45 Hacks To Turn Back The Miles On A Car’s Appearance

By Navkiran K

This article was originally published on drivingtodays

If you’re like most people, your car is one of your most prized possessions. It’s ideal for keeping it in good condition to avoid costly repairs down the road. But sometimes, small issues can turn into big problems if they’re not fixed quickly. And it’s no secret that cars are expensive. What if we told you that there were some affordable fixes you could make to your car to help improve its performance and prolong its life? From small tweaks like changing your car freshener regularly to bigger things like getting a dashcam, these tips will help you save money and keep your car on the road. So don’t wait — start fixing those car issues today! Here are 45 car problems and repairs to help you keep your vehicle running smoothly.

1. Vaseline is your new best friend

Vaseline, aka Petroleum Jelly, helps you out when everything else fails. It is excellent for the skin and also for your dashboard. Vaseline’s effectiveness for a clean dashboard is envy-worthy and comparable even to some specialized products for the car.

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Start by cleaning your car’s interiors using water and some cleaning solution. Let it dry completely before proceeding with the next step. Now take a soft fabric and apply some vaseline to it. Use this to polish the dashboard, and you’ll see how shiny and clean it looks. 

2. DIY car freshener

If you have an old candle jar, you can put it to use to make your car smell heavenly. This is the best way to keep your car smelling fresh and new. Just find a scent that speaks to you, or try a few until you find one you like.

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Drill the holes in the bottom of the old jar and scoop some fragrant wax from the new candle. Move it into the old jar and place it in your car. Even without burning the candle, the wax will give off an appealing scent that won’t overpower your senses. 

3. Keep your coins in place

We all know the feeling of searching under our car’s seats for lost items, only to have them fall through tiny cracks and into impossible places. It’s frustrating! Fortunately, there are ways around this problem — one being foam pool noodles!

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Cut them lengthwise and it will make a tight fit down inside those pesky crevices between the seats and the center console. As a result, you won’t have to go on a mission impossible to find your lost coins, keys, and whatnot. You’ll never lose these items again!

4. Work on those dents

Have you ever had a dent in your car that just won’t go away? Often, they’re mostly cosmetic and not worth the hundreds of dollars that the shop will charge for fixing it. Now, you can fix it in your own home with some hot water and a plunger.

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Splash hot water on the dent and then use the plunger to push and pull the dent until it comes out. This will save you a trip to the car repair shop. You can do this if the dents aren’t too prominent and there is no further damage to the car. 

5. Magic of toothpaste on headlights

The headlights on your car are exposed to changes in weather and other elements daily. Over time, these may become yellow due. Before you go to replace them, here’s a hack to clean them at home without spending too much money.

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You can solve the problem of yellowing headlights in less than 30 minutes with a cloth, soap, water, and toothpaste. First, wash your car’s lights using a gentle cleanser to remove all traces of dirt. Now use a whitening toothpaste in circular rubbing motions over the headlights. After 4-5 minutes, the headlights will look way better. 

6. Use your phone hands-free

Not every car has a built-in GPS unit, and the vast majority of drivers today rely on one or more GPS apps to find their way. But driving with your phone in hand is extremely dangerous! Next time you need to check directions, try this hack:

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With just an elastic band and pen, you can create a phone holder that attaches to your ventilation system. Start by wrapping the cord around one of its vents, then secure it with some clips. Now place your phone inside the loops. 

7. Easy deep clean

You may not need your windshield wipers in the summer season. However, in rainy weather, you will rely on them constantly. Although you might think that the rain will wash your car for you, it’s never a bad idea to do some cleaning yourself.

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To make sure the bristles of the wipers are clean, you may have to spend some time deep cleaning them. If you don’t want the hassle of using water, alcohol will do! Simply rub some isopropyl alcohol on the bristles to degrease them.

8. Learn all about the button controls

You may not know about this button in your car, but it’s possibly one of the most important ones for a properly ventilated car. The is the car’s recirculation button that ensures all the corners of the car are well ventilated.

