The Car Hacks You Were Surprised Succeeded

The Car Hacks You Were Surprised Succeeded

From spices to sandpaper, here's the surprisingly successful car hacks you've tried

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A mechanic working under the hood of a car
What hacks have you turned to in a tight spot?
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Staff (Getty Images)

Hacks, tweaks and changes can all help improve small flaws you might have with your car, or could provide a quick fix when you find yourself in a tight spot.

So, we asked what the most surprising car hacks were that you’ve heard. Here are some of your best responses.

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Pizza Passengers

Pizza Passengers

Four Pizzas being carried by a waiter
Photo: Chance Yeh / Stringer (Getty Images)

“Passenger seat heater on for takeout pizza. You’re welcome.”

What is a car, if not a means of transporting food from A to B?

Suggested by: STIKleinWagon

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Car Tidy

Car Tidy

The center console on a Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

“Using a piece of pipe insulation between the seat and the center console to stop pens, pencils, iPhones, receipts, bottle caps, keys, french fries and ketchup packets from falling in-between the seat and the console. Black pipe insulation, already split, cut a slit for the seatbelt and bam you’ll wonder why you never did it before.”

With this tip, you’ll never lose another pen down the side of your car seat.

Suggested by: buckfiddiou

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Emergency Fuel Supply

Emergency Fuel Supply

A Triumph motorbike parked by a fountain
Photo: Triumph

“On bikes where the fuel tank is a saddle type and the fuel pump is located in one half, then if you run out of fuel there’s often a liter or two on the other side of the tank that won’t slosh over to the fuel-pump side. Simply lay the bike down gently on the same side as the fuel pump, then tip it over while on it’s side just enough to slosh the fuel from the other side into the side with the pump, then lift the bike back up and be careful not to lean it too much the other way.

That way, the fuel sloshed over will stay in the fuel-pump side of the tank. That’ll give you another five miles, maybe? (depends on the bike). Again – I’ve done that a couple of times.”

If you’re running on fumes, rolling your bike in this way could keep you on the road a little longer.

Suggested by: r0ckburner

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Zip Ties Fix Everything

Zip Ties Fix Everything

A man carries zip ties
Photo: Kathryn Riley / Stringer

“On a particularly long drive up the CA coast, I noticed a vibrating and rubbing sound every time I turned right, but everything seemed fine. A few more stops later and I realized that the front wheel arch covers were loose and were being blown by the wind into the tire, so they were melting from friction.

“I put some black zip ties through the original mounting holes on the body and ratcheted everything down. They were all still there when I scrapped the car 12 years later.”

Zip ties, like duct tape, can fix almost everything.

Suggested by: onceinamillenia

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Zip Ties, Continued

Zip Ties, Continued

A stainless steel cable tie
Photo: Lanmu Cable Ties

“I was looking for a cheap fix for a dragging muffler once, and found there’s such a thing as stainless steel zip ties. A few of those lasted all winter. There was still one good mount to keep it from falling off though, I wouldn’t rely on them 100%.”

Further proof that the only thing you need to carry in your car is an ample supply of zip ties.

Suggested by: stevejsmith

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Bolt and Braces

Bolt and Braces

A silver Peugeot station wagon
Photo: Peugeot

“I got a $2500 check after being rear-ended in one of my Peugeot wagons back in the day. Fixed it with $4 worth of longer bolts and a stack of washers to space the bumper back out where it belonged. Other than the divots and scratches on the bumper from the other car’s license plate, you couldn’t tell.”

When you’re wanting to save a few bucks, the car community has a multitude of different fixes that might help.

Suggested by: krhodes1

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Spicy Solutions

Spicy Solutions

A spice stall
Photo: Karim Sahib (Getty Images)

“Driving a Land Cruiser through north-western Namibia. Stopped to answer the call of nature, and discovered to my dismay that the Cruiser’s radiator was imitating my own watering of the land, as it were. Grimacing, I topped up, and topped up, and topped up again, driving more by temperature gauge than by speed, and limped to the next workshop.

“The mechanic was, of course, off hunting. But his brother was holding down the bar at a local tavern, and he came out to look at the situation. “What you need is curry powder,” he said. We mixed the curry powder up in five liters of water, and poured it into the radiator.

“You’re good to go,” said my benefactor. I eyed the “fix” dubiously. “The curry powder clots up when it hits air,” he said. “But until then it’ll just flow around like normal coolant.”

“I drove the 500km (310 miles) back to Windhoek as though on eggshells, creeping along in the dark at between 60 (37mph) and 80km/h (50mph). I was dog, dog tired when I got home, but the radiator held!

“It held for three days, in fact, and then the dam broke and my driveway smelled fantastic.”

Rumors abound of culinary ingredients being a useful fix for automotive woes. We’ve heard of egg white in the radiator, but now it turns out curry powder also does the trick.

Suggested by: Dominic von Stösser (Facebook)

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Screwdriving Savior

Screwdriving Savior

A tool box with different screwdrivers
Photo: WPA Pool / Pool (Getty Images)

“My favorite hack was using a long neck screwdriver to reach into the engine bay to short the car’s starter. That worked on my 92 Taurus.

“Worked every time, that is, until I made one last stop at the grocery store to grab a bottle of bubbly... on my way to ask my girlfriend at the time to marry me.”

As well as tightening screws, this poster used a screwdriver to short their car’s starter.

Suggested by: 1985sprinty

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Juice Can Cortina

Juice Can Cortina

A fridge full of drinks cans
Photo: Paul Ellis (Getty Images)

“Circa 1970, my 1968 Ford Cortina GT blew a hole in its muff. I examined the muffler and found out that there was a rectangular hole in it. Not wanting to spend money on a new muffler/tailpipe, I decided to repair it myself. A frozen orange juice can with both ends cut out and cut down the side yielded a rectangular patch that was both large enough and curled so it fit around the muffler well.

“I cleaned off the outside of the muffler with a wire brush and slathered the inside of the patch and the outside of the muffler with muffler cement before wrapping it around the muffler, covering the new hole. I used coat hanger wire to hold the patch on. Wonder of wonders, it worked, lasting until I replaced the tailpipe and muffler with a Stebro unit.”

Need a small piece of metal to patch a hole? Raid the empty drinks can in your car’s cup holder!

Suggested by: huttersfield

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Sand Away The Stains

Sand Away The Stains

A close up of a front head lamp on a black car
Photo: Tim Boyle (Getty Images)

“Yellowed headlights properly sanded clean up very good. Instead of using the expensive kits that never seem to actually work as advertised just go out and get some varying grits, starting at 400 and work your way to 2000. Good thing with headlights also is unlike other sanding projects you don’t really need a lot of skill to do. Just remember to go in opposite directions as you change grits and keep sanding.”

Don’t risk melting your lights with insect repellent, use a raft of different sandpapers to clear up your running lights.

Suggested by: 2ndgear

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