35+ Good To Know Car Hacks To Make Driving Simpler

By Liezel L

This article was originally published on therocketsscience

If you’re the proud owner of a car, you’ll know that it is often a love/ hate relationship with it. Sure, it gets you to where you need to be, it takes you on great adventures, it carries your things, and it makes your life somewhat easier. But on the other hand, there are also door dings, spilled drinks and food, cracked windshields, and oh, who could forget, expensive maintenance.  Fortunately, though, thanks to all the genius and creative car owners out there who always come up with ways to beat the cons of owning a car, we have tons of hacks that truly up your game as a car owner. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or you’ve just gotten your very first car, these cool, fun, and neat tricks will help you save so much time, energy, and money with your car. 

The Hidden Lock

Nowadays, all cars are made with electric locks. However, as we all know, anything that operates electrically has a good chance of failing once or twice. So when your car’s electric lock fails you, what do you do? Simple. You find your car’s manual lock. 

image courtesy of vsgenuineparts.co.uk

Regardless of its electric features, a lot of cars out there still have a manual lock. Just feel under the door handle for a small plastic piece. When you remove that, you’ll find a good old manual lock underneath, which can really save the day for you. 

Fresh Smell That Lasts

As much as we love those dangling air fresheners and car sprays, there is a much better way to keep your car smelling nice for longer. All that you need is found in your laundry room in the form of a few good dryer sheets. 

image courtesy of Using dryer sheets as a car air freshener/ Facebook

Just place a couple of these under the seats of your car, and the smell will penetrate every corner of your vehicle, neutralizing any unpleasant scents and keeping your car smelling nice and good all day long. You could also put them in your AC vent, then add a little bit of airing out from time to time, and you’ll really love the smell of your car. 

Faster Car Hunt

Let’s face it. If you’ve ever driven or owned a car, there must have been an instance that you parked in a big crowded parking lot or multilevel parking only to be lost and clueless when you come back for it later on. It’s embarrassing, it’s annoying, and it is such a huge inconvenience.

image courtesy of instagram.com/jawatte

One way to avoid that situation is to take a quick snap of the surroundings of where you parked your car. You can even take pictures treasure map style of certain markers to really make sure. The only problem is if all the surrounding cars leave and you’re stuck with a picture that doesn’t look like what you’re looking at a few hours later. 

Tidy Trunks

It’s often our rooms in our homes that can get messy really quickly for many of us. In our cars, it’s the trunk. For some reason, we just love shoving so many miscellaneous items in there. When we need something, we can get easily frustrated looking for it under the piles of mess. 

image courtesy of diyhow.tumblr.com

The answer to this problem is a couple of large laundry baskets. They’ll keep things nice and tidy and allow you more storage space. And at the very least, you can still continue throwing whatever in there and still have an organized mess, right? 

Plunger Comes To The Rescue

Who wants to pay hundreds of dollars to fix a small dent? No one. In fact, who wants to pay anything at all when all you need to fix a small dent in your car is right in your bathroom? That’s right. The plunger you have in your bathroom is more useful than just for unclogging toilets. 

image courtesy of machanic.net

First, take some hot water and pour it over the dented area. Then, place the plunger over the area, ensure it has a good grip, and pull until the dent is evened out nicely. You can repeat this a couple of times until you’re satisfied with the results. Oh, and don’t forget. Wash those plungers well before using them, all right?

Telekinesis For Your Key Fob

Key fobs are great for helping you find your car up until you’re standing too far and left, desperately clicking the button as the anxiety grows inside you. As it seems, though, the solution to this is to place the key fob under your chin and work some of your telekinesis powers on your key fob. 

image courtesy of Nthefastlane.com

It’s pretty strange, we got to admit, and we wonder how anyone even discovered this in the first place. But apparently, your brain waves have further reach, and they expand your key’s reach. If this works fairly well for you, you might just have legitimate mind powers. 

DIY Phone Stand

Elastic bands have been used in so many places and have held on to so much for us in our entire lives. From hair to papers to zippers to food, elastic bands have saved the day more times than we can count. And here’s another one: a substitute for those expensive car phone holders. 

image courtesy of OneCrazyHouse/ YouTube

Instead of forking out money for those fancy things, you can simply take an elastic band or two, thread it through your AC vent, and use it to secure your phone. No more taking wrong turns and no more getting lost from not seeing the map properly. 

