Whether you’re searching for a last-minute Christmas gift or dropping a few hints of your own, the new Car Hacks book is a must-have for car enthusiasts. It contains 126 tips and tricks designed to improve your car, covering subjects such as cleaning, storage and modernising. Here, we reveal 18 car hacks that involve items you’ll find in your home. For more information, you’ll have to buy the book, which is on sale now.
Herbal tea bags
Did you know that a few herbal tea bags can dehumidify your car while giving the interior a fresh aroma? Leave them around the cabin overnight – one in each door pocket and one on the dashboard ought to do it – and the car will feel fresh in the morning. Author Craig Stewart advises against re-using the teabags for your morning cuppa…
Are you bugged by cups or bottles that rattle around your cupholders when driving? The Car Hacks book suggests grabbing an old sock and pulling it over the bottom of the bottle, flask or cup. The result: a snug fitting drinks utensil without the rattle. We’d advise washing the sock first…
Cupholders are great, but it’s not long before they fill with dust and crumbs. Assuming you’ve finished reenacting The Great British Bake Off, grab some silicone cupcake cases from the kitchen and drop them into the cupholders. You can even add a splash of colour to an otherwise drab cabin.
Grab a rubber band if you’re after a temporary smartphone holder. The book suggests looping it through one of the air vents in the dashboard, from where it should be possible to stretch it around your phone. A good short-term solution for getting directions via the phone’s navigation app.
Head back into the kitchen to grab a silicone mat that may have been used for baking or to line the drawers. It can be used to stop items rattling or rolling around door pockets or storage bins, helping to remove any irritating rattles in the process.
We like this one. If you’ve ever arrived home from the supermarket to find your groceries strewn across the boot, the bungee cord hack is for you. Simply attach one end of the bungee cord to one side of the boot, then thread it through the bag handles before attaching it to the other side. Alternatively, you could arrange home delivery, but that’s not in the spirit of the book.
Nail polish isn’t going to restore your car to concours-winning glory, but as the book points out, it should ensure it ‘passes the kerbside inspection test’. A near-matching nail polish will improve the appearance of stone chips or small scratches, until such time you can afford to get the car professionally repaired.
This one is for the old-school motorists who don’t rely on keyless entry to unlock their car doors in the morning. If you discover the locks are frozen, simply squirt some hand sanitiser into the keyhole and wait a few seconds. In just a few seconds, the alcohol in the fluid will work its magic, turning the ice to water.
This hack utilises toothpaste’s abrasive properties to remove light scuff marks from the car’s bodywork. Apply a small amount with your finger, then rub it gently around the mark. Using a drill and polishing wheel, rub the area until it has blended into the surrounding paintwork. When you’re finished, apply some wax to protect the paintwork.
Tights or stockings
Few of us are diligent enough to carry a spare wiper blade in the boot, so what happens in an emergency? Assuming somebody in the car is wearing tights or stockings, you can use them to prevent a damaged blade from scraping the windscreen, which should be enough to get you home. Maybe you should carry a pair of tights in the glovebox…
If your wheels are looking tired and you’re tempted to break out the spray gun, you’ll want to protect your tyres from overspray. The Car Hacks book recommends tucking playing cards between the rim and the tyre all around the circumference of the wheel. The result: no overspray on the tyres. Just make sure you’ve got a spare set of playing cards for the inevitable Christmas game of rummy, or your mother-in-law won’t be happy.
If you park your car in a narrow single garage, the fear of your door coming into contact with the wall must be a constant menace. Assuming your children have finished with their swimming pool noodles, they can be used to provide a cushioned bumper for your door edges. Alternatively, off-cuts of carpet or old cushions work just as well.
A tennis ball is a decent substitute for parking sensors – who’d have thought it? How does it work? You’ll have to buy the book to find out…
Nissan claims to have invented the curry hook when it debuted on the Almera in 1996. But you don’t have to buy an Almera to carry a takeaway without fear of ruining your car’s pristine interior. Simply grab some self-adhesive hooks and attach them to a suitable location.
Used sparingly, olive oil can be used to clean and protect interior plastics. Used less sparingly, olive oil can smarten up tired-looking leather seats, but make sure it doesn’t come into contact with the steering wheel, gear stick or handbrake.
Speaking of oils – although not of the olive variety in this case – take a wooden clothes peg and drop some essential oils on the end. Clip the peg on to one of the central air vents, and when the fans are on, the scent will be circulated around the cabin.
Baking soda can be used to remove smells from the car upholstery. Sprinkle it over the affected area and then remove it using a vacuum cleaner.
Because Q-tips and cotton buds are being discouraged from use for their role in plastic pollution, you’re going to require another solution for cleaning those hard to reach places. Wrapping a microfibre cloth on the end of a screwdriver is the answer.
Buy the book
In total, there are 126 tips and tricks in the Car Hacks book, and it comes highly recommended by Motoring Research. The retail price is £12.99, but the book is currently available online for less than a tenner, so grab a copy while stocks last.