While new cars get more and more convenient and equipped every year, no vehicle is perfect. Whether you want to take more advantage of storage space, organize the things you keep in the car, maintain your vehicle’s cleanliness or anything else, chances are there’s at least one way you could get a little more out of your car. Check out some of our favorite car hacks for some DIY solutions to everyday problems and simple enhancements to get the most out of every drive!
- Shower caddy for fluids: Chances are, you keep some fluids and basic maintenance items in your car. Instead of letting your oil, washer fluid and other supplies roll around in the trunk, organize them in a simple plastic shower caddy!
- Shoe organizer for seatback storage: Hanging an over-the-door shoe organizer (the vinyl or cloth kind with pockets) over the back of your seats is a great way to store and organize smaller items. Put it over the front seat to keep kids toys easily accessible, or over the rear seat to keep small items from rolling around your cargo area.
- Trunk shelf: Take advantage of the vertical space your hatchback provides with a trunk shelf. These are easy to DIY with cheap plastic shelving usually used in basements and garages, but you can dress it up with some foam and fabric for a nicer-looking shelf and a softer place to put things like produce, bread and eggs.
- Document organizer: Organize important documents like registration, insurance cards, roadside assistance information, your vehicle manual and maintenance records in an expanding file folder in your glove box. Not only will this keep your documents in better shape, but it will take the stress out of finding them in the event of an accident or being pulled over.
- Cupcake liners in cupholders: Putting a silicone cupcake liner in each cupholder is a great way to protect these hard-to-clean spaces from sticky spills and falling crumbs. Instead of having to struggle to get these small areas clean, you can just take out the liners and pop them in the dishwasher!
- Kid’s lunch tray: Another perfect use for plastic shower caddies is a lunch tray for children. Juggling the many parts of a take-out meal can be tough, and things like french fries and ketchup drips have a way of getting away from kids when they’re trying to eat out of a paper bag. With a plastic shower caddy, you can organize fries, chicken nuggets, a burger, a drink, and much more, and hold it all in place in your child’s lap, for easier access and less chance for mess.
- In-car trashcan: If you don’t want wrappers, cups and other garbage littering your vehicle, opt for an in-car trash can. Many kinds of these can be found online or in auto parts stores, but they’re just as easy to DIY. Our favorite DIY car trash can hack? Use a tall plastic Tupperware container (like you might put cereal in) lined with a shopping bag.
- Seat cover for pets: If you drive with your dog in the car, you may want to consider covering your seats. Removable covers are easier to clean than upholstery, and can protect your seats from dirt, fur, and other messes. This will make your vehicle more pleasant to ride in, not to mention professionals with Starr Motors tell us that keeping your upholstery clean and protected helps your vehicle hold its value for resale or trade-in. Like trash cans, you can find special seat covers for pets in stores and online, but you can also find instructions to make one yourself here.
- Seat-gap protector: Nothing is worse than dropping your phone, keys, change, or another small item into that space between your seat and the console. A product that fills this gap was a hit on the television show Shark Tank, but you can also DIY one with some scissors and a foam pipe for as little as two dollars.
- DIY entertainment system: Just because your car didn’t come with a cool rear entertainment system, it doesn’t mean that your passengers can’t sit back and watch a movie in comfort. If you have an iPad or another tablet, you can DIY a headrest holder for it and make your own seatback entertainment system. With carboard, fabric, and some elastic, you can secure your tablet to a headrest. Check out instructions here.
- Heated seat hack: If you don’t have heated seats, winter drives can be chilly! You can find seat covers and pads with heating functions, but another solution is to find a heated blanket with a 12-volt charger. You can plug the blanket in to your car, and unlike a sad or even a regular heated seat, you can wrap the excess blanket around your legs and torso for even more warmth, and you’ll be grateful for it if you ever get stuck in a snow storm and have to spend some time waiting it out in your car.