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5 Car Care and Maintenance Hacks to Save Your Money

Filipinos love cars.
They even give names to their rides and treat it as their babies. This is why it is disheartening to see their cars scratched, dented, or stained.
Other reasons to feel bad are the time, effort, and costs it will take to have it fixed. So here are five DIY car care and maintenance to try.

Fix minor scratches with a nail polish

Keeping a nail polish which matches your car paint is handy. If you usually drive around Metro Manila, you will witness the daily bumper to bumper traffic. While we hope for the best, your car is likely to get scratched one way or another.
The nail polish can work as a charm instead of getting an expensive car paint job. This will also protect the scratched area from rusting or peeling.
You can also use this trick on window and windshield cracks if you have no time to drop by the glass shop yet.

Remove a sticker off the windshield

Here in the Philippines, we have various stickers to put up on windshields. Some stickers are mandated by law, others are village stickers to be changed annually, and most of them are decorations chosen out of whims.
To remove an old sticker, spray a generous amount of WD-40—a water-displacing spray. Let it soak for five minutes before rubbing it with a towel. If the adhesive is stubborn, spray a bit more and let it soak for another five minutes. Rub it again till it’s squeaky clean.

Remove stains from the car seat

Mix baking soda and water. Apply it on the stain with a soft bristled brush (a toothbrush works just fine). Wait for 30 minutes. Clean with a dry microfiber towel to absorb the liquid.
Get an old bottle spray. Mix warm water, ¼ cup of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and calamansi /lemon juice. Shake the solution well and then spray on the stain holding the bottle 6-8 inches away. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then gently brush with a stiff bristled brush. Finish off with dry towels to absorb as much moisture as you can.
This hack works perfectly with coffee and ketchup stains.

Get rid of bad car odor

There are days that you will notice a bad odor wafting from your car once you open it.
Do not fret. The very first thing you should do is find the source of the nasty smell. Does it smell like gas, rotten egg, or something else? If you think you are smelling something from the engine, you need to fix it as soon as possible to prevent accidents.
On the other hand, if the smell comes from the interior, there are several ways to get rid of the unwanted odor:

  1. Vacuum your interior upholstery. Some odors are trapped in the fabric and vacuuming is enough to eliminate it. Take note of the little corners as smell sticks particularly in these spots.
  2. If you think the smell comes from something you spilled on the carpet, you can sprinkle baking soda on it. Rub the baking soda and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming.
  3. Charcoal absorbs smell really well that it is used in various filters. Use regular charcoal (the ones you use when grilling) and leave it in the car. A few days is enough for the charcoal to absorb the unwanted smell.
  4. You can simply use your favorite aroma. If you like vanilla, drop a few on cotton balls and leave them in the car. If you love the coffee aroma, keep a can of ground coffee beans. You can also use essential aromatic oils. Put a few drops on a wooden clothespin and clip it in the aircon’s blades.

Restore your headlights

Restoring your scratched or oxidized headlights do not have to cost thousands. You just need:

  • tapes
  • old newspapers
  • paper towels
  • three types of sandpaper: 400, 600, and 2000 grit (you can see the grit marks at the back of the sandpaper)
  • water in a spray bottle
  • regular rubbing alcohol
  • clear coat spray

Over time, the clear coat on your headlights gets chipped off due to tearing. This causes the headlights to get yellowish, hazy or discolored.
If your headlights are removable, it is best to remove it first. If it requires too much effort, then you just have to use the newspapers to cover the edge of the headlights. This way you won’t scratch the surface of your car.
Spray the headlight with water and then use the sandpaper with 400 grit. The water acts as a lubricant so the sandpaper won’t scratch deeply. Press in gentle circular motions as the 400 grit is rough. Your purpose is just to clean up the old peeling coat.
Keep the surface constantly wet. Repeat the step with 600 grit. Press a bit harder in horizontal motions. Dry with a paper towel.
Then use the 2000 grit. It’s fine if the surface is a bit rough because the coating spray can easily stick with the headlight.
Clean the lens with alcohol and paper towels. Wipe till dry.  Spray the clear coat with horizontal motion. Let it sit for five minutes before making a second coat. You can also do a third coat after another five minutes.
Let it dry for 24 hours and you will see that your headlights will look like new. The coating is guaranteed to stay for a few years if done properly.


It is a given that having a car is expensive. You have to pay for the down payment, the legal paperwork, and insurance.
Fuel cost increases every week and traffic jams just get worst. Car maintenance and repairs also do not come in cheap. Good thing there are do-it-yourself hacks which can help you save your money.
The next time your car get light scratches, bad odor, and coffee stains, you should try these simple car care tips.
Save thousands of pesos and your time from taking your car to the experts.