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There is a flip side to this button as it uses the outside air. So, you will not want the pollution to come in if you’re stuck in traffic. In this situation, you can press this button and seal the air in the car. This will also help you save some fuel. 

9. Onion for burnt leather

This is an excellent tip if you need to sell your car soon and want it to look newer than what the mileage says. With daily use, stains can appear that gives the leather an older appearance which makes them difficult for buyers or sellers in general — but not anymore!

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Simply slice up one raw onion into small pieces before placing it on top of any affected areas where there are burn marks/stains. Leave these spots uncovered so they may heal properly overnight and you’ll observe the stains are less visible in the morning. 

10. Clean all the corners

All the small crevices in the car aren’t accessible, and that can be difficult to clean up. These include the buttons of your car and slits of the air conditioning. As a result, this may lead to your car getting smelly and the AC not working correctly.

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For cleaning these spaces, buy a sticky cleaning gel that has a slimy consistency. This will collect and remove all the dirt from tiny crevices. Moreover, it will clean the air conditioning vents and ensure that it works at full capacity. 

11. Deal with the melted crayon situation 

If you have kids, you’ll know the pain of keeping anything clean at home. If you give them crayons to keep them occupied, they’re prone to turn every surface into a canvas. This includes the walls of your house, floor, and even the car seats.

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You can remove melted crayon marks using waxed paper and a hot iron. Just place the paper on the stain and use the hot iron over it. The crayon will transfer to the paper when heated. Repeat this until the seat is free from melted crayons.

12. No more foggy windshields

Winter can be a difficult time to drive because of condensation that forms on windows from the temperature difference between the cold air outside and warm air inside. This is an unsafe situation as there is a lack of visibility and it may lead to confusion or accidents on the road.

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One solution for this is to use cat litter. It’s designed with silicate as one of its components, which helps absorb moisture in the air, so you don’t have this problem! You should put some cat litter inside old socks. After tying them tightly, place them throughout the car’s interior surfaces. 

13. Don’t just drink your cola

Coca-Cola has so many uses when it comes to cleaning. If you have rust stains on your car, you can get rid of them using cola. Just grab a bottle from the fridge and pour some on the rust stains on your old car.

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Let the soda sit and do its magic for a while. Now, take a soft cloth to wipe it off. You’ll see the rust is almost gone and your car looks better than before. Just remember not to use this method on the car paint as it can damage the lacquer. 

14. Have perfect clean leather interiors

Leather car seats are a delicate material that can easily get destroyed over time. To keep them in good condition, many people recommend the use of olive oil after you are done cleaning the seats. First, clean them using hot soapy water.

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This will remove dirt, grime, and marks from the leather surface. After this, rub a small amount of olive oil on the seats. This will prevent the leather from cracking and drying out. If there are some cracks, leave the olive oil on the seats for a few hours before wiping. 

15. Use an automatic Dashcam

You may consider this hack to be on the expensive side; however, this one is worth the investment in the long run. Good car cameras such as the Garmin Dash Cam have a strong GPS sensor technology. It can capture the whole road ahead with its wide lens.

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Moreover, you may use the dashcam to take pictures and start or stop recording using voice commands. The camera is 3.7 megapixels, so it can work in low light and deliver 1440p video quality. It can also be used for insurance claims as proof. 

16. Soda to remove corrosion 

Your car battery terminals may get greasy and dusty over time. Moreover, this dirt in the terminals may make your engine work harder and even prevent the car from starting. Although this problem is serious, it can be combated with a simple solution.

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Just grab a can of coke and pour it on some cloth. First, make sure you have rinsed the cloth in warm water. Use the cloth to remove debris and corrosion from the battery terminals. This will also help to prolong the life of the battery. 

17. Sock protection for the windshield wipers

Everyone has a massive pile of socks at home that are of no use because their “partner” sock was eaten by the washing machine. Put those socks to use to safeguard your windshield wipers. This will help in removing the condensation.

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All you have to do is cover the wiper with the sock so that it does not stick to the windshield. When the temperature drops, your car will be ready to go by just removing the socks. As a bonus, they’ll help keep your wipers off the windshield, even if they fall down.

