Life

13 Strange But True Ways To Keep Your Car In Tip-Top Shape

Why you need toothpaste, pool noodles, nail polish and a toilet plunger for your car.

Chances are you rely heavily on your car. If your city doesn’t have good public transportation, a vehicle can be a necessity to get to the grocery store, the doctor’s office and the kids’ school.

But, from gas to maintenance to repairs, owning a car can be expensive.

Here are 13 hacks that will keep your car in tip-top shape, make driving more pleasant—and maybe even save you a few bucks along the way.

1. Clean Headlights With Toothpaste

To see things more clearly, clean your cloudy headlights with toothpaste. There are mild abrasives in your toothpaste (which is how it gets the plaque off your teeth) that clean the headlight, and it can also fill in small cracks. If only the toothpaste could fill in those cavities!

toothpaste
wwarby/Flickr

2. Use Your Head To Lock Your Car

Do you want to feel like a magician? If you’re too far from your car for your key fob to work, try using your head as a personal satellite. Yes, really. Your body’s fluids can extend the wireless signal from your key fob to the parked car. Just put your car key fob under your chin, open your mouth, and push the button on your keychain.

Don’t believe us? Here’s the science behind this cool hack:

3. Defog Your Car By Turning On The Air Conditioning

It sounds crazy, but there is a reason this works. You can defog your car faster using this multi-step process:

  1. Turn the heat on full blast to eliminate moisture in the air.
  2. Turn on the A/C to make it more arid.
  3. Switch back to heat, and switch off the air recirculation button (the one with the arrow twirling around the inside of the car). Let that cold outside air come into the car while the heat is on.
  4. Open the windows. Not a lot, since it’s clearly cold outside, but enough to let cold air come into the car, drying it even more.

This works much quicker than just blasting the defrost when you first get in the car.

car
bierdoctor/Flickr

4. Cover The Windshield During Winter

In the summer, you may use a sunshade to prevent the smoldering sun heating up your car’s interior. In the winter, you can do the same thing, except put a blanket, tarp or plastic tablecloth over the outside of your windshield to protect it from snow and ice. This also keeps your windshield wipers from sticking to the glass.

car 2
Tina Franklin/Flickr

5. Try This Weird, But Efficient Way To Cool Down Your Car

Instead of blasting the air conditioning (or if your A/C doesn’t work), try this instead:

  1. Roll down the driver’s side window.
  2. Go to the passenger side, and open and close the doors a few times.

This forces the hot air out of the car, cooling your car faster than simply relying on the air conditioning to cool down your hotbox.

sunny day car photo
Flickr | wbaiv

 

6. Use Clear Nail Polish To Repair Windshield Cracks

You know the old trick where you put clear nail polish on pantyhose to stop a run from going all the way down your leg? Well, the same theory works on small cracks in your windshield. Instead of waiting for the windshield to completely crack, put some nail polish on it as soon as you notice a small fracture.

car 4
jganderson/Flickr

RELATED: The Simplest Way To Keep The Interior Of Your Car Clean

7. De-Ice A Frozen Lock With Hand Sanitizer

The alcohol in hand sanitizer will melt the ice right off your car door handle. Other ways to de-ice frozen locks in a pinch include breathing warm air onto the door handle or applying some WD-40.

car 5
stevensnodgrass/Flickr

8. Borrow The Kids’ Pool Noodles For Your Garage

Do you hit the garage wall every time you open your car door? Place a pool noodle along the side of the garage, and it will protect your car from getting door dinged on a daily basis.

noodle
ashleigh290/Flickr

9. Be Your Own Pizza Delivery Service

Who says you have to hurry home before your takeout gets cold? Why not use your seat warmer to heat up the large pizza sitting next to you?

pizza
beleaveme/Flickr

10. Get Directions From Delivery Drivers

Even with every square inch of this country mapped out thanks to Google, you could (theoretically) still get lost. Instead of asking the gas station attendant for directions, ask the local pizza or food delivery service. They have to drive the roads all the time, and they know where they’re going.

pizza 2
athomson/Flickr

11. Remove Dents With A Plunger

If you have a minor dent, you may be able to repair it on the cheap with a plunger.

car 6
Nick/Flickr

12. Don’t Buy Any More Air Fresheners

Instead of shelling out good money for those car freshener trees that you hang from the rearview mirror, simply use an herbal tea bag. Wrap it in a breathable cloth, and hang it on the mirror. Tea bags are much cheaper to replace, and there are plenty of soothing scents to choose from. If you’re prone to road rage, may we suggest some calming lavender?

car 7
Tony Alter/Flickr

RELATED: 10 Tricks To Get Your Car Cleaner Than Ever Before

13. Clean With Coca-Cola

Most soda is so acidic, it can ruin your teeth. So, instead of drinking it, why not use Coca-Cola on your car to get rid of rust?

coke
jeepersmedia/Flickr