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Hometooling: TikTok’s top 5 easy car hacks

While lockdowns and restrictions have kept us at home, many determined drivers have been turning online for their motoring fix, according to Zuto research.

Our analysis suggests give-it-a-go car owners are using tutorial videos to maintain their vehicles. Between January and February 2021, searches for car hacks revved up by a huge 473% across major social channels and search engines.

We reviewed social media search data using Brandwatch to map out this rise. The results showed searches rose from almost zero mentions in November 2020 to a staggering 150 each day in February 2021.

This 1,000% increase was likely sparked by a windscreen hack that went viral in January. Locked-down motorists are now hungry for hacks. The result is a flood of engagement on the video-filled networking app TikTok. We’ve outlined some of the most popular beginner-friendly tutorials below.

1. Use a bath towel to stop your windscreen icing over

Defrosting your windscreen can be an unwelcome addition to motorists’ winter routines.

It’s a challenge TikTok user Kirsten Louise Parry overcame with a simple trick that attracted some 250,000 engagements, including views, comments likes and shares.

“When you put a towel on your windscreen to stop it from freezing and it’s frozen itself,” Kirsten observes. When she lifts the towel, her windscreen is perfectly clear.

How to do it

1) Get yourself a towel large enough to cover your windscreen – the popular video stars a watermelon bath towel, but any absorbent fabric of the right size will do.

2) Stop your window wipers while they’re up, then use these and your car doors to fix the towel in place.

3) Leave overnight in cold weather.

How it works

Absorbent fabric soaks up moisture that would normally settle on a car windscreen, so the towel ices up instead of the glass.

It’s worth double checking there’s no snow or ice on your other windows or mirrors before you pull away to stay on the right side of Highway Code 229.

Watch the hack now in Kirsten Louise Parry’s TikTok video.

2. Use hot water to pop out car dents

Restoring dented bodywork can be frustrating and costly for motorists, but TikTok user Nikhita Nair showed the world a simple way to do this at home. This 2019 car hack video has taken off with the 2021 trend, gaining more than 150,000 views, likes, shares and comments.

The video shows boiling water applied to a rear bumper dent. A little elbow grease pops the dent out – and the car looks good as new.

How to do it

  1. Use a jug to pour boiling water on to your car’s dent.

  2. Repeat for several minutes – the more splashes, the better.

  3. Place your hand behind the dent and carefully push outwards.

We do have a caveat, though: if your car’s damaged, we’d recommend taking it to your local garage to be repaired by a professional.

How it works

Car bodies are often made from materials that become softer with heat, such as plastic or aluminium. This softening effect makes it easier to manipulate the surface.

Watch Nikhita Nair’s TikTok video here.

3. Use toothpaste to remove paint scuffs

Knocking your car door on a painted surface can lead to unsightly marks. Fortunately, Ohheykellay’s video suggests a simple solution – toothpaste. The video has been viewed, shared, liked and commented upon almost 120,000 times.

How to do it

  1. Wet a cloth suited to your vehicle – a microfiber cloth is ideal.

  2. Apply a small amount of toothpaste.

  3. Rub gently in circular motions and repeat until the paint has been removed.

How it works

Toothpaste is slightly abrasive – rough enough to remove pesky stains, but gentle enough for gums. It turns out this combination of properties is ideal for buffing away paint marks.

It’s worth taking care to select a gentle toothpaste to avoid damaging the paintwork.

See the hack in Ohheykellay’s TikTok demonstration.

4. Use carpet stain remover to clear upholstery marks

Ever wondered how to remove stains from your car seats? Fabric interiors can attract stains and odours – and professional dry-cleaning services may be harder to come by in a national lockdown.

Leah Jones has a simple solution: carpet solution, which she dubs the ‘holy grail’ of car seat cleaners. Her TikTok video has received more than 79,000 engagements.

How to do it

  1. Spray standard carpet cleaner liquid evenly across the stain (follow the product’s guidelines, though, such as trying it in a hidden area first).

  2. Use a brush to lightly scrub your car’s upholstery.

  3. Leave to dry, then vacuum – just as you would with carpet.

How it works

Carpet cleaner has deep-cleaning properties designed to travel deep into upholstery and trap dirt, making it easier to vacuum up. Watch the hack in Leah Jones’ TikTok video.

5. Help children to open doors with rubber stickers

Studio4car’s TikTok shows a trick to make car doors anti-static, which could help prevent shocks. Users have been flocking to the video in search of simple tricks to make cars child-friendly – our analysis shows almost 15,000 have engaged with it.

How to do it

  1. Choose two stickers made from a non-conductive material, such as rubber.

  2. Stick the larger of the two inside the car door handle, then pair with a long strip to run along the outside.

  3. Press firmly to secure.

How it works

Many metals conduct electricity, as do our bodies, which is why touching metallic surfaces sometimes brings a shock. It’s caused by a mismatch between the charges, leading electrons to zap hands. Rubber doesn’t conduct electricity, so the shock can’t get through.

Watch Studio4car’s TikTok demonstration to see this in action.

Other popular videos include a trick to refresh car interiors by turning the air control up to maximum before opening a can of air freshener and using hair gel to secure wayward ceiling fabric.

It’s always a good idea to exercise caution before trying out car hacks – and for more serious fixes, it’s worth getting the help of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. So don’t be afraid to contact your vehicle manufacturer for tailored guidance.

Read further tips about looking after your car at home or explore our guide to winter essentials.

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