Brilliant Car Hacks Every Car Owner Needs To Know Before Their Next Road Trip

By: | Published: Mar 19, 2022

If you’re a car owner, then you already know that cars can be rather complicated and come with all sorts of problems. Quite often, solutions to these problems don’t come cheap. However, the good news is that there are a lot of car-related problems that can be solved without breaking the bank – all you need are a few common household items and some ingenuity.

Here, we take a look at the top brilliant car hacks that every car owner needs to know. Whether you’re preparing for a road trip or just want to make your daily commute a more pleasant one, these tips and tricks will surely help improve your car ownership experience.

Increase Your Key Fob’s Range

One of the most common complaints about keyless entry systems is that the key fob’s range doesn’t extend far enough. Surprisingly, the secret to resolving this issue lies within your mind. You can unlock your car from a greater distance by holding the remote close to your head while pressing the “Unlock” button.

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Alternatively, you can also hold the key fob beneath your chin. As it turns out, the large number of water molecules in your brain interact with the key fob’s signal, which helps increase its range.

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The Penny Test

Checking your car’s tires regularly is a must. They tend to wear down over time, and it’s important for you to know when they need to be replaced. To determine whether or not it’s time for you to get a new set of tires, consider doing a penny test.

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Simply take a penny and place it on the tire, with Lincoln’s head facing down. The amount of tire covering his head will let you know whether the tire needs to be replaced. If nothing is covering Lincoln’s head, then you need to get new tires.

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Remove Dents With a Plunger

It’s normal for cars to get dents and scratches every once in a while. If you were involved in a fender bender and need a quick way to get rid of the dent in your car, all you need to do is to get some boiling water and a plunger.

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Pour some boiling water over the dented surface, stick the plunger onto the center of the dent, then pull. Keep doing this until you are satisfied with the result. Your car should look as good as new in no time!

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Unfreezing the Door Locks

If you live in an area where winters can get quite harsh, then you’ll know the struggle of keeping your car clear of snow and ice in the morning. When temperatures are low, your car’s door locks can get frozen. This can be incredibly frustrating especially if you’re in a rush.

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To unfreeze the door locks, all you need to do is to apply as much hand sanitizer into the lock as possible. The alcohol from the hand sanitizer will heat the keyhole and unfreeze it.

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Foggy Headlights No More

Your car’s headlights get foggy over time due to the built-up dirt, grime, and oxidation. Foggy headlights can affect the quality of your lights at night and may lead to accidents. For a much safer drive, consider this simple trick.

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Simply grab a tube of toothpaste, apply a coin-sized amount on each headlight, then rub in circular motions using your fingers or a clean cloth. Let sit for about two minutes before wiping it off using a different clean cloth.

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Look For the Arrow

If you’ve ever driven a car that you’re unfamiliar with, then you’ve probably experienced the embarrassment of pulling up to the wrong side of the gas pump, then getting back into your car to move it. 

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Fortunately, there is a way for you to figure out which side of the car the gas tank is without getting out of your car. Look at the gas gauge on your car’s instrument cluster and find the arrow next to it. This arrow will tell you which side the tank is on.

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Don’t Get Locked Out of Your Car

Most new cars these days have a keyless entry system, allowing car owners to enter their cars without using a key. But what happens when it stops working? Thankfully, most cars with a keyless entry system still have a manual lock in case of an emergency.

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If your car’s keyless entry system fails, look for a small piece of plastic on the edge of the door handle. The manual lock is hidden underneath. This will allow you to unlock the car’s doors so you can still enter your car.

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Stick to the Speed Limit

Some people go over the speed limit thinking that they’ll reach their destination faster. However, doing this can cause more harm than good because you are wearing down your brakes when you need to slow down or stop at a stoplight or from traffic.

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This may seem absurd, but speed limits are designed to ensure that drivers hit every green light. When you stick to the speed limit, you will stop at fewer red lights and you will get to your destination faster.

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Keep Your Car Trash-free

Have you ever entered your car only to realize that there’s trash everywhere? If you want to make the inside of your car less of a garbage dump, consider this simple solution.

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All you need to do is to head to your kitchen or your nearest dollar store and get a plastic cereal container. Put a plastic bag in it, and place it within the inside of your car. Now you have an improvised trash can that you can use to store trash and keep your car tidy.

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Get Rid of Bad Smells

Cars get smelly every once in a while. With dogs, kids, and other people getting in and out of your car all the time, the smell will become unbearable if you don’t take proper action. Fortunately, this simple trick will help make your car smell fresher without breaking the bank.