For Cereals and For Trash

We all know that we have little enough space as it is in cars, and we also know how easy it is to leave trash all over your vehicle. Instead of turning your vehicle into your personal garbage car though, why not take a cereal container and turn it into your own mini trash can?

image courtesy of onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Find yourself an empty cereal container or empty out one you have now and then put a plastic bag inside it. Place it in whatever available corner you have in your car, and you can enjoy a clean and tidy car as long as you use it properly, of course. 

Takeout Warmer

If there is one thing that is more frustrating than getting stuck in traffic, it is watching your food get cold as you sit stuck in traffic. You might have this great dinner all planned out with the movie set to go, but sadly, reheated chicken or pizza just won’t cut it. 

image courtesy of Sarah Crowley/ Thekitchn.com

Thankfully, you can easily bypass this annoyance using your car’s seat warmers. Simply plunk down your takeout on the seat warmer, and it’s guaranteed you’ll have a nice warm meal. If only the cup holders did the same thing for our coffees, right?

Take The Penny Test

If we’re going to be honest, only very few of us would know the exact right time to change a car’s tires before they have finally gone flat and left us stranded. Apparently, though, what you should look out for is your car’s treads. The deeper they are, the better. But how do you know if they’re deep enough?

image courtesy of autopair.net

To check if your car treads are still deep enough, grab a penny and turn it upside down, making sure the top of Lincoln’s head is pointing to the floor. Then dip that into a tread. If the tread goes over Lincoln’s forehead, your tires still have good life in them. If you can still see Lincoln’s forehead, it’s time to have them changed. 

Car Manicure

If you’re strapped for cash or aren’t really prepared for a whole exterior redo for your car in the unfortunate event that you get scratches on it or someone keys it (in which case, whatever on Earth did you do?), all you have to do is grab a bottle of nail polish. 

image courtesy of duaria.com

Of course, make sure that it’s the same color as your car, and then just paint over the scratches. This won’t fully erase them, but it will be enough to make them less noticeable until you finally can get your car repainted. 

A Shoe For Your Coffee

We don’t want to sound greedy or such a complainer, but sometimes, there just aren’t enough cup holders in the car. There are some people out there who need more than two cups of coffee at a time, ok? But, in all seriousness, there are plenty of times when an additional cup holder would be handy. 

image courtesy of autoadvance.uk.co

If you’re ever in need of that extra one, simply look down at your feet. It might not smell that great, but your shoe can serve as a perfectly suitable cup holder. Just place it between the seats and set your cup inside. If it’s still a little loose, try adding some tissues or maybe even a sock to keep your cup in place. 

Rice Vs Moisture

Remember that hack for when your phone gets wet, and you put it in a bag of rice to get rid of the moisture and hopefully get your phone back? Well, that same principle works with getting condensation out from your car too. 

image courtesy of superdehumidifier.com

It’s annoying having your windshields getting blocked by all that condensation when driving. Sure, you can still see a bit, but who wants that? To avoid this occurring, fill a cloth bag with rice and place it on top of your dashboard. This will absorb all that excess moisture and leave your windshield nice and clear. Don’t forget to microwave the bag of rice every once in a while, though, to dry it out. 

Cool Car and Cool Summer

Sitting in traffic is bad enough as it is but imagine doing that in the middle of a hot summer just when your AC has decided not to go to work that day. It sucks, doesn’t it? And while you think that rolling down all four windows would do the trick, it might not be the best way to cool down your car. 

image courtesy of Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock

The best way to get the maximum benefit of all that air coming in is to simply roll down your two front windows instead of every window. This will force the air to circulate and force the hot air out and allow the cool air in so you get to stay cooler a lot better. 

Wiper and Mirror Socks

In particularly harsh weather, we’d want to turn our wipers to full blast to get a clear view of the road. Unfortunately, this can cause scratches to the windshield, especially if there is dirt trapped underneath them. To make sure this doesn’t happen and to take care of your wipers, wrap them tightly with women’s stockings.

image courtesy of Allstate/ YouTube

In addition to protecting your dashboard and wipers, this tip can also help to protect your wipers from a build-up of ice. It also works for your mirrors, and if you don’t have stockings, socks will work just as well. 

