18 Essential Auto Tricks Every Car Owner Should Know

Did you know you can boost your keyless remote's range by holding it to your head? Do you know the easiest way to get your car out of snow when it's stuck on the side of the road? Check out these and 16 more easy car hacks that everyone should know.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
5-minute read
Episode #17

Quick way to remove frost

Instead of scraping frost from your car’s windows and windshield, spray them with rubbing alcohol when you go out to start up your car. By the time you come back to drive, the frost will easily wipe away.

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You might not need new wipers!

Messy wipers are a safety hazard, and they’re also pretty annoying. If your wipers are smearing the windows, wipe the blades with some rubbing alcohol.

Keep car doors from freezing shut

It’s hard enough having to dig out your driveway and scrape off your car after a snowstorm. Save yourself the trouble of worrying about car doors freezing closed by spraying WD-40 in the lining.

One spray of WD-40 in the beginning of the winter should be all you need to repel ice.

Stuck in snow?

If your car gets stuck in an icy patch and your wheels aren’t getting any traction, help free it by using your car’s floor mats. Take them out and place under the tires, then drive to a safe place, retrieve the mats, and be on your way.

Keep ice off your windshield and mirrors

If you have to leave your car outside overnight in the winter, you can still keep your windshields ice- and frost-free. When the forecast calls for ice or snow, protect your car by placing two old bath towels across your windshield, then wrap your windshield wipers and side mirrors with plastic grocery bags. When it’s time to drive, simply remove and you’re ready to go, no scraping!

Keep locks from freezing

Here’s an old tip that still applies to those who don’t have keyless entry: To keep your car’s door locks safe from freezing with ice during the cold winter months, place a refrigerator magnet over the lock.

You can even take an old magnet (last year’s calendar from a local realtor, perhaps) and cut it into a circle that fits perfectly.

Increase your keyless entry range

Want to know how to increase the range of your car’s keyless entry by 30 percent? Just press it against your head as you use it. It will conduct the (perfectly safe) radio signal through your body, giving its travel power a boost. Strange but true!

Pay less for a new battery

When your car’s keyless remote needs a new battery, don’t head to the dealership for a replacement—depending on the kind of car you have, it can cost anywhere from $50 to $150. Instead, pry open your remote and check the size and type of battery you need. Then head to a hardware or electronics store for a much-cheaper alternative.

Check out Make-it-Green-Girl's article: How to Save Money on Gas

Use a potato for mud stains

Especially in wetter months, it’s hard to keep mud stains off your car’s carpet. To get rid of dried mud, first vacuum up as much dirt as you can, or remove by pressing packaging tape against it. Then, using the cut side of a raw potato, rub the stains. The enzymes in the potato will help dissolve the dirt. Allow the area to dry again, then blot with a wet rag to remove the marks.

Keep leather supple

If your car has leather interiors, keep them healthy by rubbing a bit of baby oil or olive oil on them. Oil is also great for scuffs and scratches on your dashboard.

You can eliminate marks on most car plastic by rubbing them with a dry rap dampened with baby or olive oil.

Superpower your vacuuming

An hour before you vacuum your car, sprinkle the carpet and upholstery with baking soda. Its deep-cleaning enzymes will absorb odors and moisture, and when you vacuum it up you’ll take it with you!

DIY vacuum attachment

Trying to clean super-small between seats and in cup holders? Make your own vacuum attachment that’s perfect for the job. Get a thick straw like the kind used for cold coffee drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies and insert one end into the smallest attachment you have. Tape it in place, and you’ll be able to suck up dirt and dust in the tiniest of spaces.

Read more about keeping your car clean with Who Knew's 8 Ways to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

Get rid of car smells

Instead of buying a commercial car air fresheners that you hang from a rear-view mirror, stash some dryer sheets under car seats and in the truck (you can even use ones that have already been through the dryer!). They’ll fill the enclosed space with a fresh scent that greets you every time you open the door.

Remove parking permit stickers

If your windshield is covered with parking permits and inspection stickers from years gone by, you’ll love this tip. Pour nail polish remover over the decals until they’re soaked. Then scrape with a razor blade and they’ll come off cleanly in seconds.

How to get rid of bumper stickers

Get those old bumper stickers off and bring your car up-to-date. Rub cold cream on the stickers and wait 10 minutes. Then say goodbye to your former slogan and peel the bumper stickers right off. Or try this: Set your blow-dryer on high and run it back and forth over the sticker until the adhesive softens. Then apply a bit of vegetable oil. Carefully lift a corner with a credit card, and peel it off.

Easiest way to clean a windshield

One thing that never leaves our cluttered trunk (except when we’re using it) is a spray bottle filled with club soda. Club soda does wonders for getting grime, bird droppings, and bug guts off your windshield. Just spray on, wait a few minutes, and turn on the wipers.

Check out Money Girl's 10 Things First-Time Car Buyers Should Know

Keep headlights clear

Car wax may strike some as a vanity, but in winter it’s important for safety. Layers of salt and slush on the roads leave debris on your car’s headlights that compromise their effectiveness. Keep them in working order by cleaning and coating them with car wax. Repeat monthly as needed.

Keep bug guts off your car

Don’t you hate the smashed up insects that always seem to cover your car grille in the summer? The only thing worse than looking at them is trying to scrape them off, unless you try this trick: Before heading down the highway, use a light coating of vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray on your grille, and the revolting bugs will wipe off easily.

These tips are even better on our podcast, which you can subscribe or listen to on iTunesStitcher, or Spotify

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.