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Go to your laundry room or the nearest supermarket and get a box of dryer sheets. Place one sheet under each seat and they will neutralize any foul smells in no time. Place these sheets in your car vent as well for an easy, breezy air freshener.

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"Dude, Where’s My Car?"

There is nothing worse than aimlessly wandering around a parking lot, wondering why there are suddenly a dozen other cars that look exactly like yours and why your car is suddenly nowhere to be found. We’ve all been there, and we know how incredibly frustrating it can be.

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To help you remember where you parked your car, you can always snap a photo of the area and the floor number in the parking garage. If you parked at an outdoor lot, you can put a pin on your maps app and label it as “parked car” so that you can easily find your car when you get back.

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Keep Your Windshield Wipers Warm

If you live in colder climates, you’ve probably experienced having your windshield wipers freeze during the winter. Not only will this make driving during snowy days difficult, but it can also cause damage and cost you money in the long run.

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To keep this from happening, simply take a pair of long socks and use them to cover the wipers while your car is parked. This will keep them warm and prevent them from freezing during cold winter days and nights.

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Keep Your Windshield From Fogging Up

Driving with a foggy windshield is not only impossible but also extremely dangerous. While it’s perfectly normal for your windshield to fog up once in a while, there is a way to get rid of condensation quickly for a much safer drive.

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All you need to do is to put some dry rice inside a cloth pouch and place it on the dashboard. This will absorb the moisture and prevent your windshield from fogging up. You can dry the rice out by tossing the pouch into the microwave occasionally.

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Open a Key Ring With Ease

It’s nearly impossible to open a keyring to add new keys or tags without hurting your fingers or your fingernails. However, the good news is that there’s an easy way to open keyrings without hurting yourself in the process.

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Simply use a staple remover to pull the metal pieces apart while you add a new key or tag. This will save your fingers from unnecessary pain. However, be careful not to stretch the keyring too much as your keys may fall off.

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Remove Bumper Stickers With Ease

Some people love putting bumper stickers on their cars but often fail to remember how tricky they are to remove. Stickers leave sticky residue on the car’s surface and can even ruin the paint if removed incorrectly, so it’s better to avoid putting them on your car in the first place.

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However, there is a safe way to remove bumper stickers if you do decide to put some on your car anyway. Simply heat them first using a hairdryer, and they’ll be easy to peel off in no time.

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No Expensive Cleaning Materials Needed

While most people will only get to see your car’s exterior, it’s also a good thing to keep the interior just as spotless. However, there’s no need to spend so much money on expensive cleaning supplies when a simple household item will do the trick.

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Simply head to your kitchen, grab a few coffee filters, and use them to wipe surfaces to get rid of dust and dirt. Coffee filters are fairly cheap – you can buy hundreds of them for just a few dollars.

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Keeping It Cool

Getting into a hot car on a warm summer day can be rather unpleasant. Some people believe that rolling down all windows will help cool things down quickly, but this doesn’t help at all.

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Instead, why not try rolling down just the driver’s and passenger’s side windows? This will force the air to circulate through the car, allowing it to cool down much faster. This won’t necessarily turn your car into an icebox, but it will be much more comfortable than before.

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Keep Cup Holders Crumb-Free

While cup holders are one of the most useful features in any car, they tend to get messy quite easily. Instead of dragging a vacuum cleaner out to your car every single week, you can use cupcake liners to catch the crumbs and debris.

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Cupcake liners come in a variety of sizes, so you can pick one that best fits your cup holders. If they get too dirty, you can easily throw them out and replace them with new ones. Or better yet, give silicone cupcake liners a try and wash and reuse them when they get dirty. 

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Keep Food Warm

Many cars these days come with heated seats, which helps a car’s occupants stay nice and warm on cold winter days. However, did you know that heated seats can be used for other purposes too?

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If you’re stuck in traffic with a box of pizza or some fast food, don’t let them get cold! Instead, place the food on the seat and turn the seat warmer on to its highest setting. No matter how long your trip takes, your food will stay warm and fresh.

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Never Lose Your Garage Door Remote Again

Have you ever pulled up to your driveway only to realize that the remote control to open your garage door is nowhere to be found? It can be quite frustrating, especially if all you want to do is get some rest after a long day at work.

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These days, some new cars have a built-in remote control that allows you to open and close your garage door. All you need to do is to set it up. If your car doesn’t have this feature, you can have a professional help you connect the remote control to the inside of your door.

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Use Nail Polish to Cover Scratches

No matter how careful you are, your car will likely get scratched at some point. If you’re the type of person who can’t stand the sight of even tiny scratches on your car, here’s how you can cover them up.

