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13 Car Hacks That Will Make Driving So Much Better

Whether you’re gearing up for a road trip or just want to make your daily commute less of a chore, these car hacks will instantly improve your driving experience.

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HH clean windshield wipers with windexPhoto: Family Handyman

See out of your windshield better

“When you’re behind the wheel, nothing is more crucial than good visibility. But like most other drivers, I usually procrastinate cleaning my windshield wipers or even replacing them if necessary. Windshield wipers are notorious for drying out and cracking in a short time. To help prolong their life and clean them, soak a clean white rag with your favourite glass cleaner. Wipe the rag up and down the length of your wiper blades. You’ll see the results on the rag, and you’ll see out your windshield much better in the rain.” —Jim Nobilione

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HH cereal container car trash canPhoto: Family Handyman

Keep your car clean—for good!

Keeping your car interior clean can be difficult. There are dirt roads, messy trees, pet hair, food crumbs and wrappers. And there’s likely trash on the car’s floor, under the seats and in the seat cracks. Toss out any wrappers, bottles and other objects in the sturdy car trash can! Line a plastic cereal container with a grocery bag and use it as an in-car trash can. To keep the container upright, apply a strip of self-adhesive hook and loop fastener to the bottom of the container, so it’ll stick to your car’s carpet.

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Car Hacks - Dash CamPhoto: Amazon

Keep a record of your trip

A dash cam is a great investment to provide you with a video record of a wreck, hit-and-run or theft. The ApexCam dash cam is a best-seller on Amazon Canada, providing high-quality video (even at night) from a front and rear dual lens. With its suction-cup mount, it’s easy to install, too.

Here’s what you should do within 10 minutes of having a car accident.

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Make Your Own Car Air FreshenerPhoto: Family Handyman

Make your own car air freshener

Freshen your car with scented candle wax. Punch holes in the lid of a mason jar using a hammer and a large nail for a DIY car air freshener. Add wax to the jar and replace the lid. When the temperature in your car rises, the wax will melt, filling your car with a lovely fragrance.

Find out the scary truth behind that new car smell.

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HH Salt Bags In Car trunkPhoto: Family Handyman

Beef up your car’s weight in winter

When there’s snow and ice on the roads and you’re finding that you don’t have enough traction to get up hills or you fishtail going around curves, it’s a sign that you could use more weight. Adding water softener salt bags in the trunk of your rear-wheel-drive vehicle will add weight to the backside of your car. This helps with traction on ice and snow during the nightmarish winter driving season. However, please note that this tip does not hold true for front-wheel-drive vehicles, although having some emergency salt in the back of your car will help with urgent icy situations.

Make sure you avoid these winter driving mistakes that put you in danger.

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HH DIY car mat from carpet scrapsPhoto: Family Handyman

Keep your floors clean

One simple way to keep your car clean is to cut scraps of old carpet to fit on the floor as mats. And when the DIY carpet scraps inevitably get all dirty with mushy winter snow or summer sand, you could either give them a wash or toss them out and make more. A word of caution: do not put these DIY car mats on the driver’s side of the car unless grippers are attached on the bottom side to ensure that the mat does not slip forward while driving.

Check out more driving tips that could save your life (and some money, too).

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pipe insulation between car seat and consolePhoto: Family Handyman

Stop losing stuff in your car

I kept dropping things such as my keys or cell phone in the gap between the driver’s seat and the console in my car. It is tough to retrieve the items dropped in that space because the gap is so small and my hand doesn’t fit. I usually ended up reaching for a stick or wire hanger to pull the items out, which is not very convenient. Recently, I found this solution: I cut pieces of foam pipe insulation to the length of the gaps, and then I wedged them in the gaps on either side of the console. Nothing falls into the gaps anymore! —James Goldstein

Check out more clever car organizing tips.

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Bluetooth adapterPhoto: Amazon.ca

Treat your ears to Bluetooth technology

Mpow’s Bluetooth AUX adapter is a high-tech choice for streaming crystal-clear music from your smart device. It also features a built-in mic for hands-free calling. This is a great way to make an older model car feel up to date!

Keep these tips in mind before you consider selling your car.

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ice proof windshield with alcoholPhoto: Family Handyman

Ice-proof your windshield

Heavy frost warnings tonight? Fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar and one part water. Right before it gets dark outside, shake the mixture well and spray it evenly on your car windows. The acetic acid in the vinegar will prevent water from freezing on your windows overnight. —Kevin Sullivan

Don’t miss this easy trick to melt ice (without using rock salt).

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Man washing his vanPhoto: Family Handyman

Don’t just polish—rejuvenate

While a shiny, clean, and buffed car doesn’t technically change the way you drive, it can make driving your car feel better. You can rejuvenate your car’s finish yourself and get it pretty darn close to the factory shine with an affordable polisher and supplies. At the same time, you’ll save a fortune when you make polishing a DIY job instead of paying for it to be done professionally. Plus, going to the car wash could actually hurt your car’s finish.

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Cloudy headlightsPhoto: Family Handyman

Clear up cloudy headlights

With the help of an inexpensive headlight cleaning kit, you can clear your fogged or yellowed headlight lenses in 45 minutes. It’ll increase your visibility for a fraction of the cost of replacing the headlights entirely.

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Woman checking air pressurePhoto: Family Handyman

Check tire pressure every month

All tires lose air, so check your tires monthly. Always use the same tire pressure gauge and check the air pressure first thing in the morning, not after you’ve driven on them or they’ve been sitting in the hot sun. Inflate to the pressures listed on the carmaker’s decal (on the driver’s door or jamb), NOT the maximum pressure listed on the tire. The recommended tire pressure is based on the weight of your particular vehicle, not the tire brand or tread style.

Check out 20+ car gadgets that make driving safer.

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Car code readerPhoto: Family Handyman

Use a code reader

Diagnose car problems without going to a mechanic with an auto code reader. Simply plug it into the car’s computer system, then interpret the trouble code readout.

Check out more essential tools every car owner should have.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman