Keeping a vehicle well maintained becomes a challenge in the midst of our busy lives. Between work, family, and hobbies, our cars tend to fall to the bottom of the priority list. Luckily, there are some simple, quick and inexpensive ways to take care of your vehicle using everyday items you probably have laying around your house already. We scoured the depths of the internet for the most useful and ingenious car hacks to make your everyday driving life easier. These 5 proved to be the winners thanks to the time and money that you'll save.
1. Defog Your Windshield with a Sock Full of Kitty Litter
Most drivers know to stash kitty litter in the car during the winter months to spread on the ground for traction, but did you know you should hold onto the litter after the snow melts? That's because you can use it to defog your windshield year round. Using a tube sock (preferably clean) and a scoopful of kitty litter (definitely clean), you can quickly clear your windshield so you can be on your way faster and drive safer with full visibility. The science behind this car hack is the silica in the kitty litter which is an extremely moisture-wicking material and will draw the moisture out of your vehicle, clearing your view.
- Step 1. Find an athletic tube sock, moisture-wicking preferred.
- Step 2. Fill the sock to about ankle height with silica kitty litter (make sure it is crystalline).
- Step 3. Place on your car's dashboard to prevent the windshield from fogging up.
2. Fix a Cracked Windshield With Nail Polish
A small crack in your car's windshield can start to grow into a bigger, more problematic crack if left to its own devices. That's why taking care of the problem right away is essential. Luckily, if the crack is still small, you can fill it with clear nail polish to make it nearly invisible. This can save you from having to completely replace a windshield or at least put it off for a while.
- Step 1. Acquire a bottle of clear nail polish.
- Step 2. Apply a thin layer over the crack and let it dry.
3. Brighten Your Headlights With Toothpaste
Cloudy headlights are a common concern that comes with daily driving. The cloudiness is caused by oxidization as a result of UV rays and everyday road debris. It happens to nearly every vehicle since automakers started implementing polycarbonate material for the headlights instead of glass. Luckily, you don't need to go to a car wash every time you notice this problem creep up. Instead, you can pay a visit to your medicine cabinet. Regular toothpaste has mild abrasives which can clean the cloudiness off your headlights. Just make sure you take the proper precautions to prevent scuffing the surrounding paint.
- Step 1. Clean your headlights with soap and water and let them dry.
- Step 2. Put masking tape on the areas around the headlight to prevent accidentally scuffing your paint.
- Step 3. Dampen a soft cleaning cloth with warm water and add a dap of toothpaste
- Step 4. Polish each headlight for a few minutes until the cloudiness disappears, adding more toothpaste as necessary.
4. Keep Your Cupholders Clean With Cupcake Molds
We all know our vehicle's cupholders end up holding a lot more than just cups. Everything from loose change, gum wrappers, and crumbs somehow end up in those compartments. As luck would have it, cupholders also prove to be tricky to clean...Until now. Standard size, silicone cupcake molds just happen to be the perfect size to place in your cupholders. Find some at your home supply store or dollar store and you have an easy to clean solution.
- Step 1. Acquire a set of silicone cupcake/muffin molds
- Step 2. Place in your vehicle's cup holder areas
- Step 3. Simply remove and rinse off when they get dirty
5. Plunge Small to Medium Dents Right Out Of Your Car
Plungers - they're not just for toilets anymore. Did you know you can use this common household tool to avoid a trip to the body shop if you have a small dent in your car? This method, outlined by YourMechanic.com will only work if the dent is about the same size (or smaller) than the plunger head. That's because the plunger should form a tight seal around the dent in order to pop it out. Pro tip - have some petroleum jelly or water on hand to lubricate the edges of the plunger and create the seal. We'd also recommend buying a new plunger for this task instead of using the one that's been sitting in your bathroom for years and has seen the worst of times.
- Step 1: Lubricate the edges of your plunger with petroleum jelly or water.
- Step 2: Press inward against the dent and pull the plunger towards you to pop the dent out.
- Step 3: Repeat until the dent is gone.
- Step 4: If you're not able to fully remove the dent with the plunger, try tapping a rubber mallet on the back of the dent to remove it completely.