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Grab some nail polish and apply it to the scratched parts of your car. Not only are there a wide variety of colors available to match your car, but they are also easy to use. Always keep a bottle in your car for when you need to cover up scratches in a pinch.

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Garage Parking Guide

While most people don’t usually crash into the interior back wall of their garage with their car, this does happen sometimes. This can lead to damage to both your car and your house that could cost you a fortune to fix.

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Fortunately, a tennis ball is all you need to prevent accidents. First, measure the distance between the garage wall and your windshield. Then, tie a tennis ball to a string and hang it from the ceiling so that your windshield touches it when you’re at the perfect distance. You’ll never have to worry about crashing your car into the wall again!

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Pool Noodles Aren't Just For Pools

Pool noodles aren’t just pool toys – they are useful for so many other things as well. For one, they can be used to prevent your car door from hitting the garage wall so it won’t get damaged each time you open your door.

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All you need to do is cut a pool noodle in half and glue it to the wall. Pool noodles can be bought for about a dollar, making them a cheap and straightforward solution for when you have limited space between your car and the garage wall.

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Melt Ice Quickly

There are many things that make driving during the winter dangerous, including icy windshields. When you are running late for work, you probably don’t have time to wait for your car to warm up so that the ice will melt.

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To help speed things up, mix some water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on your car’s frozen windshield. Let sit for about a minute, then wipe it off with a clean cloth or use your windshield wipers.

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Make Cleaning Your Car’s Interior More Fun

While slime is marketed as something for children to play with, it has a variety of other uses as well. Car owners, for instance, can use slime to clean the hard-to-reach areas of a car’s interior. Who says cleaning your car can’t be fun?

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You can buy pre-made slime at toy stores, or you can make some yourself – there are hundreds of recipes available online! Use the slime to get rid of dust and dirt on your steering wheel, dashboard, door locks, dials, and air vents.

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Taking a U.S. Road Trip? Learn These Highway Hacks!

While GPS and our cellphones have certainly made navigating easier, if you’re ever traveling somewhere new and are getting confused by the roads or find yourself lost, it’s time to learn these highway naming hacks! For all those planning a cross-country trip, did you know that US interstates with 2-digits indicate ones that travel across the entire country?

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Highways that end in “0” run East-West while those that end in “5” will run North-South. If you know what direction you’re trying to travel in, use the ending highway number as a helpful guide to ensure you’re on the right path. Seeing roads with 3-digits indicate a bypass. Their last two numbers will reference the interstate they bypass. Some exception of course, apply, but this navigation hack can definitely come in handy!

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Park Facing The East During Winter

If you’d rather not run the heat in your car or if there isn’t any vinegar in your kitchen, you can use the sun to your advantage instead. When it’s freezing outside, park your car facing the east at night so that the ice on your windshield will melt by the time you get to your car the next day.

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While you probably wouldn’t be able to park facing east all the time, you should go ahead and do it whenever it’s possible. This will help save time and provide some added comfort when you hop into your car in the morning.

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Get More Bang For Your Buck

Going to the gas station to fuel up is probably everyone’s least favorite chore. Most people would rather get this task over with quickly so they can move on to more exciting activities.

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However, if you want to get more value for your money, it’s probably a good idea to let the tank fill up slowly so as not to let extra air inside. When you squeeze the fuel pump handle at 50 percent instead of squeezing it all the way, you are getting more than you normally would.

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Make An Improvised Car Phone Holder

For your safety, you shouldn’t be looking at your phone while driving. However, there may be instances where you need to look at it for directions. Many people have car phone holders for their phones, but you can also improvise if you don’t have one readily available.

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To keep your phone secure, string a rubber band through the air vent, then put your phone through the loops. While this isn’t a long-term fix, it can come in handy when you need to look at your phone for directions.

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Need Extra Cup Holders?

Cup holders come standard in almost all cars, though some cars may not have enough to hold all your drinks. Some cup holders, meanwhile, may not be deep enough to hold your 32oz drink properly.

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As a solution, why not use a shoe as a cup holder? It might not be the most aesthetically-pleasing hack, but it works! Since a shoe’s opening is adjustable, it can fit almost any cup. They’re also deeper than most cup holders so you don’t have to worry about accidentally spilling your drinks.

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Make Your Dashboard Look Shiny and New

Olive oil isn’t just for cooking – it can be used for other purposes as well. You can use it to keep your skin and hair soft and smooth, and you can use it to make your car’s interior look shiny and new.

