Let’s face it: we all spend way too much time in our cars. Whether it’s commuting to work, heading to the grocery store or running an endless list of errands, our vehicles generally undergo pretty heavy usage. And over time, that can lead to all sorts of problems. These ingenious car hacks, then, offer solutions to pretty much everything that might affect your daily drive, along with a few handy tips for making your commute that little bit smoother.
20. Speed up seat belt retractors
If your seat belt is pulling and retracting too slowly, you can shave precious seconds off your journey by speeding the mechanism up. Rather than replacing the retractor entirely, however, all you need is a cheap can of furniture polish. Spray it onto your belt, then pull and release the belt a few times to let the polish lubricate the retractor.
19. Use duct tape for a makeshift cup holder
Don’t have enough cup holders in your car? Or are they all full of old coffee cups that you’re probably, definitely going to clear out one of these days? Duct tape is your friend. Indeed, the roll is basically the perfect size for yet another coffee cup to fill up your car. Just pop it on the passenger seat, and maybe tape it down for good measure.
18. Clean your air vents with a foam paintbrush
Take a close look at the air vents in your car, and you’ll probably notice they’re clogged with dust. When you turn on the air conditioning, all that dust is wafting right into your face. So, you’ll probably want to pick up a foam paintbrush to dust it out. They’re small enough to do the job, and you can even wash and reuse them.
17. Repair dings with nail polish
Over time, your car is going to pick up the odd nick, scratch and ding to its bodywork. If you want to keep it looking pristine, you don’t have to spend a fortune. In fact, you can just use nail polish in a color that matches your car. It’s not just a short-term fix, either, as it lasts for years and protects your car from rust.
16. Keep food warm with heated seats
This is probably not the most environmentally-friendly car hack, but it works in a pinch. We just wouldn’t advise doing it all the time. Yes, if you really need to keep your food warm on the journey home – say, from that late-night McDonald’s venture – then you could always pop it on the passenger seat and turn on the seat warmer.
15. Remove dents with a plunger
Small dings aren’t the only thing you can fix at home – there’s also no need to pay out to get medium-sized dents removed. Indeed, as long as they’re smaller than a regular plunger, then you can use one to suck the affected area back to its normal shape.
14. Clean your headlights with toothpaste
That’s right – toothpaste isn’t just great for cleaning your teeth. Indeed, its gently abrasive properties, which help polish up your tusks, can also work wonders on car headlights. Simply clean the headlight with soap, then use a cloth to apply toothpaste and water. The results will literally dazzle you.
13. Quickly cool down your car without A/C
On those hot summer days, it’s no secret that your car practically turns into an oven. But if your A/C is busted, then there is another option to cool down your vehicle. Roll down the window on one side to let cool air in, then open and close the door on the other side several times to release the hot air.
12. Defrost your car using vinegar and water
We’ve all been caught off-guard by an unexpected freeze at one point or another. Instead of wasting time scraping the ice off your windshield, though, you could try spraying it with a mixture of vinegar and water. Indeed, the ice will start to dissolve straight away. And if you have advance warning of severe weather conditions, you can even spray it to prevent freezing.
11. De-ice locks using hand sanitizer
If the weather is so severe that your door locks have frozen shut, don’t panic just yet. Indeed, simply squeeze a few drops of hand sanitizer onto your key, then insert it into the lock. Its rubbing alcohol content will melt away the ice pretty much immediately, allowing you to get into your car and out of the cold.
10. Use a tennis ball to guide your parking
Many modern cars have sensors that take all the guesswork out of parking. However, there is a cheaper way to make sure you don’t damage your car – at least while parking in the garage. A simple tennis ball hanging from the ceiling can help you get lined up, and it will also let you know when to stop reversing.
9. Use a cereal dispenser as a trash can
If you’re tired of your car filling up with garbage, then you need some way of organizing it. A trash can would usually do the trick in your house, but that’s not exactly the most efficient use of space in a car. In steps the trusty cereal dispenser, then – small, thin and with a lid that seals shut to prevent spillages.