18. Penny test for your safety

You may not consider pennies to be useful anymore; however, they can be a lifesaver if you own a car. The penny test will help you find out the health of your tires and when you should be changing them to make sure your car drives smoothly.

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Use a penny to check the depth of the tread starting from the bottom. If the treads of the tires cross Lincoln’s head on the penny, then your tires are still in good condition. However, if they cannot make it past his brow, then you need new wheels. 

19. No more stinky car

If you eat food in the car or have pets and kids, you know how hard it is to keep your car smelling fresh. If there are crumbs in the car and you forget to clean them, there will be a bad smell in there for days.

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Using a chemical-based toxic air freshener may not be the answer to solving the stinky car issue. Instead, try using essential oils on a cotton ball. Scents like lavender, mint, or citronella are all perfect for this hack. The essential oils will slowly release the aroma and keep your car fresh. 

20. No more annoying imperfections

Does your car have minor scratches on the body? Before you go to get your car repaired, head to your bathroom to find a repair item waiting for you at home. You may use toothpaste, shoe polish, glue, nail polish, or candle wax.

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Now, these items may not make the scratches entirely disappear, but they’ll make your car look better compared to before. For nail polish, find a color that matches the car’s paint as much as possible. In addition, rub toothpaste with a soft cloth to get rid of scratches. 

21. Freedom from icy mirrors

It can be tough getting up on a cold winter morning, but it’s nothing compared to the challenge of fighting ice accumulation in your car. Thankfully we found an easy way for you to avoid this. All you need are some small sandwich bags.

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Instead of working hard to clean your side-view mirrors in the morning, trying not to scratch them, place the sandwich bags over the mirror the night before. They’ll reduce the ice formation, and prevent snow accumulation on cold winter nights.

22. Potatoes for defrosting glass

No need to head out into Walmart with a list of supplies when you can just use something that is already in your kitchen! Defrosting car windows is very tricky and time-consuming, but this solution won’t require any special ingredients.

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Simply cut an unpeeled potato and pass its skinless side over the glass until you see the fog is gone — this means it’s doing its job. The scratch from the potato will prevent water from condensing over the glass and provide a clear view.

23. For the unreachable corners 

There are so many areas in the car that are almost impossible to clean unless you have the right tool. You may find this tool right in your bathroom closet. Cotton swabs are small and precise for cleaning crevices of the car.

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They’ll work on the pesky marks on steering wheels and hard-to-reach places like vents and gaps. Not only are Q-tips inexpensive, but their softness means there’s less chance it’ll damage the places you’re cleaning. You can even keep a few in your glove box for on-the-go touch-ups.

24. Quick hairdryer heat hack

A hairdryer is a versatile appliance that can be used for many different purposes around the house, and removing pesky stickers from your car might just take it to new heights. Aim the dryer at the adhesive sticker and turn up the heat.

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The high temperature will work on the glue of the sticker and loosen the grip on the car surface. Within a few minutes, you’ll be able to remove even the oldest decals. Your car will look sober and good as new now.

25. Spotless carpets 

When your car’s carpets are looking a little worse for the wear, you might be tempted to just shake them off and hope for the best. But this cleaning trick will have all of those dirty spots cleaned right up, so they’re perfect again.

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Use a stain remover over the mats and let it work for a while. Transfer these mats to the washing machine with some detergent and see how quickly you have spotless carpets. Dry them in the sun to ensure they are not wet as it may lead to humidity and mildew.

26. DIY tinted windows

The beauty of this DIY project is that it can be done at home with just a few ingredients you probably already have. First, paint the windows using maple syrup, and then add charcoal toothpaste to create a darker finish to tint them.

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Now cover the car windows using plastic wrap and leave it on for an hour. Remove the plastic wrap and clean the windows. And there you have an instant window tinting service without ever stepping foot outside! Apply the mix carefully so that the products will not damage your car. 

