9 Neat and Nifty Car Hacks You Just Can’t Live Without
Updated May 18, 2018
There are some lame hacks out there using nail polish and toothpaste. You’ll find no beauty supplies in our hacks, just 100% ingenuity to make life easier. Click next to scroll through our list and feel free to comment with your own hacks
Use Steel Wool to Detail Your Windshield
Ever wonder how detailers manage to get all those drops of tree sap and other assorted spots off your car’s windshield? It’s not with Windex and paper towels, that’s for sure. A detailer’s trick is to use 0000 (four zeros) Extra Fine steel wool to clean the glass. Not only will it not damage the glass, it’s recommended for the task by the steel wool manufacturers themselves.
Tired of ripping your fingers to shreds putting a key on a key ring?
Many years ago I worked at a hardware store where we cut keys, and I always dreaded when a customer handed me a key to cut that was still on the ring (expecting me to somehow magically know how to remove the key from the ring). It wasn’t until recently that I learned the secret: a staple remover. Put the teeth of the staple remover in between the two rings, then press down to make the rings separate. And to think, all that time staple removers were only two aisles away.
Exorcise Rodents Out From Under Your Car’s Hood
Who knows why but mice and rats like to chew on electrical wires and cables. Maybe they’re looking for a live wire so they get a little “tingle” when they chomp down. But seriously they have a brain the size of a peanut so there’s not much logic here. A method of keeping them from chewing through the wiring harness of your car is to tie fabric softener sheets in safe, out of the way, places in your engine compartment. The scent drives the rodents away. Just remember to change out the sheets as the scent diminishes.
Use Your Passenger Seat Warmer to Keep Take-out Food Hot
Except for people who like cold pizza, no one else likes cold pizza. So why disappoint your friends and/or family. Turn the passenger side seat heater to 11 and place you to-go items on the warming seat. While the pizza (or wings, or chow mein) won’t be as hot as when it came out of the oven (or wok), it will stay just a little warmer on the trip home.
Keep Drinks Cold When You Don’t Have a Cooler
A surprising number of cars have what at first sounds like a ridiculous feature: an air conditioned glove compartment. Perhaps its because of ridicule that carmakers have stopped mentioning the feature, but thankfully they keep installing it. You can find them in vehicles as varied as the Kia Soul and the VW Passat. It’s really very simple, if your vehicle is so equipped, there’s an A/C vent in your glove box. It’s not there to cool your registration and insurance card for the police officer who stopped you — it’s so you can stock it full of cans of your favorite beverage and keep them cool during your voyage. Be careful, though, some states have laws against even closed containers of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the car.
Use a Plastic Container as a Trash Can
It seems like it takes my kids just days to turn the Wagon Queen Family Truckster into the Wagon Queen Family Dumpster. The floor gets covered in food wrappers, old homework assignments, empty water bottles, clean and dirty napkins, and who knows what else. I’ve not tried this hack yet but it’s on my list. I like the fact that if it tips over, the small opening is less likely to allow all the contents to run out, and when you’re handed a half-finished Popsicle to dispose of due to a crippling brain freeze attack, the fact that it’s lined with a plastic bag makes cleaning-up wet, sticky items simple.
Static Cling Tinted Plastic as a Moveable Shade
This hack comes to us from the world of civil aviation. Clearly, a clever pilot realized that the Slap On Sunshield he or she had purchased for their airplane would work on their car or truck as well. Just peel if off and stick it to where the sun is coming through the glass. Reposition it as many times as you like as it sticks via static. The manufacturer claims that they absorb 78% of visible light and will stick to any smooth surface. They’re ridiculously cheap and can be purchased from pilot and aircraft supply companies. Don’t know any? No worries, you can find the Sunshield on those big websites that sell stuff, like the one that starts with an A or the one that starts with an e.
Need extra storage? Hook a mesh bungee to your roof handles.
I’m not even sure why they still put coat hooks in cars anymore. Back in the days of Mad Men, businessmen would hang their jackets on the hook (or on a hanger on the hook) in their Cadillacs and housewives would use the hook(s) in their station wagons to hang laundry they picked up from the dry cleaners. Life just isn’t like that anymore.
A modern use is to utilize them as anchors for a bungee net (you can find them at many bike shops and outdoor stores) to create some extra storage inside your car. If you’re a snowboarder, for example, and are on a road trip with three of your closest friends, you can stuff your coats, hats, gloves, etc. into the bungee net, out of the way, off the floor, and in a place where they’ll dry.
Boost the Range of your Car Remote by Using a Body Part
When I first heard of this I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. I couldn’t imagine that doing this would make any difference. And then I tried it. The trick to increase the range of the remote key fob is to hold it underneath your chin. Like I mentioned, I tried this (when no one was looking) and I picked up maybe 20 feet of range. Maybe enough to help me find my car at long-term airport parking.
This floated around the interweb for some time, until the New York Times picked-up on the story and went to an expert to confirm the phenomenon as well as explain how it works. According to Tim Pozar, a Silicon Valley radio engineer:
“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.”
Nice to know my head is good for something!
Categories: Gear Grinding