8. Prevent car windows from fogging up
Waiting for your windows to de-mist can be a drag. Thankfully, there’s a way to stop that frustrating fogging altogether – although it may seem fairly unorthodox. First, grab an old pair of socks. Then, fill one with kitty litter, wrap it with the other, and place them on your dash. The litter will absorb the moisture in the air before it ever gets chance to fog up your windshield.
7. Keep spare socks in the glove box
Preventing foggy windows isn’t the only use for socks in the car, however. Indeed, if your car gets stuck in icy conditions, you may need to give it a push. But what’s to stop you slipping everywhere too? Well, the socks. Yes, just slip them over your shoes, and they’ll give you much better traction in a pinch.
6. Prevent windshield wipers from freezing
Okay, so we weren’t done with the uses for socks. Yes, another amazing car hack for them is preventing your windshield wipers from freezing over in the winter. And it couldn’t be easier – just slide a sock over each blade. And for extra care, lift them up and away from the windshield first.
5. Keep kitty litter in your trunk for traction on ice
Yes, it’s not just socks that have multiple uses in your car. As well as absorbing lingering moisture, kitty litter can help if you find yourself trapped on ice. The principle is the same: scattering the litter under and around your tires will absorb the moisture on the ground, causing it to expand. Then, it should give you enough grip to get going.
4. Block the sun’s glare with tinted plastic sheets
Sure, your car probably has a couple of visors meant to block out that annoying glare from the sun. But there’s always one awkward spot that they just won’t cover, leaving you squinting through your commute. To avoid unnecessary eye strain, then, simply tape up some tinted plastic sheets in the offending areas. As you can see, pilots do it too. And if it works for them…
3. Make a smartphone holder with a rubber band
Need to mount your phone on your dash for the GPS but don’t have a smartphone mount? There’s an easier, and cheaper, way to do it. Indeed, all you have to do is pass a rubber band through your air vents, pulling it out the other end with a pen. Then, slide your phone through the two loops you’ve created, and it’ll hold in place.
2. Temporarily fix your fuel tank with chewed gum
Ideally, you should get yourself to a trained mechanic or service station as quickly as possible if your car’s leaking gas. But few of us actually notice holes in our tanks while parked in a garage, so as a temporary fix to get you there, you can seal the hole with chewed gum. Just don’t use it as a long-term solution.
1. Protect your car doors from garage walls with a pool noodle
If your car is too wide for your garage, you may find yourself constantly catching the doors on the walls. To preserve your vehicle’s bodywork, then, try affixing a pool noodle to the wall (you may need to cut it in half first). It’ll cushion your doors and prevent them from getting scratched on the wall.
There is one place where we probably spend more time than in the car, though. And that’s at home, of course. So, if you’re going to sort out your vehicle, why not try these nifty ways to maximize the storage space in your house? Just don’t blame us if this gives you the itch to give your entire abode a makeover.
20. Hide your thermostat
Not only do thermostats look unsightly, but they’re also prone to being tampered with by guests overstepping boundaries. You can solve all these problems, however, by simply hiding your thermostat behind a hinged painting or picture frame. Easy.
19. Store your pantry supplies in a shoe organizer
If you’re sick of having to root around in the depths of your cupboards or shelves for those rarely used ingredients, try hanging a shoe organizer over your pantry door. Yes, as it turns out, they’re not only useful for footwear.
18. Magnetize your hammer
Whether you’re building furniture or taking it apart, somehow there’s always a rogue nail that slips through your fingers – and doesn’t reappear until it embeds itself in your foot during a hazy night-time trip to the bathroom. Magnetizing the bottom of your hammer, then, is an ideal solution for keeping track of the pointy devils.
17. Hang your ironing board on coat hooks
Let’s face it: we’ve all had an ironing board fall on our faces at one point or another. Install a couple of coat hooks on the wall, however, and you’ll never need to fear opening the laundry cupboard again. If only there was a life hack that got us out of the ironing altogether…
16. Store laundry detergent in glass dispensers
There’s nothing aesthetically pleasing about bottles of detergent. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to give a little more class to your laundry room with glass drinks dispensers. Simply pile in the detergent and toss the unsightly bottle. Who knows – you may actually enjoy doing the laundry in future.
