Car Problem Home RemediesAuto Smarts
Through years of commuting, road tripping, and season changing, we put our cars through their paces. So every once in a while, they need a little love.
But getting a pro to remove a dent, fix a scratch, or clean the headlights can dig into your wallet. So check out these 10 amazing car hacks you've probably never considered, and fix your car on the cheap with things you've got laying around the house:
- De-ice your locks with hand sanitizer - Car locks can ice over in the winter. So squirt a little waterless hand sanitizer on your key and insert it in the lock. The same alcohol content that kills germs on dirty hands also melts away the ice in the lock.
- Remove dents with dry ice - The extreme cold of dry ice can help pop dents! Pick some up at your local grocery store (just remember to pick it up with gloves…dry ice can hurt your skin!). Then apply it to the dent repeatedly until it’s gone.
- Clean your engine with soap and water - A spotless engine is easier to service. Clean it often with some water and a little dishwasher detergent (degreaser works well too). First, cover all the sensitive areas (electrical parts, battery, air intake, and distributor) with plastic bags, then scrub and rinse the engine with a soft rag.
- Fix scratches with nail polish - Touch-up paint always works best, but if you’re in a pinch, clear nail polish helps to fill in scratches and cover up exposed metal to avoid rust.
- Unlock your car with a shoelace - Locking yourself out of your car is frustrating…and a little embarrassing. But don’t let it ruin your day. Tie a loop in a shoelace large enough to wrap around your door lock. Work it into the space between the car and the door, then move it until the loop fits around the door lock. Lasso it, and lift up the lock!
- Improve fuel economy by “Hypermiling” - Like clipping coupons and scoping out deals, there are thrifty ways to save on fuel economy too! Try:
- Giving the car in front of you more space. Then you can coast to a stop instead of slamming on the breaks.
- Turning off your engine whenever you’re stopped for more than a few minutes.
- Using cruise control to maintain your speed.
- Remember where you parked with Smartphone photos - Parking lots and garages can be endless mazes. So take out your Smartphone, snap a few pictures of your location and markers around you before you leave the car, and you’ll find it again in no time.
- Clean foggy headlights with toothpaste - Over time, headlights get oxidized and dirty. But the same stuff that makes your teeth shine can help make your headlights bright again too! Slather plenty of the stuff on your headlights, buff it in with a dry cloth, rinse with water, and wipe clean for clear headlights on the cheap.
- Clear your windshield with a razor blade - Dead bugs, sap, and other gunk spotting up your windshield? Stuck on stuff like that won’t come off with washer fluid. Try scraping them off with a razorblade. Just be careful!
- Protect your ignition and lighten your keychain - A heavy keychain can weigh your pocket book down and make your jeans look bulky and awkward. But they can also weigh down your ignition switch, causing premature wear and tear. So keep your keys lean, get a sleek profile, and protect your car’s ignition.