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Put a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on a lint-free cloth, and use it to gently wipe across the dashboard. This will help pick up dust and dirt, restore your dashboard’s shine, and prevent cracking caused by harmful UV rays.

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Highway Road Marking Warnings

Traveling on new highways can get confusing. Lanes get added, other merge, and some seemingly out of nowhere turn into “Exit Only” lanes. While there are typically signs posted to indicate when lanes end or become an exit ramp, if you miss those signs or your view of those signs are blocked by trucks ahead of you, try looking down at the pavement markings!

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If the white dashed lines separating the lanes become smaller and closer together, this indicates that the lane is turning into an exit-only ramp. If you’re not trying to exit and want to stay on the highway, this is your final warning to switch lanes and continue your travels.

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Clean Your Windshield Wipers

Most car owners remember to check and change their car’s oil, and to keep the interior and exterior clean. However, many car owners tend to overlook this one crucial task that helps keep all the car’s occupants safe.

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The next time you’re cleaning your car’s exterior, don’t forget to give the windshield wipers some TLC as well. Use a clean cloth and glass cleaner to wipe them clean, or replace the blades with new ones at least once every 6-12 months. 

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Always Have Paper Towels In Your Car

This hack is highly recommended for all the clumsy or messy car owners out there. While it’s certainly a good idea to have paper towels in your car at all times, many people choose not to as these rolls can take up too much space.

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There is, however, a clever way to store paper towels in your car. Simply attach a roll of paper towels to the inside of your car’s trunk using a bungee cord. Now you’ll always have paper towels at your disposal!

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Try the Japanese Door Trick

Like we said earlier, getting into a hot car on a warm summer day can be quite unpleasant. When your car has been sitting under the sun for hours, everything feels hot to the touch and it can make you feel like you’re in the fiery depths of hell.

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To help cool your car down faster, try the Japanese door trick. Roll down the driver’s side window, then open and close the passenger’s side door several times. This will help force hot air quickly.

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Improvised Air Freshener

Car air fresheners that don’t lose their scent after a few days are quite expensive, so why not make your own instead? Though this DIY trick will use up one of your available cup holders, it will keep your car smelling nice and fresh for a long time.

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Grab some scented candle wax and place them inside a mason jar. Poke some holes on the lid and place the jar inside your car. The wax will melt whenever the temperature inside the car rises, releasing the scent of your choice.

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Need Somewhere To Hang Your Groceries?

There may be instances when your trunk space just isn’t enough for all your groceries, and so you have to place the rest in the back seat. But what if the back seat is full? Worry not, as we have a simple solution for you.

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Install a hook under the front seat’s headrest so you can hang your shopping bags there. Now your groceries won’t be flying all over the place as you drive, and you’ll never have to worry about spilled liquids and cracked eggs again.

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Seal the Gap Between the Seats

We’ve all been in a situation where we accidentally drop something between the seats and our hands are too big to reach it. Car companies should find a way to seal the gap, but since it’s there, here’s how to keep your things from falling.

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Simply grab a pool noodle, cut it, and then use it to fill the space between the seats. You’ll never have to worry about losing your keys, jewelry, money, credit cards, and phone ever again!

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Get Extra Storage Space

When you drive a tiny car, finding space to put all your belongings can be a pain in the neck. Between all the items that you keep in your car at all times and going on shopping trips, there never seems to be enough space in your car to fit everything comfortably.

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If you need extra storage space, grab a mesh net and secure it on all four grab handles using a bungee cord. You can use this additional space in the ceiling to store smaller items without them blocking your view.

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Keep Your Things Organized

When you keep so many small items in your car, things can get messy pretty easily. However, there is a much better way to keep all your belongings organized instead of simply tossing them into the backseat or the glove box.

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All you need are hanging shoe organizers that you can get at most stores. Hang them on the back of the seats, and use each pocket to store different items. You’ll now experience an organized car interior!

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Don’t Forget About Your Trunk

Now that we’ve covered ways to keep the inside of your car organized, it’s time to move on to the trunk! When you’re in a rush, it’s easy for you to just aimlessly toss your things into the trunk. However, there is a simple way to keep your trunk just as organized as the inside of your car.

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Rather than piling your things one on top of the other, you can keep your trunk tidy with the help of laundry baskets. With a bit of creativity, you can even create a shelf system for additional storage space as well.

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Make Driving During the Winter Safer

Driving on icy roads during the winter can be quite dangerous. When there isn’t enough traction between your tires and the slippery roads, the odds of an accident happening increases. Fortunately, there is a simple way to make driving during the winter safer.