East Is The Way To Go

Even in the winter, there are times when we just have to rush out the door and into the morning traffic. And in those moments, nobody has the time to wait for all that ice to melt or to go grab something to melt it or crack it off. Fortunately, nature might be of help. 

image courtesy of cheapcarscanda.com

If you don’t park in a garage, try parking your car with your windshield facing East. This way, you get the full blast of the sunrise and can let that early morning sun do all the melting for you. Now, you can just rush off to work as usual. 

Gas Tank Treasure Hunt

Oftentimes, when it’s a new car, a borrowed car, or a rented car, finding the gas tank can be like finding Indiana Jones’ treasure. And it can be particularly frustrating when you pull up to the wrong side when getting gas. 

image courtesy of instagram.com/backonmylizzie

If you pay attention to your gas meter gauge, though, you’ll notice that there is a little arrow beside the gas pump icon. That arrow points to the side where the gas tank is located. Now you won’t have to be so confused every time you need to fill up the tank. 

The Tennis Ball Trick

How many times has your car hit your back wall, or how many times have you hit random objects scattered in your garage? It might be small, but over time, those small collisions can result in scratches plus, who in the world likes hitting stuff over and over again? 

image courtesy of autoevolution.com

One small solution for this is a tennis ball. Park your car right, and then mark the spot and placement by hanging a tennis ball right where your windshield should be. This way, you’ll have a little marker telling you when you’ve parked alright already. 

The Wonders of Hand Sanitizer

As if freezing your butt off and risking slipping and breaking a hip isn’t bad enough, cold winter days can also leave your whole car covered in ice, and your keyhole jammed. To solve this issue, spare some of that hand sanitizer that we’re pretty sure you have a good stock of right now. 

image courtesy of onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Squeeze a generous amount of it into your lock. Try and make sure that it really gets in there, and just watch as the alcohol melt up the ice. Not only do you get an open keyhole, but now you get one that is sanitized as well. Neat, isn’t it?

The Garage Noodle

Pool noodles may seem completely useless to a lot of us in real life, but outside the pool, these things actually have plenty of clever uses; one of them is to keep your car door safe from door dings. 

image courtesy of foodfashionhome.com

If you have a tight garage, it can be easy to get door dings but simply cut your pool noodle in half, affix it on your wall where your door usually opens against, and you’ll have a soft bumper to cushion your door. You can also attach it where your car’s front goes if your space is really that tight. 

Gas Hack

We always want to get our money’s worth with gas, but apparently, we can’t do that if we continue to keep rushing while filling up our gas like we were in the middle of a Fast and the Furious car chase. 

image courtesy of instagram.com/lareina.mimi_

Next time you pump gas, try going a bit slower. Only hold the pump at 50% and maybe even relax a bit as you slowly fill up your tank. This way, you’ll get less air inside your tank and more gas. 

All That Extra Ceiling Space

A car isn’t the best place to need extra storage. After we’ve filled out all the nooks and crannies of our vehicles which isn’t much, it’s safe to say that we are always in need of more. In that case, why not make your own with a simple mesh netting and some bungy cords?

image courtesy of .ebay.fr/sch/i.html

Simply tie some bungee cords to a mesh net and then attach these cords to all four hand holders of your car. With that, you’ll have a whole lot of space with your ceiling storage. You can’t put too many things in it, though, unless you don’t mind banging your head on something every time you get in your car. 

Shoe Organizers Don’t Just Belong To The House

Aside from your car ceiling, you can also make use of your backseats for extra storage space but not with those single pocket stuff that they sell for cars, though. Instead, get yourself a pair of great shoe organizers. 

image courtesy of hackable.com

Shoe organizers have tons of pockets which makes them so convenient for storage and also organization. Not only can you keep so much more stuff right within reach, but you also won’t have to worry about digging through a mess before getting to it, as everything will be arranged neatly.

Skipping The Speeding

Speeding may have speed in its name, but trust us, it’s not the best or quickest way to get to your destination. You’ll only be wearing out your brakes since you’ll be forced to stop at almost every stoplight on your route. 

