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Top 12 Car Hacks and DIYs

Add some personal touches to your ride with these 12 car DIYs. For the most part, these are simple car decoration ideas that anyone can do. Make your own car accessories that are sure to impress, find genius car hacks to declutter your floorboards, keep your car smelling nice, or clear that yellow oxidation from your headlights. These DIYs are easy and cost-effective.

All you need is a little creativity and maybe a couple of items you can find at the dollar store or around the house.

1. Car DIY Air Freshener

With just an old glass jar and a couple of drops of essential oils your car will smell fresh drive after drive.

Things you'll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 individual packets of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • Essential Oils
  • Mason Jar or old glass container with lid
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Flowers (optional)

Steps to Create DIY Air Freshener:

  1. Heat the water with one tablespoon of salt and mix in the packets of gelatin until fully dissolved
  2. Remove from the heat and add to the container of your choice. Add in drops of essential oils, about 20, until aromatic
  3. For added flair, add a couple of drops of food coloring and/or flowers or glitter. Once you're happy with your mixture, let it sit at room temperature
  4. Poke some holes in the lid to let the fresh scent fill up your car. Not only will your car smell great it adds a creative touch to your interior decor

2. Cleaning Your Headlights

You can buy headlight cleaning kits for $20-$30 dollars, or you can use things you already have around the house for free. Car cleaning hacks don't always require expensive products with harsh chemicals.

Toothpaste is an effective cleaning agent for your headlights. Overtime, plastic headlights tend to get dirty, they oxidize, and eventually they start to look cloudy and yellow.

Steps to Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste:

  1. With a rag or hard bristle plastic brush and some toothpaste, you can restore its shine.
  2. Scrub the cloudiest parts of your headlight lens in a circular motion and buff shine the spot with a cotton rag.
  3. Keep reapplying toothpaste and repeating the scrubbing and buffing process until you’re happy with the look of the lens.
  4. Rinse with water and you're done!

3. Snack Holder

Keep your passengers happy and road trip snacks organized with a hanging shoe rack. Drape one over the back of the front seat and stuff it with your favorite chips, drink, and candies. No more fights over sharing, let the kids be in control of their own personal snack station.

4. Car Hacks for Organizing Your Car

Got lots of junk in your trunk? Make more room by containing the mess. You can simply use an old laundry basket or buy plastic bins. Add lids to the bins for an easy shelf for the groceries to rest on.Glove compartment a mess? Use pencil holders or baggies to prevent items from shifting around. Make it even easier on yourself by getting clear plastic so you know exactly what's inside.

5. DIY Cup Holder Tissue Box

When you want tissues at the ready but don't have enough room for a clunky box, try this unique car DIY. Clean out an old disposable coffee cup and cut a rectangular hole in the lid. Cut a stack of tissues in half. You'll need to open the halved tissues and overlap with the next. This allows for the next tissue to be pulled through. Place the tissues inside the cup and place the lid back on. Then, thread the first tissue through the hole and conveniently store in a cup holder.

6. Get Dead Bugs Off Your Bumper

After a long road trip, you may have some pesky hitch-hikers still sticking around. You can wash away bugs on your front bumper, grill, and windshield with a surprising tool that you'll find in your laundry room. Just take an unused dryer sheet and scrub away. For extra stuck on bugs you can also add some WD-40 to loosen it up. This also works well for dried on bird droppings or sap.

7. Remove Crumbs With Putty

Continuing with the theme of car cleaning hacks, this one is a little more pleasant. Not only is putty fun to play with, it's also the perfect tool to get into hard-to-reach crevices of your car. Cupholders, vents, and gear shifters collect crumbs and dust but are almost impossible to clean. Luckily, putty can fit into awkward spaces and is sticky enough to cling to unwanted dirt.

8. DIY Car Trash Can

Contain the empty water bottles, fast food bags, and other trash in a spill proof container. Reuse a plastic grocery bag to line a cereal container for easy removal. A plastic cereal container works best because you can just pop open the lid and seal it up when you're done. When the trash can is full just dump the contents at home or at a gas station. Keep your floors clean and your car smelling fresh.

9. Lose Your Keys No More

Tired of having to try to squeeze your arm in between the seat and center console?

This simple idea can save you from getting stuck. Feeling around for your fallen item is an unnecessary hassle. Half the time you come up with random coins instead of what you're really looking for. By putting a piece of foam pipe insulation in the crack, you'll no longer lose your keys or a stray fry.

10. Car Seat Cover

For a more advanced project, give this car seat cover a try. You'll keep your pup comfortable while protecting your car seats from hair.

Here are the supplies you'll need:

  • 4 yards of duck fabric {it’s nice and heavy duty} 2 yards for the top & 2 yards duck fabric for the bottom. Make sure each of them is 54 inches in width.
  • Cotton Batting – I bought enough to fold it in half so there was double the padding
  • 4 one inch plastic buckles
  • 4 yards of one inch cotton strapping
  • thread
  • pins
  • sewing machine

You can find the full instructions here.

11. DIY Car Detailing

After a couple coffee spills, or two, your car seat fabric or carpet may be in need of some attention. With the help of some household cleaning tools you can detail your car like the pros. All you need is a scrub brush, a spray bottle, and a little dish soap to lift those unsightly stains. Start by putting warm water and a few drops of dish soap in the spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the stained seats and use the scrub brush for extra tough spots. Suck up the extra moisture with a shop vac. Repeat as necessary.

Here is a helpful video showing the process from start to finish.

While you're at it, you can also wipe down the surfaces of your car to ensure they're clean and germ-free.

12. Black Out Your Vehicle Badging With Plasti Dip

Is the chrome lettering on your ride just not mysterious enough? Want to trade shine for a sleek, blacked-out look? This is probably the most expensive DIY in this list, but it’s still not much. First thing you’ll need is a can of black (or whichever color) Plasti Dip which is available for $6 at Wal Mart and many other places. Second, you’ll need some masking tape and your normal car cleaning supplies. Then, watch this tutorial video to see how it’s done.