How to add secret compartments to your car—and other cool hacks

How to add secret compartments to your car—and other cool hacks

Check out Jalopnik's ten awesome secret car hacks. It includes a complete guide to add secret compartments to your car—which is useful for criminals and innocent people pretending to be criminals.

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Pending approvalOriginal post by Máté Petrány on Jalopnik

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Standard car equipment keeps getting better, but there is always space for improvement. Here are ten brilliant car hacks you've probably never heard of.

If you're not into making your car better, here's also a great prank that uses the horn, just in case you want to surprise your friends...


10.) Use a shoe and some duct tape as a cup holder

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

POD says having a European car and an extra large soda is a win-win. Putting hot coffee close to your genitals is not.

Suggested By: POD, Photo Credit: K Mick


9.) Automatic disguised as a manual

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Slacks just couldn't take the shame of having an automatic, so he made an improvement:

Back in my ricier days, I decided an automatic family car was too pedestrian, and to avoid ridicule, I replaced the shift gate with the manual trim pieces.

The new shift knob, however, couldn't accommodate the "Overdrive" button, so I rigged it to a hidden push button switch using the cigarette lighter housing. (I didn't smoke or ever plug in anything).

As "poser" as it was, it once delayed a would-be car thief long enough for me to arrive at the scene. He couldn't find the clutch pedal and didn't know how to get it in gear!

Suggested By: Slacks, Photo Credit: Jimmy@R.H.


8.) Cigarette lighter as a kill switch

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

This car won't go, unless you know parkrndl's secret:

For a while, I had an interesting hidden kill switch on my old Impala...

I disconnected the heavy orange 12v lead from the back of the cigarette lighter, and taped it off so it wouldn't ground on anything. (Zzzap!) Then I ran a wire from the contact on the back of the lighter to the negative side of the coil (same place you'd hook up a tachometer lead). When the lighter was pushed in, it grounded the coil and the car wouldn't start. Pull the lighter out and it starts right up. Same principle as the Chapman lock on the old Nova my dad had when I was a kid, but without the ugly little lock cylinder hanging under the dash...

I disconnected it and hooked the lighter lead back up when we all started getting tech-crazy and needed to be charging phones and shit all the time...

Suggested By: parkrndl will have a CVT with mayo on white toas, Photo Credit: DVS1mn


7.) The Sun as your windshield defroster

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

The sun can do all your work for you when it comes to defrosting your car in winter, as tomtom615 explained.

During the winter, park your car facing East, the heat of the sun will help defrost your windshield for you.

Suggested By: tomtom615, Photo Credit: Rob Boudon


6.) Ford's oil pressure gauge as a real oil pressure gauge

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Apparently, on mid 80s and up Ford pickups, due to the complains about low oil pressure, Ford decided to make the oil pressure gauge read mid-way as long as there was at least 6 psi of oil pressure. CobraJoe knows how to fix that:

First: Replace the small oil pressure sender (on the right) with a larger canister style one (on the left). (There's a PN in the link below, but it's an older Ford oil pressure sender, any parts store should have one in stock.)

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Second: Find the resistor built into the gauge or the input wire and replace it with a regular wire. I know on early MN12 and SN95 cars it's built into the back of the gauge circuit board.

Third: Enjoy knowing what your oil pressure really is.

Built Ford tough, right?

Suggested By: CobraJoe, Photo Credit: ford8n


5.) Police car dashboards as tidy as in a Volvo

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

Takuro Spirit has some ideas for normal-sized humans driving police cars:

Since I know you Jalops love your Panthers, but are too poor to afford a Marauder, and all that's in your budget is used police cars (Hell, it was mine as well years back, and still is today), but DAMMIT! They don't come with center consoles/armrests, and the radio is SO HARD to reach with normal sized arms! So after spending some time with my car(s), and online forums (crownvic.net) I learned these two awesome mods!

First, you can quite easily swap the radio and HVAC controls around, placing the radio closer to reach, and the less often used HVAC controls up where the radio is.... IF you have a single DIN unit, that is.

AND, you can install a 2nd gen Taurus console (most commonly found in SHO's with buckets) with minimal trimming and you gain a cupholder that doesn't suck, a couple storage areas, and if you're REALLY crafty, you can add a floor mounted shifter! I did not.

Suggested By: Takuro Spirit has a Camry Race Car according to Matt Farah, Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe


4.) A hockey puck as a Canada special

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

After market air filter for an LT1 Chevy? No problem! The hockey edition sounds better too according to 472CID:

On LT1 Caprices you could remove the air box silencer (allowing after market air cleaners, and more/better noise) and plug the hole with a hockey puck.

Suggested By: 472CID, Photo Credit: Some Chevy Forum


3.) Ashtrays as your 12v power source

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

You have a Lincoln Continental, but you don't smoke. CleverUsername has a solution:

Turn an unused ashtray into a double 12V outlet for under $10!

Suggested By: CleverUsername, Photo Credit: Kaz Andrew


2.) A cassette adapter as Bluetooth

Brilliance, also under ten bucks.

Suggested By: Brian, The Life of


1.) Hidden compartments as extra security

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

The picture shows what's not a clever way of hiding stuff. Gamecat235 explained how the now-legendary secret-compartment builder Alfred Anaya had much better ideas, but they sent him to jail for it

Alfred Anaya's "illegal" compartments were pure wizardry, until he fell into the wrong crowd.

A sampling of one:

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

1. Sit in driver’s seat.

The trap is connected to a pressure sensor under the driver’s seat; someone must be sitting in the seat before the compartment can be opened.

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

2. Close all doors.

The stash spot won’t open unless all the doors are closed—which would rarely be the case during a typical roadside search by law enforcement officers.

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

3. Turn on defroster.


To continue the unlatching sequence, you must activate the rear defroster while simultaneously pushing two window switches on the driver’s door.

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

4. Swipe card.

A magnet is hidden behind an air-conditioning vent. A magnetic card must be swiped across the vent to complete the sequence that unlocks the trap.

Ten Awesome Secret Car Hacks

5. Retrieve contraband.

A pair of hydraulic cylinders open the hatch for the secret compartment, which is located in the void where the passenger-side airbag should be.

Read Wired's story, the guy is a genius.

Suggested By: Gamecat235, Photo Credit: CBP Photography

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Jason Torchinsky/Nyan Cat/Jalopnik

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