You spend an awful lot of time in your car every day, especially if you have a long commute -- so why settle for what you're given when you can make it better on the cheap? Here are eight ways to do just that.
8. Remember Where You Parked
Finding your car in the supermarket lot might not be that hard, but when you're in a giant structure or enormous stadium parking lot, things get trickier. Sure, you could always just snap a photo of your section in the lot, but you could also use apps like Park Me Right or Valet which offer plenty of extra smart parking features. If all else fails, though, you could always do the ol' "walk through the lot pressing your panic button".
7. Break Into It When You Lose Your Keys
Constantly locking yourself out of your car? It's time to get your hands dirty. Every car is a little different, and the newer the car, the harder it is to unlock without a key, but that doesn't mean you can't try. Try opening it up with a door stop and metal rod, or -- if you don't have access to those things -- a shoelace, which might work too.
6. Avoid Traffic Tickets With The Help Of Technology
Sure, you could always try to beat a speeding ticket on your good looks and charm, but this is the new millennium -- you've got technology on your side. This awesome GPS hack will let you know when red light cameras are ahead. We've even heard of cases where GPS apps helped someone fight a ticket, so never underestimate the tools at your disposal. Image: Scott Davidson.
5. Upgrade Your Car's Hardware, Inside And Out
Just because you aren't a mechanic doesn't mean you can't squeeze a bit of extra performance out of your car. We've shared a lot of DIY upgrades you can make, from better tyres to better handling to the small stuff, like a USB power outlet, a $3 auxiliary jack, or automatic lights in your glove box and footwells. Just remember, though: some upgrades are more useful than others, and some are better left to the professionals. Image: Hemi Truck Club.
4. Protect It From Damage
There's nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you get in an accident or scrape against the side of a pole, so do everything you can to protect your car from damage. Using the correct mirror positioning can go a long way, but there are a few other DIY tricks you can try to keep everything intact. If you're prone to scraping your car in your garage, park it perfectly every time with a tennis ball, and protect your doors with a pool noodle. If you're worried about other cars, you might try installing some DIY lights that turn on when you open your door, too.
3. Keep It Clean the DIY Way
It's remarkably easy to clean and detail your own car, even if you don't have professional-grade cleaners lying around. In fact, you can clean almost your entire car with nothing but shampoo, bicarbonate of soda and water, with a bit of nail polish remover to get that sap off (or soda water for bird poo). Toothpaste will work on some of those scratches and foggy headlights, but if there's one tool every car detailer should have in his or her arsenal, it's a razor blade. Take one of those suckers to your windshield or windows (not the car body!) and you can get just about anything off. Photo by Eduardo Sciammarella.
2. Repair And Maintain Your Car Without A Mechanic
When it comes time to repair your car or perform some maintenance, chances are you can save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself. Yes, some things should be left to the pros, but you'd be surprised at what someone with no prior knowledge can do. From replacing drive belts, batteries and brake pads to fixing dents with a plunger (or glue gun), there's a lot you can do on your own.
1. Integrate Your Gadgets
Lots of new cars have full-blown computers inside of them ready to wait on your every whim, but if you've got a slightly older model, you can still integrate your favourite gadgets without too much work. If you want to go simple, you can mount your phone or tablet in your car with just a few simple items, or do a bit of extra work and actually build the dock into your dashboard (for a phone, tablet, or even an iPod nano).
Want more than that? You can add Bluetooth and inductive charging to your car too, control it with your voice, and even remote start your car with a text message. Just make sure you keep that mess of technology and cables organised. Photo by DaLee_pl.