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True Or False: Popular Car Hacks Debunked

Photo: Home Hacks

Everyone loves a good hack because it has the ability to save people a lot of time and money, especially these days. And while you may be an expert on your vehicle, there are certainly some nifty tricks that you probably don’t know.

However, be aware that there tend to be some false car hacks floating around the Internet that not only don’t really work, but can actually damage your car. Be advised, but maybe share with some car gurus which tricks are actually worth your time and which ones you should definitely avoid.

Prevent Door Dings With Pool Noodles

Photo: Mum’s Grapevine

True: You can install a pool noodle on the walls inside your vehicle to prevent door dings when exiting after pulling into a tight parking spot. However, this only works if you do it properly. Otherwise, it could potentially be a disaster.

You should be sure to only use double-sided tape, as using nails or screws to attach the pool noodle can easily scratch or dent your door. Also, attaching a pool noodle to the inside of your garage will help you gauge how much space you have next to the garage wall when coming home daily.

Pantyhose Can Replace an Engine Drive Belt

Photo: Your DIY

False: This might work for a few vehicles, but the vast majority of cars will not benefit from this hack. This trick of using pantyhose can work with v-belts, which had deeper grooves on the pulleys.

Most cars use a serpentine belt to move pulleys at the same time, and every car has a different number of pulleys spinning in different directions. Naturally, this is a system that a simple pantyhose cannot replace. Drive belts should also be checked regularly and properly replaced if they end up getting damaged.

Kitty Litter Can Clean Up Leaks

Photo: Bob Villa

True: Kitty litter has amazing absorbent properties and can help you get rid of almost any kind of leak safely. If your car tends to leak fluids or a spill happens, a bag of kitty litter could be of great help.

Rinsing coolant or oils down the drain isn’t great for the environment, plus the oil will soak into the pavement and will be impossible to remove. It is a much simpler solution to put kitty litter on the spill and let it absorb.

Ivory Soap Can Protect Your Car’s Paint

Photo: Youtube

True: Bug marks are a real pain to remove. Luckily, ivory soap can help get rid of those unsightly stains, thanks to its slightly acidic chemical composition. However, it should not be applied directly to the car.

Instead, make a paste by rubbing a soft facecloth on the soap and use it to remove the bug marks. After a minute, thoroughly rinse the paste off. Be careful not to do it in direct sunlight, though!


Razor Blades Won’t Damage Glass

Photo: Youtube

False: You have to be extremely careful when using a razor blade on your car windows. While they can be great for removing stubborn dirt, they can also scratch the glass. It might not be worth getting out that dirt at the cost of your windshield. 

The trick is to angle the blade so that its entire width is in contact with the glass and there is no uneven pressure on the surface. Otherwise, you’ll leave some awful scratches all over.

Holding a Key Fob to Your Head Will Extend Its Range

Photo: Webtekno

True: Of all the hacks out there, you’d think this one is false, but it is surprisingly true. As silly as it may look, if you’re trying to have your key fob go a little further, you’d better try holding it against your head next time.

When the transmitter’s waves go through your head, the signal’s wavelength is changed by the liquid inside your skull, making the fob’s operating range much stronger. Remember this one next time you have trouble finding your car in a massive parking lot. 

Putting Screws in Tires Improves Snow Traction

Photo: Reddit

False: Whoever spread this hack all over the Internet was either pranking someone or just wants to watch the world burn. Hopefully, you’re sensible enough to know that filling your tires with holes would certainly not be helpful!

There are many safe ways to get more traction in the snow rather than this idea, though. For example, tire socks and snow chains work wonders. Better to spend a little extra and not cheap out when it comes to safety, especially in the winter.

Using a Tennis Ball to Park Your Car

Photo: Youtube

True: Hanging a tennis ball from the ceiling of your garage will help you see when it’s time to stop your car. This one may sound silly, but it’s pretty foolproof. As much as you may know your garage’s dimensions, better to be safe than sorry. 

Positioning the ball to come into contact with the windshield before the bumper hits the front wall of the garage will avoid damaging your precious vehicle, and your precious house. 


Peeing in the DEF Tank Will Keep the Car Going

Photo: Transliquid Technologies

False: File this one under “not just false, but dangerous.” Never in a million years should you attempt to pee into the tank. In fact, any hack that involves pee should be avoided at all costs. The “science” behind it does make a little sense, but it’s just not accurate.