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com/g/vinnikava

The better way to get wherever you’re heading faster is actually to follow the speed limits. See, traffic lights and speed limits were actually designed to help you because traffic lights were made in a way that would let you cruise through most green lights if you just stick to the speed limit. You get to your destination faster, and you experience less road rage and anxiety. 

Olive Oil Cleaner

Olive oil has long graduated from being a simple cooking ingredient into an all-around product. People have been fondly using it to keep their hair and skin looking nice. And now, you can also use it to give your car dashboard a dazzling shine.

image courtesy of chasingabetterlife.com

All you have to do is place a few droplets of olive oil on a coffee filter and use that to wipe down your dash. It won’t help you cook eggs in there in the summer, and it might have a bit of a smell for a while until it has soaked in properly, but it will help your dash look as good as new. 

Stockings To The Rescue Again

Maybe it’s time you stock up on extra pairs of stockings. These things are just so handy for your car. Aside from keeping frost from your wipers, stockings can also come to the rescue as a temporary fix if your fan belt snaps. 

image courtesy of liveabout.com

If your fan belt snaps, break and stop your car as quickly as you can. Then, turn it off, remove the damaged belt, and tie the stockings tightly around the engine pulley. This might be enough to get you home or to a shop where you can have it properly repaired.

Toothpaste Vs Foggy Headlights

Foggy headlights are never ideal, and you shouldn’t have to wait or even go to a car shop to get them cleaned because you can do it right at home. All you need is your brushing items, and by this, we mean toothpaste and another toothbrush, not the one you’re using. 

image courtesy of sunlitspaces.com

Grab your toothpaste, place a few drops on your headlights, and just scrub it all over until the surface of the light is fully covered. After that, don’t immediately wash it off. Let it dry for a while. Then wash it with warm water, and voila, you have nice clear headlights. 

Bye Bye Stickers

Don’t you just hate it when stickers don’t peel off properly, and you’re left with this sticky mess that gets all the dust and ruins everything? It makes replacing car stickers and decals a lot more frustrating than it really should be. 

image courtesy of Evan Sears/ Cars.com

Luckily, there is a way to make this process a lot less painless and a lot neater. Take your hairdryer, and before attempting to peel off those stickers, apply a little heat to them. This will help take them off a lot faster and leave no sticky residue at all. 

Slime Clean Out

We all know about those satisfying slime videos, right? Well, if you haven’t seen it, there was a guy who blew up on TikTok because of his video where he used slime to clean up his car, and we are totally here for it. 

image courtesy of Lazada.com.ph

You can simply run the slime or goo around your car interior, and it will pick up any debris or dust it comes in contact with. It’s just as good as any cleaning cloth you can find in stores, and it’s cheap. You can even make your own DIY cleaning slime. 

Keep Cup Holders Clean

We can’t count how many times crumbs, and all other nasty items get into our cup holders. It’s like aside from holding on to our drinks; their other job is just to collect all kinds of nastiness. There is an easy way to keep them clean, though. 

image courtesy of onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Instead of vacuuming them every single day, simply put a couple of cupcake holders in there. They’ll catch whatever falls in there, and you’ll just have to pick them up, toss out the contents, and replace them. Easy, and it doesn’t even take a minute out of your day to clean. 

DIY Tints

We love the feel of the sun every once in a while, especially for those early morning drives when everything just starts off so cold and gray. However, we don’t love it when those rays come out and get in our eyes. They’re not only inconvenient, but they’re painful and not a great reason to start getting irritated in the day. 

image courtesy of Lifehack.org

Fortunately, pilots came up with a wonderful trick to fight this with tinted plastic sheets. You don’t have to cover your windshield with them, but you only have to select certain spots where the sun always hits that troubles you. And amazingly, you can use the static of your windshield to help the plastic stick. Sure, visors do the same thing, but this just ups the game, doesn’t it?

