11 car hacks to make your life easier

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, they say.

Unfortunately, it’s often also the simplest problems that are the most extraordinarily annoying to fix.

Whether it’s forgetting where you’ve parked or just forgetting where you’re going altogether, nobody said that being a motorist in the 21st century was going to be easy.

We know how busy and stressful people’s lives can be in the modern world, and so we’ve compiled a quick list of some handy hacks and ways you can simplify your life and just concentrate on the things that matter.

1: Forgotten where you’ve parked? There’s an app for that!

Forgetting where you’ve parked is one of the biggest driving pains, particularly when you’re in a rush or laden down with shopping bags.

If, like the rest of us, you’re prone to the odd spot of forgetfulness, why not let your phone take care of it for you?

A range of parking apps are available, including iParkedHere, which allows you to input your car’s location and can work with GPS, images and notes if necessary.

Stress? Forget about it!

2: Use toothpaste to scrub up your headlights

Noticed that your headlights are looking a little foggy and worse for wear lately? Put some toothpaste on them!

Apply toothpaste to the plastic cover with a cloth and, with the help of a little old fashioned elbow grease, rub it in and leave it for a few minutes.

After that, rinse them off with clean water and dry. Voila, clean lights! Whitening toothpaste seems to work the best, and you can give your lights some further protection with a little bit of car wax with UV protection.

3: Park your car facing east to avoid frozen windscreens

As the autumn gives way to winter and the cold weather sets in, there’s nothing ruins your morning quicker than finding your windscreen frozen over.

De-icer is usually the best option for quickly ridding your screen of ice, but why not avoid it altogether if you can?

Parking your car with the front facing the east means that as the sun rises in the morning, its warmth will help to defrost your windscreen.

Even if it doesn’t thaw through completely, the sun’s rays will take care of most of the heavy lifting, meaning you can either use your windscreen wipers or a quick scraping to get it off.

That way, you can get those few extra minutes in bed, rather than spending them outside hacking at your car.

4: Make a bin from a cereal container

Modern cars come with a wide range of features and mod cons, with everything from built-in satnavs to artificial intelligence.

Regardless of how much kit your car has, if you’re anything like us then you’ll find that your car routinely becomes clogged up with all kinds of rubbish. Where on earth does it all come from?!

To help combat this, you can craft a makeshift bin from a plastic cereal container. Available from most bargain shops and supermarkets for a couple of quid, these containers come in a variety of different sizes.

Simply pop a plastic bag or black bin bag inside and feed the top through the lid of the container to make a handy bin that can be stored in the footwell of your car, or in the boot.

Particularly handy for long journeys with kids, or if you’re a regular abuser of McDonald’s drive-through!

5: De-ice your doors with hand sanitizer

Like your windscreen, sometimes your car doors just simply don’t want to play ball in the cold weather.

Residual moisture on your car’s door can freeze when the weather’s cold, causing it to seize up and effectively seal your car doors shut and can also block the door lock so you can’t get your key in.

There are various other suggestions for solving this problem, and we’ve even seen people who use cigarette lighters to heat up their keys in order to jam them through the door.

However, we’ve found that using hand sanitizer is the best solution. The high alcohol content will cause the ice to melt quickly and effectively, while the small size and squirty bottles make them easy to carry and to direct into the nooks and crannies.

6: Boost your efficiency by becoming a hypermiler

Believe it or not, there’s actually a whole subculture of drivers known as hypermilers, who are dedicated solely to wringing the most go out of every drop of petrol.

A set of behavioural changes treated by hypermilers as gospel can help you keep your car moving as efficiently as possible. Some tips include leaving a larger amount of space between you and the car in front so you can coast to a stop instead of braking.

Whether or not you subscribe totally to the hypermiling way of life, even taking some of their tips on board can help you to extend your fuel efficiency and visit the petrol station less frequently.

7: Use your floormats to avoid sticky situations

If you find yourself stuck in snow, mud, sand or on any other low-grip surfaces, your floormats can come in extremely handy.

The absolute worst thing you can do when stuck in a jam is to gun the accelerator and hope that your car frees itself, as this will usually only cause you to dig yourself deeper into the hole.

Instead, take the floormats from the front seats out and place them under the wheels of your car in order to increase traction and grip.

If you have a front-wheel drive car, place them under the front wheels and vice versa for a rear-wheel drive car, and then carefully apply power using your throttle and clutch to avoid wheelspins.

You might end up with some soggy floormats, but surely that’s better than the embarrassment of ending up stranded?

8: Gotten lost? Try fast food!

If you find yourself lost in an unfamiliar area and can’t find your way out, why not try a fast food place?

As well as being able to get some comfort food to ease your woes, the restaurant’s delivery drivers will no doubt know the ins and outs of the area like the backs of their hands.

Whereas the usual advice to look for your nearest service station can often lead you to drawing a blank, places that have dedicated drivers who are paid to know their way around town are often your safest bet.

9: Drop your keychain weight to keep your car running smoothly

It might sound a bit odd, but keeping the weight on your keychain down can actually help you to avoid problems with your car’s ignition system.

While some cars now come with button-activated keyless ignitions, the majority of motors on British roads still use the traditional keyed system, which is unfortunately rather fragile.

Too much weight from extra keys, keychains and other accessories can pull the key down while it’s in the ignition and, over time, wear out the insides of the ignition switch.

This can be pretty bad if it ends up failing, as the ignition doesn’t just start the car, but also activates the electrics.

As a result, keeping your car keys accessory-free can extend the life of your

10: Protect your paintjob with pool noodles

If your garage is a tight squeeze and you’re prone to scratching paint, you can prevent banging the sides of your doors against the wall with a pool noodle.

The simple flotation aids can be bought online for a few pounds each, and all you have to do is slice one in half lengthwise and stick it onto the side of the wall to protect your paintwork.

You can use Blue Peter favourite double-backed sticky tape, nails or even glue to stick it at the exact height where your door usually hits the wall, meaning no more dents and no more tears.

11: Use science to cool down a hot car quickly

If your car has been sitting in the sun for a long time and you forgot to roll the windows down, chances are it’s going to be pretty darn hot inside.

Rather than waiting for the air conditioning to feebly try and puff out the warm air, instead try a handy tip for cooling your car down in seconds all the way from Japan.

All you have to do is roll up all the windows except for the one on the front passenger side. Once that’s done, simply open and close the driver’s door between five and ten times quickly.

This will force the cooler air from the outside into the car, while pushing the stuffy interior air out. Science!

If you enjoyed these tips, keep your eye on the Perrys site for all the latest in automotive news, blogs and guides, or why not get in touch and leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter feeds?