Car Care

Seven car tips you didn't know you needed

Owning a car can sometimes feel like a love/hate relationship. It gets you from A to B and transports your gear, but it can also lead to moments of frustration.

Unexpected maintenance is one thing, but door dings, icy windscreens and parking on the wrong side of the petrol pump can be just as annoying. You can reduce the risk of certain things occurring by using some clever solutions to help take some of the pain out of everyday driving.

1) How to know which side your petrol flap is on

Often forget which side your petrol flap is located? Take a look at the fuel gauge on your dash and usually you’ll find a small arrow indicating which side the flap is on.

If not, a very small sticker or pen mark placed discretely near the gauge will suffice. 

2) How to clean your headlights

After many kilometres on the road, your car's polycarbonate headlights can get scuffed up or cloudy. It certainly doesn’t look good and can also reduce their performance.

Smear a little bit of toothpaste or light car polish onto a clean rag and softly smear over the headlights, and then wipe off. This will remove the thin cloudy layer from the headlight housing and fill in any tiny scratches.

3) How to remove a bumper sticker

Whether it's for a good cause, your favourite band or a place you've visited, bumper stickers help make your car stand out. But if your tastes change or you decide you don't like the look, peeling off a sticker can leave unsightly residue.

The solution? Dampen a sheet of newspaper and lay it over the leftover sticker. After about 15 minutes the residue will soften up and be easy to wipe away.

You can use the side of a credit card to scrape off extra sticky leftovers, but do so gently so you don't scratch the paintwork. Avoid using products like paint thinners or turps as these can damage the paint.  

4) How to prevent bumping your car doors in your garage

Pool noodles have another purpose on top of keeping you afloat. If your garage's parking space is a tad tight, they can be a great way to prevent door dings. Affix them horizontally against the wall of your garage and when your doors swing open, they'll provide a soft bumper so you don't bang your doors on the wall. A great solution if you have excitable kids.

5) How to avoid having to deice your windscreen

Hopefully we’re coming towards the end of the winter now, but this one’s still good to keep in mind.

Firstly, make a solution – three parts vinegar to one part water – and mix well. Just after sunset, spray your entire windscreen with the solution, and when you get in your car the next morning, no de-icing should be required.

6) How to keep your takeaway meal warm on the drive home

If you have heated seats on your car, there are more uses to them than just warming up your rear end!

Just picked up a takeaway pizza? Put your heated seat on the highest setting to keep it nice and warm as your drive home. Just make sure to put something of weight on top of the box – you don’t want mozzarella all over your dashboard.

7) How to stop your belongings falling beneath your seat

We’ve all been there - you’re in a rush, and as you get out of your car your pockets suddenly empty themselves, resulting in a mad scramble to pick everything back up before you get on your way.

A piece of pipe insulation or something similar (maybe even your old rugby socks) down each side of your seat should put an end to this issue.

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