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10 Easy-to-Remember Hacks for Car Owners

These car hacks will make daily vehicle maintainence a breeze.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
Dirty car headlight

We all tend to overlook the state of our vehicle every once in a while. Well, no more! These simple tips make it easy to have a well-maintained, clean car, without all the effort.

Looking Like New

1. Match to Cover the Scratch
Chips in your car’s paint job can be expensive to fix, so before you head to the auto body shop, see if you can find a crayon or nail polish that closely matches the color of your car. Fill in the nick, and then buff gently once the color is set. This technique works especially well with minor scratches!

2. The Perfect Trash Can on the Go
To keep trash from winding up in every compartment and on the floor, your car needs a trash receptacle. A plastic cereal container lined with a plastic grocery bag works well. Or try a large purse or tote lined with a plastic bag—it can hang in the back looped over the headrest of a front seat.

3. Easy Undercarriage Cleaning
Don’t forget to clean under your car, especially if you live in an area where salt and ice assault in winter. A trick for these hard-to-reach areas: Run a lawn sprinkler underneath the car and drive back and forth.

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Fast Freshening

4. Pin a Hint of Natural Scent
If you prefer a more subtle scent, try applying 3 to 5 drops of your favorite essential oil to a wooden clothespin. Then clip the pin to your car’s air vents. When the scent begins to fade, just refresh the pin with more essential oil. It’s easy and inexpensive.

Simple Safety and Maintenance

5. Boost Headlight Visibility
Keep your headlights clear and shining bright with toothpaste. Apply to each headlight with a cloth to polish, then rinse off with warm water. Mild abrasives help clear off any debris and cloudiness. Finish by cleaning and coating the headlights with car wax or furniture polish. Repeat monthly as needed.

6. Cushion Your Parking
If you park in a garage at home, chances are you’ve bumped a wall in the past—either while pulling in or opening a car door. Affixing pool noodles to the side and back walls of the garage can help protect your car from dents and dings. It’s like bumper parking. Cut the noodles in half lengthwise, then glue, nail, or bolt to the walls.

7. Coat That Crack
Small chip or crack in your windshield? Try coating it with clear nail polish to stop the spread until you can get it repaired. It will be a lot cheaper and faster to fix if you can contain the damage.

8. Erase Foggy Windows
To clear windows without leaving a smudgy mess, keep a chalkboard eraser in your car. Also, keep a stocking filled with kitty litter in your car to absorb moisture in the first place.

9. Free Up a Frozen Lock
There are many clever ways to fight freezing before it becomes a problem. But if you’re stuck with an already frozen lock or door, rub your key or door handle with a squirt of hand sanitizer. The alcohol it contains will help melt the ice so you can get into your car.

10. Skip Clearing Windows and Mirrors
Save yourself scraping and wiping time each morning by wrapping your side mirrors and windshield wipers in plastic bags or tube socks. Protect your windshields by placing old bath towels across them. When it’s time to drive, simply pull everything off and you’re ready to go!

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