27. Stickers won’t be a problem anymore

If you don’t have a hairdryer, here’s another sticker hack for you. Stickers can be extremely annoying as they’re always there and stubbornly refuse to leave even after trying all of these methods to remove them. Well, we have good news — WD 40 is the answer!

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Apply some directly onto your sticker and let soak in for a while before washing off. You’ll be amazed at how good this hack works, as the adhesive glue will come off so quickly. After removing the stickers, just wipe the surface with a soft cloth.

28. Dry mud removal

One of the most common car care challenges is removing mud from your tires. It’s always best to clean it while wet, but if that isn’t an option for whatever reason, you can use oven cleaner foam instead to get rid of the dry mud.

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Apply a good dose onto the muddy wheels. Let the foam sit a while on the tires to work on the mud and any other debris stuck to the wheels. Then wash off with warm water leaving behind shiny wheels for days. 

29. Pool noodles for the door rescue

Parking spaces are a valuable and sometimes a scarce resource. If you have to park in an area with very little room, like next door or against another wall — then this trick is for you. All it takes are two pool noodles screwed onto either side near where your car sits.

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These pool noodles will prevent your door from getting scratched when you park your car in the designated spot. Moreover, you will not wake up to new dents each morning when you parked your car in a hurry last night.

30. Keep the tissues handy

Tissues; we all need them. But for some of us, it can be difficult to find a cloth when we’re driving or riding shotgun in the car with friends. Besides, you may have shoved them deep into a compartment and they’ll never see the light of day again.

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So how about this? Buy yourself one small tissue holder that attaches to your sun visor and set up the tissues there. No more digging around compartments, risking swerving on the road, when there could be some easily in arm’s reach.

31. Easiest tar removal 

Tar stains are no fun, but they don’t have to keep you from enjoying your car! All it takes is one application of this magical liquid, and those pesky marks will be gone. We are talking about mayonnaise to clean the tar marks from your car.

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Simply apply a small amount on fabric or leather — anywhere that’s been affected. Now rub the area gently until all the tar residue has been removed before letting it rest for five minutes. After this, clean the area with a clean cloth and let it dry.

32. Peppermint gum for leaks

Your car may get leaks and make you worry while driving if there are no repair shops around. A simple solution can buy you some time to prevent any more leaks and reach your destination safely. While this hack is temporary, it is effective.

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This trick will help you stop a leak that may have started in your car’s engine compartment. Chew some mint or gum and stick it into the hole causing this problem. This will give you more time before taking out your car for repair at an auto shop!

33. Perfectly shiny interiors for days 

Did you know you don’t need pricey items to make your car’s interior shine? You can give your car a shiny finish in just two easy steps with this homemade mixture. First, mix kerosene and water until you have enough liquid to wet one side of an old cloth.

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Now take that wet piece of fabric and wipe the interior parts of the car. Ensure that you polish them and remove the mixture only to leave a nice shine. This will also prevent dust formation on the insides while making them look nice. 

34. Organize the trunk storage 

You’ll never need to worry about your groceries slipping and sliding around in the back again once you follow this quick and easy hack. Install a simple bar to avoid the mess and noise that comes with storing items in your trunk.

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Add some S hooks to hang what you need to transport — such as food bags, toys, drinks, and other knick-knacks. Moreover, your truck storage will be noise-free as these items will be secure and won’t rattle around while you’re driving. 

35. No more bird poop on the windshield

Imagine your car’s windows sparkling clean without any bird droppings or scratches. It is possible to achieve this by using soda water and letting the bubbles do their magic. Apply soda on the bird dropping and let it sit there for a while.

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But be wise not to use too much soda since it can damage the paintwork on the car’s hood! When trying this hack, place a towel below the windshield and wait patiently while the soda dissolves the stains. Afterward, you’ll see the windshield remains stain-free for longer, giving a clear view. 

36. Defrost door handles 

It may be very frustrating to wake up to your car handle frozen on a snowy day. If you need to be somewhere in a hurry, it may take a lot of time to heat up the car and get in. The solution to this problem can also be found in the kitchen.

