“Life Hacks” for Your Car that You Can Actually Use
While “life hacks” are easy to make fun of online and through social media, one can at least admit that some of these lesser-known tips for everyday situations can range from “why didn’t I think of that” to long lost practical solutions in our tech-fueled world. Those of us who are ready to feel like modern-day renaissance men and women can look at dozens of sites online for some handy improvisational advice for stuff such as both extending the life of their car and increasing the convenience of their driving experience, perhaps even saving a bit of money along the way. Below are some really cool and easy things you can do to make your driving life easier, better, and more enjoyable.
Don’t Look At Your Car In The Mirrors
We are taught in driving schools that the proper position of side mirrors is angled to display the flank of our car and the road behind it. However, most current safety experts now believe that this method may not be the safest, and rather the mirrors should be positioned so that no part of your car appears in them. Having tried this, it becomes apparent that this is the best way to negate blind spots that require people to turn their heads when changing lanes. The mirror placements should slightly overlap with the field of view in the center-mounted rear-view mirror. It might take some getting used to, but it can make a huge difference in terms of safety.
Cool A Hot Car In Under A Minute
There are almost zero tips out there for heating a vehicle up during the harsh winters, however, for those days of dreadful summer heat, there are some quick fixes that ensure you won’t cook on the way to the next big summer blockbuster. A quick and simple way to cool down a blazing car in under a minute entails rolling down one of the windows all the way, then walking to the other side of the car and open and close the door five to ten times (carefully, you don’t want to mess up the door and the hinges). This method creates a circulating air flow that forces the trapped hot air out of the vehicle and can actually drop the inside temperature by enough to make the car feeling a whole heck of a lot cooler.
Fuel efficiency is one of the easiest ways to save money while you drive, and there’s a whole subculture of people dedicated to wringing the most juice out of every drop of gasoline. It’s called “hypermiling,” and it’s a set of behavioral changes to keep your car moving as efficiently as possible. Some of the tips out there include leaving ample space between your car and the car in front of you so you can coast in a process called drafting (being pulled by the inertia of the car in front of you) while still remaining a safe distance away. It also helps for stopping, as gradually reducing speed as opposed to slamming the brakes actually saves energy.
Keep Your Keychain Lightweight
This is something that you might find hard to believe, but it’s actually been proven true. If you want to avoid problems with your car’s ignition system, don’t put too many keys on your keychain. The inside of a traditional keyed ignition is remarkably fragile, and when too much weight is put onto the key inside, it’s pulled downwards by gravity and can wear out the ignition switch. This can be extremely bad – the switch doesn’t just start the car, it also maintains the electrical circuit, so if it fails while you’re driving your whole car can shut off. Keep your car key on its own chain.
Always forgetting where your car is parked? There’s an app for that
Don’t worry, everyone does it. Just not as often as you do! If you tend to forget where your car is parked then let your phone do the remembering for you. iParkedHere is one of many a great app that allows you to input where your car is in an indoor parking lot or outdoor. It even utilises a GPS, image capture and notes if necessary.
Dual USB power through cigarette lighter
I’ll consider this one a ‘common sense’ hack. The majority of (if not all) handheld devices these days connect and charge via USB. There isn’t much point buying the car charger kit for a specific device if you can get away with buying a dual USB charger for the cigarette lighter. This will not only save you money but if you or friends have devices they need charged, all that’s needed is it’s USB cable.
These are pretty practical techniques that most driver can get behind. They aren’t as debatable as whether or not to put your car in park during a long traffic jam or red light, nor as questionable as using a pantyhose as a temporary fan belt nor as ridiculous as using an old shoe as a cup holder. We can mock the most ridiculous “lifehacks” but if they are to truly live up to their namesake they should be practical and applicable and often underutilized. If you have any vehicle lifehacks of your own, comment below and let us know!
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Alex has worked in the automotive service industry for over 20 years. After graduating from one of the country’s top technical schools, he worked as a technician achieving a Master Technician certification. He also has experience as a service advisor and service manager. Read more about Alex.