lenses are clouded by a milky white outer layer created when uv radiation breaks down the plastic. A similar look can be caused by a coating of deteriorated car wax. When on the exterior black plastic, an old wax coating will make the plastic look grey or chalky. Black plastic is highly resistant to UV deterioration, and turns dull, not white, when it deteriorates, just like tires..

    Before resorting to using an abrasive, try non abrasive cleaning in 3 steps. First, a clear grease cutting dish detergent like Joy or Dawn. Second, a general purpose non-ammonia cleaner. Third, rubbing alcohol. Use microfiber towels from the dollar store. Don’t be afraid to rub hard.

    If you’re lucky, the lenses will be clear, if not, you will have greatly reduced the amount of abrasive polishing needed to remove the discoloration.

    To decrease lense clouding, avoid getting car wax of any kind on them, and clean whem regularly with

    Applying a product such as Aerospace Formula 303, an exterior plastic uv potectant, will help. The same kind of cleaning and treatment can help restore or prolong the like new appearance of any exterior black plastic on your car. Two treatments a week apart may be needed to restore black plastic, as the treatment will soften and penetrate and wax that you didn’t get off.

  5. Levy R. says:

    These are some really great ways to keep your car running and looking great. I liked the tip about using the coke to get rust and other car stains off your car. I wonder which kind is best regular or diet. I should ask the guys at my auto shop the next time I go in if they know. http://www.tyrepowermiami.com.au/contact1

  6. Regina Peterson says:

    My belt just broke on my car, but I am very hesitant about using panty hose to fix the problem. The one that I will probably try is the pool noodle on the side of the garage door to prevent dings. I have a ding right now because of opening my door on the side of the garage. http://www.hstireandauto.com/

    • realBKW says:

      It’s just a temporary fix so you can get to a mechanic or parts store.

      • Amy says:

        I’ve done it. It works. When I lived in Bermuda it could take months to get a part. Pantyhose was cheap and worked well while I waited over two months for a new fan belt.

  7. Regina Peterson says:

    I would have never guessed that toothpaste would work that well on car headlights. My car door has gone through a lot of wear and tare just from hitting the wall in our garage, so the pool noodle would be a great idea. Nail polish is something that I have every color of, so I’m glad that it works for car scratches. http://www.actiontirecentre.com

  8. rose nickelson says:

    These are some really interesting car hacks. I like the tip about having your car parked towards where the sun will rise. That way the windshield and tires will be frost free. That is a smart thing to do if you live in area that gets cold weather. Do you have any other hacks for cars that are about the tires? http://oneillstyres.com.au/maitland.html

    • Carter Loose says:

      That hack works, unless you live so far north that the sun doesn’t come up until long after you’ve left for work in the morning… 😉

  9. Applejackson says:

    I dont think I found one single useable hack in here that I either didn’t already know about or would actually use. Bummer.

  10. Paul Miller says:

    Is it true that you can fill up your headlights with water that will make you see better in snowy conditions I figured it would break the bulb and fries

  11. asserT says:

    Clear nail polish over a crack in the window will prevent it from spreading.

  12. KH says:

    Drinks in the windshield washer reservoir??? Are you all insane??? Look for a lawsuit from the next person who ends up with methanol poisoning after trying your ‘hack’.

  13. David C. Long says:

    iParkedHere doesn’t work. Can’t find in Google play store and link in article takes you to iTunes.

    • Michelle McGrath Hull says:

      There are a few more in Google Play – I just downloaded one. :)

  14. Adam Ramirez says:

    Watch this! It really works.