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When you need a quick fix for frozen door handles, all it takes is cooking spray! Spray the cooking oil on your hinges until you are able to open the door. It is best to keep the cooking spray handy in the winter season.

37. DIY vacuum nozzle 

We don’t always need to buy expensive attachments for the vacuum cleaner for the car. These specialized pieces are very costly, and there really isn’t much more general use for them! However, you can still vacuum your car without breaking the bank.

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You’ll need one simple cardboard tube to put on the vacuum nozzle. After putting tape or glue on it, the DIY attachment will work like a real one. Just remember to flatten the cardboard nozzle to reach the small spaces of your vehicle.

38. Coffee filters to the rescue

Coffee filters are an ideal material for combating dust. These are lint-free cloths that do not leave behind any fibers when used in car crevices to keep the areas clean. While using the coffee filters, you will not need to vacuum your car constantly.

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You just have to drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the coffee filter and wipe the car surface. The filter will collect all the dirt without leaving any greasiness and dust behind. Besides, it’ll add some shine to the interiors. 

39. Enjoy the shiny wheels

Wheel cleaning is not always an easy task. The chemicals found in most auto shops can be expensive and sometimes hard on your vehicle’s paint job, but there are other solutions! One way to get rid of dirty or worn-out wheels without spending more money is bleach.

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Follow these steps: mix detergent + bleach until they form a thick liquid; add warm water. Apply this on the wheels and then allow it to sit for three minutes before wiping off excess. This simple trick will leave your wheels squeaky clean.

40. Restore the car’s bumper

Your car’s bumper may be wearing down to an unflattering shade of gray, but don’t worry! Did you know that your car’s bumper can be restored to its former perfect black by using shoe polish with a sponge? Just use the right amount for what you want.

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Using the shoe polish, pass over every inch or so until your desired look is achieved. Work patiently while applying pressure in straight strokes all around edges that have become rough from wear. Alter the amount of polish used as per the color of the bumper.

41. Get rid of insects with WD-40

All car owners know how annoying it is to have small bugs stuck to the windshield and car exterior. Even when they are so tiny, they can be distracting and reduce visibility. Besides, it is so hard to remove them without damaging your car.

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WD-40 is the answer to all your automotive insect problems. No matter how small they are, if you catch them in time and use WD 40, then there will be no problem removing these pesky bugs without damaging paint or windows!

42. Handy paper towels on the go

Paper towels can do it all! They’re super absorbent, lightweight, and flexible. You’ll never need to think about having a mess again because they are an ideal cleaning supply for everyday use in your home or car. They are great for easily cleaning up any car mishap.

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When you need to store paper towels safely in your car, use a short elastic cord inside the lid of the trunk. This will prevent the roll from wandering around and leaving another mess for you to clear. Moreover, the roll will not get damaged or unravel.

43. All-purpose conditioner

Cleaning your car may be a tedious task, but it doesn’t have to leave you with a mess. There is actually one way that will keep the shine up and make sure there are no watermarks or dust spots on what should always stay clean.

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Add some silicone or lanolin-based conditioner to the cleaning water before starting! Just put about one tablespoon into a bucket of soapy cleaning water, then give everything else a good washdown. Also, pay attention, especially around areas that may get dust accumulated the most.

44. Clean cup holders

Cupcake liners are the perfect solution for removing dirt from cup holders. These disposable, lightweight, and durable cardboard cups can be placed in your car’s beverage holder to pick up any crumbs or napkins without worrying about damaging the surface of the car.

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These liners will also prevent the buildup of oil or water inside the cup holders of your car. The best part is that these are easier to store and use in the car. Besides, their clean-up is convenient as you just need to pick them up and throw them into the trash.

45. Insulation for your ride 

Insulating your car may be one way to be more comfortable and save on energy. By sealing the gaps between the dashboard and windshield, you’ll maintain the car’s temperature in the winter months and get noise cancellation from the outside environment.

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You’ll require scissors, measuring tape, and pipe insulation for this hack. These supplies are easy on your pocket, while the benefits will save you in the long run. You can install this pipe insulation yourself. Just measure it precisely to fit the dashboard.