10 Genius Car Hacks Every Driver Should Know

Your car gives you the freedom to do everything from getting to work on time to exploring the world around you. Many of us don’t think much about our vehicles, but we probably should.

In fact, just using a few simple hacks can improve your driving experience and avoid wasting money maintaining and repairing your car.

Following are 10 genius car hacks every driver should know.

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1. Carry jumper cables and kitty litter in your trunk

Don’t leave home without jumper cables and kitty litter in your trunk.

It’s easy to see the importance of jumper cables: You might need them if your car battery needs a quick charge. But why does kitty litter matter?

Kitty litter’s grit can help you get out of any slippery situation, whether that’s a patch of ice or a pile of snow. As a bonus, it’s also great for cleaning up spills if your car happens to leak oil on your friend’s driveway.

2. Don’t let your car sit in the cold weather to warm up

A cold morning feels even worse when you climb into a car that hasn’t warmed up. However, as tempting as it might be to start your vehicle and let it get toasty, it’s not a good idea.

There’s no benefit to warming up your engine. Today’s car models are fully lubricated and ready to drive within 30 seconds. The car also will warm up faster if you drive it as opposed to letting it idle.

Finally, letting the car idle wastes gas and adds harmful emissions to the environment.

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3. Keep a notebook of your car’s maintenance history

Keep track of your vehicle’s maintenance history in a small notebook in the glove compartment. You can also use a digital version if you prefer.

Follow the owner’s manual for your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, such as how often to change the oil. Write down details of all work you have done, including the replacement of parts, replacing tires, and any repairs.

When you decide to sell the car, you’ll have a solid record of the great work you put into it. That could boost your car’s value on the market.

4. Read the owner’s manual

The owner’s manual offers some great tips for getting the most out of your car. It includes your car’s recommended maintenance schedule and provides insight into many aspects of how the car works.

If your vehicle has any fancy features, the owner’s manual should explain how they work.

5. Do as much work on the car as you can

If you’re not handy or don’t want to waste time, a local repair technician is the way to go when your car needs work.

However, consider powering through a few YouTube videos to learn how to replace the air filter, check the oil, and change the spark plugs. Chances are good that doing these things yourself will save you money.

You should be able to find the parts you need for these small fixes readily available online or at an auto parts store. And you’ll pay a fraction of what the dealership is likely to charge you.

Those savings don’t even include the labor costs you’ll avoid simply by doing the work yourself.

6. Use a tennis ball when parking in your garage

Determining how far to pull into your garage when parking can be difficult. But there is a simple trick to make this task easier.

Pull your car into the garage and park it just where you want it. Then, take a tennis ball, attach a rope to it, and hang it from a rafter in your garage. Make sure you attach the rope at the spot where the tennis ball just barely touches your windshield.

In the future, you’ll know to stop your car when you pull into the garage and the ball makes contact with the windshield.

7. Use an app to find a parking spot

Whether you’re on your way to a show or just going to work, finding a parking spot at the last minute can be challenging, particularly in busy areas.

Fortunately, there are many phone apps that help you locate available parking spots within your target area. You can compare prices, and some apps even allow you to reserve a parking spot in advance.

8. De-ice a frozen lock with hand sanitizer

On a cold day, rain or snow might cause your lock to freeze up. But there is an easy fix if you don’t have a lock de-icer.

Putting a small amount of sanitizer on your key before sliding it into the lock should do the trick. The alcohol in the sanitizer works to de-ice the lock.

Pro tip: Cars are expensive to buy and maintain. But you can save cash by comparing auto insurance quotes and choosing the insurer with the right policy at the best price.

9. Use cupcake liners to catch crumbs

It’s easy to pledge never to bring food into your newly cleaned car, but it’s hard to keep that promise when you need to eat on the run. As a result, it can feel downright impossible to keep cup holders clean.

Here’s an easy fix: Place a cupcake liner in each of the cup holders in your car. The liners catch all of the debris that builds up over time and are super easy to remove and toss.

10. Buy a dash cam so you have a record of your trips

A dash cam is an excellent investment for most drivers because it allows you to record what’s happening while you’re driving.

If another car darts out in front of you or backs out while you’re driving by, you’ll capture this on camera. That can help boost your claim if you need to file one later. Choose a Wi-Fi-enabled option for the easiest solution.

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Bottom line

Each of these tips can improve your driving experience or help you save money and keep more cash in your bank account.

DIY hacks like those mentioned on this list lower your costs. And when you need the help of others, shopping around can get you the best deal. Use these tips to extend your vehicle’s lifespan as you keep your wallet full.

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This article 10 Genius Car Hacks Every Driver Should Know originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.

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