17 Car Hacks for Cleaning and Maintenance

A fuel gauge for a car showing the tank on empty.

Cars are a big part of our everyday lives. Whether it's commuting to work every morning or going on a long road trip, we tend to spend a good chunk of time inside our trusty vehicles. While you could spend a lot of money on repairs and specialty items to outfit your car, here is a list of simple hacks that will make your ride all the more enjoyable.

Trash Can Solution

A plastic cereal storage box is a great and inexpensive way to keep the trash in your car under control. Pick out one with a good lid, place a trash bag inside, and you’re good to go.

Air Fresheners

Dryer sheets are a great alternative to freshen up your car. You can hide the sheets under the seats and in the vents for a constant source of fresh smell, or place an open box in the back seat.

Repairing Scratches

A close-up of a white car with a scratch by the handle.

Few things are more annoying than scratches in your vehicle’s paint. Luckily, there is a simple solution. You can use nail polish to remove any insightful blemishes. Just pick out a color that closely matches the tint of the car.

Dent Removal

A plunger is a great tool for removing medium-sized dents in your car. Just place the plunger over the dented surface and pull until the dent pops out.

Positioning Mirrors

A car side mirror against a blue sky.

Eliminating blind spots on the side of your car will definitely increase your safety while on the road. Your side mirrors should be positioned to a point where you cannot see your own car.

Cleaning the Windshield

You can use a razor blade to remove gunk on your windshield, especially when a good cleaner is not available. The blade will easily remove the grime without scratching the glass.

Restoring the Interior

A man cleaning the interior of their car with a yellow rag.

A rag or coffee filter dabbed in olive oil can do wonders to your car’s dashboard. Olive oil can also be used to clean up glass surfaces, like the display on a CD deck, for example.

Trunk Organizer

Let’s face it, trunks can be one of the messiest places in a car. To avoid things rolling around in the back of your car, use a shower caddy to keep everything well organized and contained.

Cleaning Headlights

Cleaning the headlights on a car with a purple rag.

Headlights can get very dirty after a while. To allow your headlights to shine their brightest, apply some toothpaste with a firm brush. Wipe the paste away with a cloth to reveal the like-new headlight.

Fuel Tank Reminder

It can be difficult to remember which side of the car the gas tank is located, especially when driving an unfamiliar vehicle. Fortunately, most vehicles have an arrow next to the fuel gauge that will tell you which side to park on at the gas station.

Fixing Windshield Cracks

A crack in a car's windshield.

When not fixed properly, cracks in the windshield can spread over time. To keep the crack from spreading, put a layer of clear nail polish on both sides of the windshield.

Back Seat Organizers

Whether you are traveling with children or just have too much stuff in your car, back seat organizers can help keep things in order. Attach a shower organizer or a shoe organizer to the back of the seat and place all of your must-have items inside the pocket.

Key Ring Trick

A heart key chain and a key.

Opening a key ring can be a nuisance. To avoid breaking nails or hurting your fingers, use a staple remover to separate the ring.

Removing Stickers

Remove stubborn and old windshield stickers with a newspaper and some warm water. Soak the paper in the water and then apply it to the sticker for ten minutes.

Avoiding Frost

A car with frost on the window facing a sunrise.

You can save a lot of time in the morning if you park your car facing the east. The sunrise will start to melt away any frost that accumulated over night long before you leave for work.

Pill Bottle Storage

Loose change is a staple for any car. However, keeping the coins organized is often a nightmare. To remedy this, use an old pill container to hold all your quarters, dimes, and nickels. You can even decorate and label them accordingly.

Cell Phone Holder

If you don’t have the room in your car for a proper cell phone holder, or you simply don’t want to purchase one, then a rubber band can do the trick. Simply thread a strong elastic band through your vents, leaving a large loop on the other side for the phone.