If you’re anything like the average American, you spend nearly twenty hours a month commuting in your car. So why not make that commute — and the upkeep of your car — a little bit easier?
No, these tips and tricks won’t make you a certified mechanic or magically eliminate those people who can’t seem to exert enough energy to slightly lift one finger and use their turn signal, but they can make general upkeep and travel a little bit less stressful.
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Safety experts believe that mirrors should be positioned so that no part of your car appears in them, as that’s the best way to negate blind spots that require you to turn your head when changing lanes.
The mirror placements should slightly overlap with the field of view in the center-mounted rear-view mirror.
String a bungee net from your car’s above-door hooks for an easy storage solution.
Simply dab a little olive or vegetable oil on the coffee filter and then rub it over your car’s console.
If you don’t want to use the oils, feel free to go without it or use another cleaning solution instead.
(The filters are much better as cleaners than dryer sheets, which are often recommended as well, because dryer sheets can contain a lot of chemicals.)
Cupcake liners make a cheap, plentiful and easily disposable way to maintain spotless cupholders. Just beware — they may trigger cupcake cravings, and/or flashbacks to elementary school birthday parties.
Add hand sanitizer to your key when trying to get at a frozen car lock, as the alcohol on the key will melt the ice. Though if this is a regular problem, you might be better off with one of the many lock de-icing products on the market.
First seen on Shark Tank, the Drop Stop, was invented for the express purpose of filling in that narrow gap that seems to be a magnet for falling keys, phones, fries and change. You can even make your own with some foam pipe insulation, and a bit of ingenuity.
Keep an open box of dryer sheets in your car, and you’ve got a long-term air freshener.
Keep some crumpled up under your hood, and you’ll keep mice from moving in and nibbling your wires.
Want to remove built-up bugs and tar from your bumpers? Rub them with a moistened dryer sheet.
And you thought they were only useful for imparting a delicious scent to your clothing.
Doors freeze because water settles into those gaskets and then hardens.
What to do? Use ordinary cooking spray on the rubber gaskets on the inside of your door and then gently wipe with a paper towel.
It makes the seals tighter and harder for water to get in.
You can get a shoe organizer for a song, and it makes a great way to organize all your varied car sundries. There’s even bigger and better options on the market, if you’re in need of some high-level organization.
This may be the easiest trick that you never do. Save yourself from wandering aimlessly around the parking lot by snapping a photo of where you parked, or opt for one of the many smartphone apps out there.
If you have small dents in your car, just push a (well-washed) plunger firmly against it and pull out to see your car go mostly back to normal in just a few seconds. It’s a similar principle used in professional dent-repair kits, which you might consider if your passenger door’s starting to resemble a golf ball.
Fix half of a pool noodle to your garage wall and you’ll never dent your door — or wall — again.
Whether it’s an oil change reminder or a registration sticker, the goo they leave behind is irritating at best.
Grab a newspaper and put warm water on it, place it over the registration sticker for approximately 10 minutes, and the sticker will be gone. Any residue can be cleaned up with rubbing alcohol, or my personal go-to.
In need of a quick and dirty phone holder? Thread a rubber band through your air conditioner vent and secure your phone in the loops. Or you can opt for one of these magnetic iPhone holders (a personal favorite) that’ll mount just as easily on your air vent.
Believe it or not, buffing your headlights with normal toothpaste and a soft cloth will take them from cloudy to clear in a few minutes. Unfortunately, the results don’t always last very long, so you might be better off making the modest investment in a purpose-built kit that’ll keep those headlights crystal clearer, longer.
You can use a shoe as an additional cupholder, if you’re in desperate straights. Or you can easily add another cupholder for a few bucks to any part of your car.
You can use an inexpensive shower caddy to keep your oil, washer fluid and other maintenance products organized in your trunk.
If your organization needs outgrow the lowly caddy, you can always upgrade to a pro-level trunk organizer, which’ll also store your jumper cables, hand tools, and anything else you want to hide.
If it’s time to fill up the tank and you’re in an unfamiliar car, save yourself the embarrassment of pulling up to the wrong side.
The arrow on the gas gauge points to the side that the tank is on.
As a kid, I always wondered why people hung tennis balls from the ceiling of their garage. As an adult — and after a few ‘spots’ on my garage wall — I get it.
You can hang a tennis ball from the ceiling of your garage to indicate where to stop, or get one of these ingenious parking mats, and say hello to dent-free garage walls.
Don’t risk your manicure prying these things open by hand. If you’re got a staple remover on-hand, use that to easily open the key ring.
And you might consider upgrading yourself to one of these ringless KeySmart Keychains instead.
It’s always handy to have Kleenex around the car — whether you’re nursing a cold, or just cleaning up yet another spilled puddle of coffee.
Try using a reusable coffee mug as a tissue holder — it’ll fit right in your cup holder — or take the easy way out, and get one of the many tissue-holding solutions on the market.