What Are Your Best Parking Hacks?

Illustration for article titled What Are Your Best Parking Hacks?
Photo: @1987Camaro305 (Other)

We can agree that the act of driving is the most enjoyable part of owning an automobile. But we can’t drive all the time, so parking that car becomes a necessity. Depending on the circumstances, parking can be a tricky, whether it’s in a lot, a garage or on the street.


What are some of the best parking hacks that you have learned over the years?

Recently I had to “commute” for about a week to a parking garage in Philadelphia. My wife went in for surgery to have her spinal hardware removed. It’s a long story, but she is doing fine. When you enter and exit the same garage every day for a week, you start to learn some tricks. This is one of those parking garages where you drive up a spiral to get to each level, and the corners are tight and a bit dicey for a larger vehicle like our 2019 Honda Odyssey. One wrong move and paint ends up on the wall.

The image below doesn’t quite illustrate how tight these turns are, but keeping the paint on the bodywork comes down to a matter of inches.

Illustration for article titled What Are Your Best Parking Hacks?
Photo: Tom McParland

One trick I figured out for navigating something like this is to keep your lights on. As the lights come closer to the wall, the lighted spot compresses. Think about holding a flashlight and walking closer to a wall in your house: The light beam will behave differently as the distance decreases. I found that having the headlights on let me gauge the distance between the car and the wall much better.


The other tip, which is painfully obvious but didn’t occur to me until about the fifth day, is to take a picture of your car and the level. While I am usually pretty good about remembering where I’ve parked, this was mostly because I was typically parked on the top level. But one night I had to hop in and out of the elevator on three different levels to figure out where I’d left the van.

Parking garages are one thing, but street parking and even lot parking is another. What are your best parking tips for any situation?

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)


moistened bint

In just the past year I have learned that if the cars never leave the driveway, I never have a problem finding a place to park.

This is also a super life-hack gas-saving tip to rival the Fuelshark.