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You can add more weight to your car by using sand or salt bags. If you have a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) car, place the bags inside the trunk. For front-wheel drive (FWD) cars, place the bags on the passenger seat floor.

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Use Shower Caddies for To-Go Meals

Shower caddies are great for storing your toiletries, but did you know that you can use them in your car as well? Shower caddies can be bought for cheap at dollar stores and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

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Shower caddies are fantastic for when you’re at a fast-food drive-thru and want to keep your food and drinks from spilling and making a mess in your car. If you don’t need to use them, just keep them in your trunk!

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Spill-Proof Snack Holders

Planning a road trip with your kids? Don’t forget to bring some snacks to help them get through the long drive! Keep their little bellies happy with yummy treats like dried fruit, mixed nuts, cereal, mini crackers, and popcorn. 

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Keep those snacks in empty coffee creamer bottles to keep them from spilling and making a mess. The flip-top lids help keep the bottles’ contents secure so you don’t have to worry about having to clean up once you reach your destination.

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Other Ways To Remove Snow From Your Windshield

If you’re looking for other ways to remove snow from your windshield, look no further than your kitchen. Whether you’re using a wooden spoon, a spatula, or a mesh skimmer, these kitchen tools will surely come in handy if you find your car covered in a thick layer of snow.

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Of course, it’s always best to use special tools like foam brushes or non-abrasive snow brooms. However, kitchen tools work just as fine if you need to clear away snow in a pinch.

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Use Empty Gum Containers to Store Loose Change

If you’re like most people, you probably keep some spare change in your car. You’d most likely need them to feed parking meters or pay a toll, so it’s always a good idea to have some on hand.

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Use an empty gum container to keep your coins so you don’t waste your time looking through your purse or pockets. Place the container in your car’s front cup holder so you’ll always have some change at hand whenever you need them.

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Keep Your Kids’ Toys Within Their Reach

Kids are inquisitive by nature, but their inquisitiveness can sometimes put your patience to the test, especially when you’re in the car with them for hours on end. Most parents of young kids have probably been asked the infamous “Are we there yet?” question many times before.

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Fortunately, there are many ways for you to keep your kids entertained during long drives. One option is to bring your little ones’ favorite toys with you. Keep these toys within their reach by storing them in hanging shoe organizers.

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Use a Roll of Duct Tape As a Makeshift Cup Holder

This clever hack has been tried and tested by car owners the world over. If your car doesn’t have enough cup holders to store all your drinks, you can try this yourself!

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All you need is a roll of duct tape with a large-enough center that can hold your water bottle, coffee cup, or whatever drink you have with you. Alternatively, you can also use gaffer tape from your nearest hardware or camera store. Gaffer tape isn’t as heat-sensitive, so it won’t leave behind a sticky residue on your seat.

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Use Static Cling Window Tints as Movable Shades

Many car owners will surely know that there’s a particular time of day when the sun comes in through the car’s windows at a certain angle so that your car’s sun visors don’t swing far enough to block out the sun.

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Stop squinting and place a static cling window tint in the exact position to protect your eyes from the sun. What’s great about them is that they can be used many times over as they don’t involve adhesives and cant be removed with ease.

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Get Rid of Scratches with Vaseline

Vaseline isn’t just for chapped lips or dry skin – it’s great for getting rid of small scratches and marks on your car’s dashboard and gives it a polished, conditioned look. Get a huge tub for cheap at any supermarket and keep it handy for when you might need it!

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First, give the dashboard a proper wipe with a clean cloth. Next, apply a small amount of Vaseline on a microfiber cloth, then wipe the dashboard down until the Vaseline has completely soaked in. This will give the dash a polished, conditioned look.

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Have an On-The-Go Snack Basket

You don’t have to give up on eating healthy just because you’re always on the go! Use a fabric basket to store healthy snacks like dried fruits, nuts, sunflower seeds, and more. Keep it somewhere that’s easy to reach so that you and your passengers can easily grab something to eat.

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What’s great about having a snack basket in your car is that it can help you save money by eating out less whenever you’re running errands. If you don’t have a fabric basket, a wicker basket or even a laundry basket will do – what matters is you’ll always have healthy food within your reach.

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Place Command Hooks in Your Car

One clever way to keep your car litter-free during long drives is to place a command hook in your car which you can then use to hang a paper bag from. Use the paper bag to store your trash so as not to make a huge mess.

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Once you reach your destination, simply throw away the paper bag, and remove the command hook. You can also use the hook to hang other items like grocery bags, coats, and purses.

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