Is your car lacking some oomph? Does your interior have more stains than your heart? Are your headlights foggier than your love life?
These inconveniences, albeit minor ones, don’t necessarily warrant a trip to the car repair shop. After all, who wants to shell out thousands of pesos for something you can fix with an WD-40 and duct tape?
Okay, we may be exaggerating, but learning how to jury-rig your car won’t just save you a few thousand bucks but also allow you to get to know your ride better. A little knowledge of car maintenance hacks can get you far.
If you’re looking for car tips and tricks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet’s best car maintenance guides for DIY car care maintenance and tips.
Brighten your headlights—short-term
Difficulty: Like playing Need for Speed on baby mode
Since headlamp protectors are made of polycarbonate lenses, they easily oxidize with constant exposure to the sun. Couple that with dirt and grime and things get even dimmer.
When your headlamps start to become cloudy and they feel rough to the touch, it’s time you take out an old toothbrush, apply some toothpaste, and brush it thoroughly. Power your DIY cleaner up by adding some baking soda. Once you’ve brushed it enough, wipe it with water and let dry.
Brighten your headlights—long-term
Difficulty: Like parallel parking for newbies
The toothpaste hack may be effective at removing headlight haze, but like most cleaning hacks, they only last temporarily. Oxidation is bound to happen again soon.
Here’s how to make a more permanent solution. First get the following:
- Sandpapers in three different grits (400, 600, and 2000 grit)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Garbage bag
- Water sprayer or hose
- Clear coat spray
Start by wet-sanding your headlights (trust us, this works) with the lowest grit (400), then rinse. Do it again, but this time, use the second highest (600) grit. Repeat until you reach the highest grit for a smoother finish.
Once done with the wet sanding, clean your headlamps with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. With all the dust, dirt, and oil removed, it’s now time to apply your clear coat.
Evenly spray all the portions with the clear coat and let it dry. Do repeatedly for a thicker coat, then let dry for 24 hours. Once done, apply some wax and give it a good buff. The clear coat will prevent your lamps from getting oxidized—ever.
If you want more detailed instructions, watch this video from YouTuber ChrisFix.
Scratch and dent touch-up
Difficulty: Just like giving yourself a pedicure
A nail polish in your car will most definitely come handy when you have nail emergencies. If you’re lucky enough to have been keeping a nail polish that has the same color as your car, you can do a little touch-up on your exterior’s scratches and dents.
Why not keep another bottle of clear polish in your glovebox? They can also be useful when one of your windows starts to crack. Just remember that it’s not meant to be a permanent fix but a stop-gap solution so you can make it to the repair shop right on time.
Remove an old sticker
Difficulty: Like putting a stick family sticker on your rear window
To remove an old sticker from your car, give it a generous spray of WD-40 and let it soak for a bit. Remove the sticker by rubbing it with a towel. Repeat until all the residue from the sticker is gone.
Rid your car of bad smell
Difficulty: Like getting a spa treatment
Those pine-shaped car fresheners aren’t really effective in making your interior smell squeaky clean. Also, they come in weird, heavily artificial scents.
If you love the smell of spas and wellness centers, then this car maintenance hack is for you.
Get a wooden clothespin (Japan surplus shops have it) and a bottle of your favorite aromatherapy oil. Apply a drop or two of the oil on the clothespin and clip it onto your car aircon’s blades.
Let the aircon run full blast and experience aromatherapy as you wade through Guadalupe bridge.
Difficulty: Like putting on a seatbelt
In a spray bottle, combine the following ingredients:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dishwashing liquid
- Lemon juice
Spray the mixture on your car upholstery and let it sit for around 15 minutes. This will make the stains easier to remove.
Give it another round of spraying but this time, use a brush to scrub your seats. Once done, use a dry towel to absorb excess moisture. Let the air out to remove the smell of the cleaning solution.
Clean your leather seats
Difficulty: Ordering a burger meal at the drive-thru
For folks who have an exquisite taste for leather upholstery, there are many ways to keep your car seats as pristine as a mint Birkin. There are two ways to go about it.
You may combine water and dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle and give your seats a good spray. Let the solution work its way for a bit before you wipe it clean with a dry cloth.
Or: You may combine olive oil and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz some on the surface. Let it sit for a bit, then wipe.
Do not spray too much of either the solution or it can damage your precious leather seats. Go easy especially on the olive oil—you don’t want your car to smell like an Italian fast food.