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18 Top Car Hacks

gimballed cup holder

Quick and Simple Solutions to Make Driving Easier

Car technology is progressing in leaps and bounds these days, and your average modern car is crammed with gadgets for every possible purpose. But if you own an older car, or aren't great with technology, these low-tech car hacks could help you out.

Storage Hacks

  • Is your car always full of rubbish? Long journeys can contribute to a staggering build-up of wrappers, crisp packets, tissues and other detritus. Get your hands on a plastic cereal box and line it with a carrier bag. Use it as a portable mini-bin in your car, and close the lid when driving to stop all the rubbish falling out.
  • Stuck for storage space? Attach a small mesh bungee net to the inside of the roof of your car. Use it to hold maps, spare clothes, heat shields, and anything else that's kicking about on your back seat.
  • Does your vintage car lack cup holders? You can use a shoe or a roll of duct tape to hold your cups upright, but if you're after a more elegant solution we have just the thing. Boating and marine suppliers sell gimballed cup holders which can be easily mounted to car door panels and will securely hold your beverage in place without detracting from your style.
  • Use a fabric shoe organiser to keep your car tidy. Attach it to the back of the front seat and use it to store sunglasses, water bottles, tools and any other small items you need to take on your trip.
  • Do you suffer from a cluttered car boot? Struggle to fit your shopping in around pairs of wellies, cans of WD40 and spare towels? A cheap solution is to use a laundry basket or a plastic storage box to hold all of your bits and pieces and stop them rolling around and getting all disorganised while you're on the move.

Winter Hacks

  • Get up every winter morning to a frosted windscreen? Park facing east and when the sun comes up it will help melt the ice away.
  • Door locks all frosted up? Use hand sanitizer to defrost them.
  • Spray your car locks with WD40 every night in the winter to stop them seizing and freezing shut.
  • Afraid of getting stuck on an icy road? Take a towel with you and wedge it under your rear wheels. The towel will give you enough traction to get going again. Forgot your towel? Use the floor mats from inside your car in an emergency.

Summer Hacks

  • In the summer, getting into a hot car can be an ordeal. To prevent your car feeling like an oven, open the windows fully on one side, then go to the other side and open and close the front door a few times. This will promote air circulation and can reduce the temperature inside your car by up to 10 degrees in just a few seconds.
  • Another tip for a hot car: When you park, turn the steering wheel round 180 degrees. When you get back in, the top part of the wheel you need to hold will be cooler, preventing hand burns.
Car Noodle

Car Care Hacks

  • Use toothpaste to clean dirty, smeared headlights. Apply the toothpaste with a cloth using a circular motion. Then wipe away with a damp cloth to reveal sparkly clean lights.
  • Fed up of banging your car door on the garage walls when you get out? Cut a foam swimming pool noodle in half length-wise and fix it to the wall. Now your car door will bounce harmlessly on the foam every time you open it.
  • Keep bumping your nose on the wall when you drive into the garage? Or do you get out only to find you can't close the garage door because your rear end is sticking out too far? Poke a small hole all the way through a tennis ball, then thread a long piece of string through and knot it at the end. In the garage, work out where your optimum stopping point should be, then hang the string from the ceiling over the exact spot. Next time you drive your car into the garage, stop when you hit the tennis ball and you'll be in the perfect position.
  • There's nothing more frustrating than discovering a dent on your car. A cheap and easy way to make your car look brand new again is to apply a sink plunger to the dent and suck the dented panel back into place.
Car Key Fob

Emergency Hacks

  • If you're lost and need directions, the best place to go is the local pizza delivery shop. Pizza delivery guys will know the area like the back of their hand and will give you the best directions. Of course, if you can't find the pizza delivery place you may have to rely on other methods.
  • If your car fob fails to work over a distance, hold it up under your chin. It sounds far-fetched, but the fluids inside your head can actually amplify the wireless range of your fob, making it more effective over a longer distance.
  • Keep a box of crayons in your car in case of emergencies. Yes, maybe you can use them to draw an SOS sign - but you can also use them as candles. A lit crayon will burn for up to 30 minutes, but beware of hot wax!<