Fresh Wipers

When you’re behind the wheel, nothing is more crucial than good visibility. Even if you have a great engine and a tank full of gas, you won’t get anywhere when you can’t see the road clearly. That is why it’s also important to keep your wipers clean. 

image courtesy of pakwheels.com

Your wipers drag all kinds of stuff all over your windshield, and if you don’t clean them, you get all kinds of gunk being smeared all over your windshield every time you use them. So take a few minutes, get a good microfiber cloth and some glass cleaner, and wipe down your wipers. You’ll surely be thanking this reminder/ tip once you use those wipers on the road again. 

Car Paper Towel Holder

Paper towels always come in handy wherever you go but more especially in your car where there are chances of spills or dust marks and grime anywhere and anytime. However, where can you store some without them taking up more space than necessary?

image courtesy of familyhandyman.com

The answer to that is in your trunk. And no, we don’t mean for you to dump your paper towel there. Take some bungee cord, put it through your paper towel, and then tie it to the underside of your trunk lid. This saves space and prevents your paper towels from just rolling around and collecting dirt in there. 

Pool Noodle Part Two

As it seems, pool noodles actually have more use outside the pool rather than in it, especially when it comes to cars. Aside from serving as door bumpers, they can also help you prevent losing anything in your vehicle. 

image courtesy of Alpacalypse28/ Reddit

It is just too easy for anything to slip through the sides of our car seats and be lost there. Instead of repeatedly wasting time reaching down and feeling around for it, though, you can prevent yourself from losing things down there by wedging in pool noodle pieces in those car seat gaps. 

Winter Driving Survival

Aside from the cold, winter seasons can make driving especially difficult because of the icy roads. Without enough friction between the road and the tires, it will be a struggle to keep control of your car and drive safely. 

image courtesy of thefamilyhandyman.com

To help with that, you can try adding more weight to the back tires by placing a couple of water softener salt bags on the edge of your trunk. This will give you more grip but keep in mind; this might not work so well with front-wheel drive vehicles. 

 Carabiners Makes Groceries A Lot Easier To Handle

You have a trunk to keep all your groceries in, we know. However, we also know that more often than once, we get a too many things, and our trunk ends up not having enough space. We can keep things in the backseat, but we can’t really guarantee things will not spill out. 

image courtesy of zooohome.tk

To solve this little problem, all you’d need are a couple of carabiners. Hang them up on your front seats, and voila, you have a hook to hang your groceries on where you can be sure they’ll be safe and sound. Say goodbye to spilled condiments and broken eggs. 

Making Keyrings Less Painful

You might not have noticed it before, but keyrings can cause a lot of pain. Every time you have to add a key, you have to subject your fingers or your fingernails to a good amount of pain because, well, keyrings aren’t made to be easy to open. 

image courtesy of hackable.com

There is a way to stop torturing yourself every time you have to add a new key in, though. Simply use a staple remover to hold the keyring apart. Not only do you get to add keys in a few seconds, but you also get to keep your fingers and manicure intact. 

Vinegar Ice Melter

Icy windshields are one of the biggest inconveniences on cold winter mornings when you are in a rush. There you are, already panicking and getting anxious about being late for work, and then you have no choice but to deal with all that ice. 

image courtesy of sixcleversisters.com

Instead of waiting for your heater to do the slow, painstaking job, though, you can simply use a combination of water and vinegar to get the job done faster. Mix the two in a spray bottle, give the ice on your windshield a few good spritzes and just watch as the ice dissolves. Clean it all up, and you’re good to go. 

DIY Car Freshener

As much as we want to have that fresh pine, citrus, or that sweet, calming lavender scent in our car, some car fresheners are just scams. They don’t do the trick, and they’re expensive, so what do we do? We can make our own car fresheners. 

image courtesy of familyhandyman.com

Take a mason jar or any other container, and then place some holes in the lid. After that, fill the container with scented candle wax and place it in your cup holder. When your car gets warm, the wax will slowly melt and release those sweet scents into your car. 

Easy To Find Garage Opener

Just as you arrive home from a long day, you set out to open the garage door with your remote only to find that it has somehow slipped into the crevices of your car only to be found after minutes of exhausting search. It’s annoying, and it happens to all of us, but maybe not for long. 

image courtesy of chamberlain.com

You can actually install your garage opener into your car. Of course, you might need some professional help to do it, but you can also DIY it if you’re handy with a car. You’ll just need a bit of patience, and you can make your life as a car owner a little bit easier.