Tip of the Week

Remember that ďSeinfeldĒ episode where Jerry and the gang canít find their car in a mall parking lot? Funny stuff ó as long as it happens to someone else. Make sure that and these other frustrating experiences never happen to you by following these top 10 car hacks.

1. You can clean foggy headlights using toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste evidently works the best, but regular toothpaste does the trick, too. Smear some on the headlight, buff it, rinse it and wipe it, and your headlight will look showroom clean.

2. Thereís one simple trick to remembering where you parked: Use your smartphone to take a picture of the area. Make sure to get some stationary scenery in the photo and not just take a photo of your car parked next to the ĎVette. If you forgot to take a picture but know the general area of where you parked, hold your key fob to your head to increase the deviceís range.

3. If you have a staple remover, you can use that to pry open your key ring for easy removal/addition of keys. As long as you donít stab yourself with the staple remover, itís a much less painful method of switching out keys.

4. If youíre driving a new car or renting one and you forgot to check which side the gas tank is on, just check the dashboard. On most vehicles, thereís an arrow by the gas icon near your fuel gauge. It points to the side the tank is on.

5. The Farmerís Almanac is predicting another horrible winter, and if that comes to pass and your door lock freezes up, you can use hand sanitizer to melt the ice. WD-40 works even better, according to people who have tried it.

6. If you need a cup holder in a pinch, take off your shoe and stick the cup in that. (Donít put the shoe cup holder on the driverís side floor though, for obvious safety reasons.) Itís much better than balancing the cup between your legs. Speaking of shoes, one tip that made the rounds this summer because of tragic stories about children left in hot cars is to put a shoe in the back seat so you have to look back there when you get out.

7. Hereís an oldie but goodie: If you or someone in your family needs assistance parking in your garage without hitting the wall, hang a tennis ball from the ceiling, and once your windshield hits the ball in the same spot, youíre parked exactly where you should be.

8. Need a small, efficient trash can for your car? Buy a cheap plastic cereal container, stick a plastic grocery bag or small garbage can bag in there and voila! Itís not too big, and it doesnít look bad.

9. After the news this year of GMís ignition problems, which often was triggered by heavy keys, itís a good reminder to keep your keychain as light as possible. Keychains that are too heavy can put pressure on the delicate parts inside the ignition, which could cause problems down the road.

10. If youíve got dead bugs or other sticky stuff on your windshield, and the gas station squeegee couldnít get it off, use a razor blade to scrape it clean.

Did You Know

Allstate recently released its Best Drivers Report, and of the 200 cities analyzed, the best drivers are in Fort Collins, Colorado, which also was ranked No. 1 in 2013. Also in the top five were Brownsville, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Kansas City, Kansas; and Huntsville, Alabama. The worst drivers are in Massachusetts, with Boston and a suburb taking No. 199 and No. 200 on the list.

The List

According to Edmunds.com, the most-researched new vehicles on its site in July were:
1. Honda Accord
2. Honda CR-V
3. Subaru Outback
4. Nissan Altima
5. Subaru Forester
6. Mazda CX-5
7. Nissan Pathfinder
8. Toyota Camry
9. Ford F-150
10. Jeep Grand Cherokee

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