Tricks and tips to save you money on car maintenance.

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Our cars and us – the ultimate love/hate relationship. They serve as an incredible convenience in our daily lives, and we love them for that. But a few days a year, they can make our lives a little trying, which is understandable considering what we put them through. So how can we make those days a little more convenient?

We took it upon ourselves to dig deep into the figurative couch corners of the internet (past your uncle’s opinions about the inauguration boycotts, past the sassy salt-sprinkling chef memes, and past the TASTY cooking videos that make it look so easy) and found a few tricks and tips to save money on car maintenance and make your automotive life a little easier.


  1. Cloudy headlights? Toothpaste is your friend.

Too often, headlight lenses are misdiagnosed as oxidized. When modern clear lenses appear yellow, what’s obscuring them is usually a film of wax and road oils. Toothpaste (especially whitening) can clean foggy headlights. Make sure that you scrub hard and rinse well with clean water. And while we have your attention, be sure to brush your pearly whites twice a day. It’s just good home care.

  1. Stubborn registration tabs? Wet a newspaper.

Every year (if you’re a good boy or girl), you change your registration tabs. The problem is that this thing has been caking on grime for 300-something days. For this one, soak some newspaper in warm water. Place it over the sticker and wait about 10 minutes. The warm water should break the seal and the sticker will slide right off.

  1. Park in a garage? Grab your wet noodle.

You know those foam tubes you use as weapons in the pool? Yeah, those. Turns out they also can be very helpful in preventing damage to your car doors. Cut the tube in half (the long way, like celery) and attach it to your wall at door level. Doesn’t matter how you get it up, but we recommend either glue, nails or bolts. This should provide a nice cushion between your garage wall and the car doors.

  1. Feel like an idiot at the pump? Your car can help.

We’ve all seen that guy at the gas station who parks on the wrong side of the pump. Sometimes he even tries to pump across the car. Of course this will never happen to you, but if you find yourself driving an unfamiliar car, there’s a way to avoid this embarrassment. Take a quick look at the fuel gauge and you’ll notice a gas tank symbol next to it. The arrow to its side will indicate if the gas tank is on your right or left.  How genius?

  1. Frosty mornings? 2 parts alcohol, 1 part water.

It’s early. You’re half-asleep. You’re late for work. And when you get to your car, you’re greeted by a frosty windshield. Instead of wasting all your energy scraping ice while the defrosters warm up, you could spray it away with a homemade de-icer. For this, take an old spray bottle and fill it with 2 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part water. Just spray it on the windshield and the ice will start break away. Wipe the melting ice off the windshield and you’re good to go. And since the alcohol will prevent the bottle from freezing, you can leave it in the car all winter. It’s simple, cheap and effective.

  1. Stinky car? To the laundry room!

Not suggesting that you smell or anything, but sometimes your car may. And whether it’s a robust gym sock scent or an aged astray aroma, it’s best for everyone if you take care of it. You could continue to buy air fresheners every few weeks or you could introduce a box of fabric softener sheets. Just open the box and let the magic begin. It’s proven to be much more effective and can save you some coin.

  1. Car remote struggling? Use your head.

Over time, car remotes start to lose range. This can be very frustrating, especially when you can’t seem to find your car in the Fred Meyer parking lot. According to some scientist (Tim Pozer, a Silicon Valley radio engineer), you actually can boost the range of the remote by holding it underneath your chin. Crazy, right? Apparently, the fluids in your head act as a pretty nice conductor. Give it a try and this should increase the range by a few car lengths.

Looks like you just added a few tricks up your automotive sleeve. Good for you. Hopefully at least one of these car hacks makes your life a little less miserable.

Dwayne Lane’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is part of Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family, a family-owned and -operated business serving customers since 1954. Six locations, nine brands and over 1500 vehicles in stock. Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family, we’ll take care of you!