30 Car Hacks That Will Genuinely Improve Your Life

    We’ve read articles that feature life hacks that just aren’t realistic, or ones that aren’t actually life hacks at all.

    This article doesn’t feature any of those.

    What we’ve got for you are 30 quick tips that will help you with several aspects of your driving life, from parking to petrol economy.

    Car Parking Hacks

    1) Don’t obsess over getting as near as possible. You might think you’re saving time and effort by getting as close to the doors as you can, but you’ll actually end up taking longer and using more fuel by circling the car park trying to find The Perfect Spot.

    2) A space by the exit is more valuable. Think about when you’re leaving rather than when you’re getting there. You may have to walk a little further to reach your car, but you’re not going to be stuck navigating slow-moving traffic and a dozen pedestrian crossings.

    3) Try following someone (but not in a creepy way). If you’re in a full car park with no spaces in sight, seek out a pedestrian who’s walking in and follow them to nab their space when they leave.

    4) Stop scraping your car doors. Attach some foam to your garage walls to stop you banging your door against them when you get home. You could also attach some to your car doors themselves to stop you doing it when you’re out and about but it would probably look quite silly.

    5) And stop bumping the front (or rear). Another hack for your garage: hang a tennis ball from the roof at the back of your garage to let you know when you’re far enough in. It’ll lightly bump against your window rather than the wall making a dent in your bumper.

    Where Did I Park My Car?

    6) Take a photo of what’s around you. Since we all carry smartphones in our pockets, this is easier than ever. If you’re parking in a multi-storey, snap a shot of the level your on. If it’s just a single-level car park, snap the section name or number.

    7) Drop a pin in Apple on Google Maps. Most major maps apps will allow you to drop a pin wherever you like on a map so you can take a look later, and some will even do it automatically for you when you slow from 30mph to zero. Check your settings for this functionality. You can even add some notes into the pin for more detail.

    8) If you’re parking at the airport, use meet and greet parking. Not only will you eliminate the problem of misplacing your car, but you can get someone else to park it for you!

    9) Tie a helium balloon to your car. On the off-chance you’ve got any of these lying around from a recent birthday party, tying one to your car will make it easy to spot in a crowd.

    10) Put your electronic keyfob to your chin. By doing this and then unlocking and relocking your car, your head will act as an antenna, making the signal go further and meaning you can spot the lights and noise from further away.

    Combatting Cold Weather

    11) Use hand sanitiser to defrost frozen keyholes. The alcohol in the hand sanitiser will break down and melt the ice inside.

    12) And use cooking spray to stop doors freezing shut. If you get home and know it’s going to be an icy night ahead, open your doors and coat the inside rubber with cooking spray, wipe down. No frozen doors the next morning!

    13) Use floormats if you get stuck in the mud or snow. Trying to set off but not getting anywhere because you’ve got no traction? Place your floormats underneath the tyres and marvel at how quickly your car moves!

    14) Always carry cat litter in the car (even if you haven’t got a cat). Some tights or a sock filled with cat litter placed on your dash will attract the moisture inside your car, stopping the windows from fogging up due to condensation.

    15) Park facing east. When parking somewhere overnight, try and park facing east. This will make it quicker for the engine to heat up in the morning, and it’ll also make defrosting the windscreen a faster (or unnecessary) process.

    Conquering the Heat

    16) Cool down your car in seconds. If your car’s too hot to handle, roll down one window and then open and close the opposite car door several times. This will blow a merciful breeze right through.

    17) Only open the front windows. And when you’re driving, only open the front windows, keeping the back ones shut. This will make the breeze blowing into your car a lot stronger.

    18) Turn your steering wheel upside down when you park. This will stop the top of it heating up while you’re gone and burning you when you get back in and touch it.

    Traffic Hack

    19) Don’t change lanes during a traffic jam. Doing this might make you think you’re getting where you’re going faster but it actually causes more traffic and you’re more likely to get into an accident.

    Improve Your Fuel Economy

    20) Check your dashboard lights. On your dashboard, the arrow next to the petrol symbol will tell you what side the petrol cap is on.

    21) Accelerate and break as smoothly as possible. In fact, try to avoid breaking at all and watch your fuel consumption plummet! Instead, take your foot off the accelerator when you’re approaching a red light, slow down gradually and simply reapply when it turns green.

    22) Know when to use air con vs rolled down windows. Keep windows rolled down when driving round town, but turn to air conditioning once you hit the motorway as the increased wind resistance will batter your fuel economy!

    23) Use the PetrolPrices app to find the cheapest petrol station near you. This could only be a difference of pennies, but over time it will build up.

    24) Fuel up when it’s cold. Petrol is denser when it’s cold, so you’ll actually get more for your money! If you can, head to the petrol station early in the morning or late at night.

    Car Sickness Tips

    25) Tilt your head to the side. Believe it or not, this is a surefire way of stopping car sickness for many people.

    26) Stare at a point on the horizon. Car sickness originates from our brains not understanding why we feel motion, so focussing on a point outside the car should alleviate this.  This is the reason that drivers don’t get car sick — only passengers.

    27) Cool yourself down. Focus the air vents on yourself, or put one hand out of the window just touching the roof.

    Mirrors Minimise Blind Spots

    28) You shouldn’t be able to see any part of your car in your wing mirrors. Place your car just outside of view to minimise your blind spots.

    Headrest Hacks

    29) Use your headrest as a pillow. If you need to recharge your batteries while driving, pull over somewhere where it’s safe and legal to do so. Then remove your headrest and turn it upside down to use as a pillow.

    30) In case of emergency, break glass. The metal prong in your headrest can also be used to break a window in an emergency.

    Those were our 30 car hacks. Do you think you’ll use any of these in the future? Or do you have any tips you think we should add? Let us know!