About the author
Craig Stewart has worked on car enthusiast magazines including Classic Ford and Fast Ford, and has also written for tech magazines and websites including T3. He has authored articles on hacking and car design for the Haynes website's Tips & Tutorials section, and his current project is a 1991 VW Passat estate, which has not remained unhacked.
Driving, owning, repairing and maintaining a car can be expensive, frustrating and time-consuming. Our new Car Hacks book is here to explain how to use the things you have around your home to improve your car life, and balance your wellbeing in the process. From ensuring you never lose a screw when repairing your car, to spending less on fuel, and using cereal boxes to keep you car tidy, this book will open your eyes to the joys of car hacking.
The simple tool hacks below are an example of what you'll find in our new book and go to show that you don't need a specialist tool for every job you carry out in your garage – the contents of your toolkit can be used for many surprisingly handy things...
01 Use a screwdriver as a funnel
Insert the end of a long-ish screwdriver into the top of your oil filler, hold it near-vertically then simply pour your oil down the shaft of the tool and you won't spill a drop.
02 Use a pencil as lubrication
The graphite in pencils is great at providing a slippery surface if you need one quickly, as you always keep a pencil handy. Just rub it on bolts, pins or other parts to help lubricate them.
03 Use two wrenches together for extra leverage
When trying to get a stuck bolt to budge, get some extra leverage by looping another wrench's ring or box end onto the spanner end of your first wrench. Bingo: instant extra torque.
04 Make a breaker bar with a length of pipe
Known as a 'cheater bar' by some, a wrench with a length of pipe over the handle acts as a perfect breaker bar for those tough nuts to crack.
05 Use an adjustable spanner as a screwdriver
When screws are tucked into hard-to-reach parts of your car, grip a screwdriver bit at right-angles in an adjustable spanner to help get access. Or, even better, use a bit with a ratchet wrench – the hex shaft of most screwdriver bits fits directly into a 1/4-inch socket.
06 Use a rubber band to grip a stripped screw
This doesn't always work, but a strong rubber band can help to get those pesky stripped screws out. If that has no effect, weld another screw to the stripped head and get it out that way.
07 Use a magnet to stop losing screws
For small jobs where you don't need to label up hundreds of screws, ensure you don't lose them by popping a magnet in your shirt pocket and attaching the screws to the outside of your shirt!
08 Use WD40 to clean oil from your garage floor
We all know WD40 has hundreds of uses but did you know that it can clean up any oil stains on your garage or driveway? That's on top of removing rust, loosening bolts, removing stickers, lubricating, cleaning bugs off your lights and windows, and much much more…
09 Use a pipe wrench to remove rounded bolts
Old, frequently used bolts can end up with rounded heads through wear-and-tear, which makes them a nightmare to remove. However you can loosen them using a pipe wrench – its jaws dig in and grab the head so you can remove the bolt.
10 Extend a cordless driver with a four-way screwdriver
To get into the darkest recesses for screwing and unscrewing, you can extend the reach of your electric screwdriver by pulling the shaft out of a four-way screwdriver and clamping it into the chuck.