The fluid in the DEF tank contains urea, something that is also found in human urine. However, the DEF fluid contains 32% urea, while urine only has about 3%. Just don’t get the wrong idea and skip trying this one. 

Tinted Film On Windshield Will Help Reduce Glare 

Photo: The Washington Note

True: Technically, this hack is true, thought it’s not a great idea. Affixing a sheet of tinted film to your windshield will definitely reduce the glare that you may see on instrument screens.

However, you should never mount anything on your windshield. This can be a distraction that reduces the driver’s reaction time and puts everyone in danger. The best solution for this problem is to just wear a pair of sunglasses.

You Can Use Toothpaste to Clean Headlights

Photo: Pinterest

True: Soap and water can take you a long way, but there are some car parts that need special attention, and that mixture is simply not enough. Better to break open the medicine cabinet for this one. 

The best way to spruce up your headlights is to use a little toothpaste. This nifty little trick sounds pretty bizarre but it will help remove dirt the same way it removes stains from your teeth.

Using Olive Oil to Polish the Dashboard

Photo: Chasing a Better Life

True: This one is pretty effective and affordable. Why spend money on some expensive cleaner when you can use olive oil that you probably have in your kitchen to make your dashboard look brand new?

After removing the dust sitting on the dashboard, use a cloth soaked in olive oil to restore it to its former glory. The oil will also help to keep the dust away for longer than traditional cleaners. 

Sandpaper Under Your Wiper Blade Will Remove Ice

Photo: Cliff Mass Weather Blog

False: Sandpaper can cause a lot of damage if used improperly. In theory, you might think sandpaper would be good at removing ice from your windshield. But it might wind up costing you your windshield.


The sandpaper will in all likelihood scratch the glass and ruin it completely. The best way to get rid of an icy windshield is to start the car, set the heater to defrost, and patiently wait for the ice to melt. If you’re in a hurry, get a scraper designed to do just that. 

Nail Polish Can Remove Paintwork Scratches

Photo: Holt Lloyd

True: It is almost impossible to keep your car scratch-free forever, and most drivers just accept small scratches instead of shelling out a small fortune to get your ride patched up at their local repair shop.

However, you don’t have to put up with small scratches. You can simply patch up a small nick with a nail polish shade that matches your car. Of course, this will not work for big scratches, but for smaller ones, nobody will be the wiser. 

Adding Oil to Wiper Fluid Will Help Remove Ice

Photo: Wikipedia

False: As a general rule, you should never add a foreign liquid to any part of your car. That rule is certainly extra true during the winter months. The wiper fluid system should only contain wiper fluid. Period.

It is a common misconception that adding oil will lubricate the windshield and make ice removal easier. But this will only inevitably destroy the wiper fluid system, leaving you in a much bigger predicament.

Newspaper Can Clean Up Bumper Sticker Residue

Photo: Hot Cars

True: Bumper stickers add some personality to your car, but it is easy to grow out of them. If you are tired of your bumper stickers or are no longer proud of your Honor Roll student, you can use newspaper to clean the mess up.

Once you remove a bumper sticker, wipe off the sticky residue with a sheet of newspaper instead of a cloth. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel dipped in white vinegar to do the trick as well.

Park Facing East In Winter

Photo: Popular Mechanics

True: Living somewhere cold has its advantages especially since it’s probably more affordable than warmer climates. But it also comes at a different kind of cost. Driving in winter can be a pain, especially if you wake up to a frozen car several months of the year. 


While this may sound like a huge myth, believe it or not, if you park your car facing East, the defrosting process will start as early as possible, from when the moment the sun rises. This will definitely save you some time if you’re in a rush to get to work on a January morning. 

Hand Sanitizer Can Defrost Keyholes

Photo: OSTV

True: Let’s say you couldn’t find a parking spot facing East overnight, and now you’re stuck with a car encased in ice. Not to worry! This hack will help you get into the car, at least.

If your car has keyholes, spray them with hand sanitizer. Because it is high in alcohol, it will defrost the keyholes in mere seconds.

Letting Winter Air into Your Tires So They Don’t Freeze

Photo: Tireer

False: The Internet strikes again with its misinformation. Some people online have suggested that letting the “summer air” out of your tires and pumping them with “winter air” will prevent the tires from freezing… which is as ridiculous as it sounds. 