15. Keep spare paint in jars
Nobody wants paint cans littering up the joint. Luckily, that’s where jars come in. This is especially handy if you’ve just decorated and may have missed a spot – but it’s equally useful for rooms that could need a quick touch up every now and then.
14. Use spare shower curtain rods to increase storage
Fumbling around the shower floor for your toiletries is nobody’s idea of a good time, but when you share your bathroom with a few people, storage space can be tight. Chuck up a curtain rod, then, and all your hygiene-related struggles will be over.
13. Hang your jeans on “S” hooks
Folding and stacking your jeans can make it a pain when you need a pair near the bottom of the pile – but threading them through trouser hangers is way too much effort. Thankfully, there’s an easy compromise in the form of “S” hooks. You can thank us later.
12. Bury prescription bottles in the ground to hide keys
Leaving your spare key under a rock is basically an open invite to burglars in this day and age. So go one step further by sealing the key inside a prescription bottle and gluing a rock or a pinecone to the top. You’ll still be able to find it when you need it, but by burying it in the ground, you’re one step ahead of potential intruders.
11. Use tissue boxes to store plastic bags
In the interests of saving the environment, it’s a good idea to reuse and recycle your plastic bags when you go grocery shopping. But keeping them stored out of sight can be a tricky business – unless you have a spare tissue box to hand, that is.
10. Slice a hole into a tennis ball for an easy item holder
Stick a suction cup on the back, slice a wedge from the front, and your tennis ball becomes a sporty holder of all things practical: be it keys, a pen or even important documents. Stick a few of them up on your wall for a cool-as-they-come themed storage solution.
9. Use a kitchen rack to store clutch purses
Letting your bags run loose can be a nightmare when you’re trying to find a specific one to match your outfit. Handily, repurposed kitchen racks make for great clutch storage. Yes, you’ll never again have to experience the frantic search five minutes before going out. You’re welcome.
8. Attach your controllers to the wall with Velcro
Whether it’s a videogame controller or a TV remote, those electronics can quickly clutter up your coffee table or TV stand. A few strips of Velcro can be an absolute lifesaver, then, freeing up some precious surface area while also looking effortlessly cool on your wall.
7. Use a magnet to avoid losing your tweezers
When you think about it, tweezers are stupidly small. So stupidly small, in fact, that we’ve had to order an Amazon Dash button just to maintain a steady flow of replacement pairs when they inevitably go missing. A wiser purchase, though, would perhaps have been a magnet to keep them in one place.
6. Use fruit baskets for storing bathroom toys or accessories
The bathroom isn’t usually the biggest space in the house, so maximizing what little room there is can be crucial to a happy home. If you’ve got little ones with all sorts of bathtime toys and accessories, then, try hanging up a fruit basket or two. The multiple vertical levels are a godsend.
5. Use LEGO to organize your desk
Chances are, you’ve got a few LEGO bricks lying around. And if not, it may be worth a trip to your parents’ attic to retrieve your childhood stash. After all, they make for awesome desk organizers – cables even fit snugly in minifigures’ hands.
4. Use bungee cords to store loose balls
If there are any two words more nightmarish to storage makers than “loose balls,” we don’t want to hear them. Thankfully, where basketballs, footballs, soccer balls et al. are concerned, this storage-related loose end may have just been tied up, thanks to some handily repurposed bungee cords.
3. Hang a ladder to air clothes
Traditional clothes airers can take up a lot of valuable real estate in cramped settings. It seems silly, then, to prop one up on the floor when you’ve got an entire ceiling going unused. So if you’re short on space, try hanging up a ladder. Trust us: it’ll work wonders.
2. Use glass bottles to store bracelets
If you’re after a storage solution for your bracelets that’s as stylish as it is efficient, give this one a go. After all, clear glass bottles would fit into pretty much any décor, be it rustic, modern or otherwise. And you could even mix things up with colored glass bottles for a unique twist on this idea.
1. Use a magnetic strip to hang spice jars
Spice racks have confounded man since basically the dawn of time. Wall-mounted, straight racks are the most easily accessible, but they quickly become unruly with more than a handful of different jars. Rotating racks are more space-efficient, but tiresome to use. The answer? Magnets. Yes, it’s so simple, we can’t believe we didn’t think of it earlier.