This is one of those false hacks that just serve to humiliate people or to see who is gullible enough to try it. Although it won’t damage your tires, it will definitely hurt your ego if you try it.

Using A Plunger to Fix Dents

Photo: DIY Auto Repair

True: This hack happens to be a real life-saver, and you only need a common household object that you probably already have: a plunger. If your car has a dent, that handy item which has helped you out of many awkward bathroom situations will help you here too. 

What you’ll need to do is to wet the edges of the plunger first so that it seals tight around the spot of the dent, and then you can pull the panel back into shape. Skip the mechanic and try this one yourself for amazing results. 

Replacing Broken Side Mirrors with Regular Mirrors

Photo: Youtube

False: This is one of those hacks that seem like it would be common sense not to do but could end up putting you in real danger. If your side mirror breaks, don’t try to replace it with just any mirror.


Car mirrors are made with a special type of glass to give the driver an accurate picture of what is going on behind them, something that a regular mirror can’t achieve. So don’t risk using just any mirror for the job.

Coca-Cola Gets Rid of Rust

Photo: Hot Cars

True: It is a well-known fact that soda isn’t the healthiest of drinks. In fact, it can stain your teeth pretty badly if you drink enough of it. The good news is that you can use it for a very useful purpose: getting rid of rust.

This will not work for a real serious case of rust, but if your car has some small rusty patches, some Coke can definitely help get rid of them.

Using an Umbrella in a Convertible

Photo: Hot Cars

False: Again, this may seem like a good idea in theory, but it is pretty terrible when executed. Opening an umbrella while in a convertible could be dangerous because if you’re driving and the wind whips the umbrella out of your hand, it might blow into another car.

The best solution for this problem is to just pull over and put the roof back up. Don’t be lazy when it comes to this sort of thing. 

Baking Soda Will Eradicate Bad Smells

Photo: INO Online

True: Many people will choose to clean their car themselves instead of going to a car wash to save money. While this is a great idea, it might not get rid of some of the more foul odors out there. 

The best and cheapest way to have a smell-free car is to sprinkle baking soda over the upholstery and carpet, leave it for a few minutes, and then use a vacuum cleaner to clean it up.

Kitty Litter Will Prevent Windows From Fogging Up

Photo: Little Things

True: As stated before, kitty litter has incredible absorbent properties. If the air is very moist, either in a small room or inside a car, the kitty litter canl absorb the moisture.

To prevent the windshield and windows from fogging up, stuff an old sock with crystalline kitty litter, close it tight and then place it on the dashboard.


Keep That Cell Phone In Place With a Rubber Band

Photo: Hot Cars

False: Having an old car can be frustrating because there are many modern features out there that you cannot enjoy. For example, most old cars are not equipped to fit a cellphone holder.

However, tying up your phone to your car with a rubber band isn’t going to solve your problem. While technically this may work, the rubber band might snap, and you can end up damaging your phone. There are many affordable cellphone holders online you can buy that can be attached to old cars anyway.

Seat Warmers Keep Food Hot

Photo: Today

True: Don’t you hate it when you get some takeout and by the time you get home, your food is cold? Well, if your car comes with a built-in seat warmer, you won’t have this problem anymore.

Turning on the seat warmer and then placing the delicious dinner on the passenger seat will keep it warm throughout the whole car ride home.

Using Soda Cans to Replace Exhaust Pipe

Photo: Youtube

False: Many people swear by this hack because they have only used it for a very short time. You may use a split exhaust pipe in place with a soda can until you can get to a repair shop, but if you wait too long, this might cause problems.

That is because the heat of the exhaust pipe will end up melting the can, and you’ll have more problems than you had to begin with. It is better to get the issue fixed right away instead of trying this potentially-dangerous hack.

Using Dryer Sheets as Air Freshener

Photo: The Krazy Coupon Lady

True: Air fresheners can be an eye sore and even obstruct your view while driving. There is a much easier way to keep your car odor-free with something you probably already have at home.

Place a few dryer sheets in the little nooks and crannies in your car to keep your car fresh. This invisible hack will have people think your car is brand new.

Checking Tire Tread With a Penny

Photo: Bob Villa

True: There is a very easy way to check whether it’s time to change your tires, and that is to use a penny. First, turn the penny so that Lincoln is upside down.


If you can see the entirety of Lincoln’s head, then it’s time to have your tires replaced. If only part of his head is covered, your tread is still above 2/32”, and, therefore, you can still use your tires.