Secrets Only Car Mechanics Know That Will Save You $$—And Keep Your Car Looking and Driving Like New

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Playing Car Maintenance: Tips + Tricks To Prevent Costly Repairs That Every Car Owner Should Know

Master mechanic Ant Anstead makes car dreams come true on his shows "Celebrity IOU: Joyride" and "Drew's Dream Car". And Ant reveals his simple tips and tricks that you can do at home to keep your car driving and looking like new.    

1. Use baby wipes to clean leather interiors. 

It's inevitable that the seats in your car will get dirty—especially if they're light in color, they tend to get dirty quickly. "Baby wipes contain PH neutral cleansers and also lotions for babies' bums that help keep car leather soft and supple" says Ant. "Just softly work around the leather and let the baby wipe do the work for you."  

Ant suggests spot testing in an inconspicuous spot first just to be safe—and then go to town.  

2. Help pop out dents in your car with a hairdryer. 

If you've gotten into a fender bender and want to avoid bringing the car into the shop to fix the dents, whip out your hairdryer.  

"Use the hairdryer to heat the plastic up and...what the hairdryer is doing is it's making the plastic trim a bit more malleable and once you get it so it's just hot enough (after a few seconds), spray some air duster [the kind used for] cleaning out your keyboard...and it changes the shape of the plastic and goes back to normal—and the dent disappears," explains Ant. Easy as that! 

3. Get rid of dog hair with rubber gloves.  

"Dog hair in cars is always a problem," says Ant. "My little tip to get around it: rubber kitchen gloves." All you need to do is wipe the upholstery in the same direction, and in seconds you'll have lifted that pet hair up off your seats.  

"Just like the static on a balloon, by rubbing the seat, the static electricity created within the glove draws the hair away from the seats," he explains.  

4. Brush away headlight buildup with toothpaste. 

Over time, significant buildup can accumulate on your headlights. Instead of bringing the car into the shop to be cleaned, do it yourself with toothpaste.  

"Toothpaste is actually not smooth, it's full of tiny little particles. The great thing about having tiny particles in the paste is when you put it on the lens of your light and rub it in, it acts as a polishing compound. Put in a little elbow grease, and you'll have your lens covers looking like new," says Ant.  

5. Wedge pieces of foam pipe insulation in the gaps where you drop things.  

Have you ever dropped your keys or cell phone in between the seats or the console in your car? Ant has a solution for you: foam pipe insulation. And you can pick it up right at your local hardware store. "The great thing about pipe insulation is it's foldable, pliable and soft, so if you shove it down the side of your car seat, it fills that annoying little gap where you tend to lose things," explains Ant.  

6. Don't buy expensive car mats—make them yourself.  

Just because you don't want to pay a lot of money for car mats doesn't mean you shouldn't have them. Ant suggests picking up inexpensive carpet squares at your local home improvement store and using them as car mats in your back seats. That way, you can protect your car floors, but don't have to pay those expensive prices. 

7. Brush out your air vents with an artist's paint brush. 

Another thing you can pick up at your local home improvement store is an artist's paintbrush. Ant says this is the key to keeping your car's air vents clear. "Give an inexpensive artist's paintbrush a light spray of furniture polish, and work the brush into the air vents and crevices to collect dust. Then wipe the brush with a rag and keep cleaning," he explains. In no time, your air vents will be dust-free! 

8. Check your tire treads with spare change. 

"Place a good old-fashioned penny inside the tread, and it uses the penny as a measuring device. You want the rubber to go up to the peak of Abraham's head, so it looks like he's wearing a hat. Make sure you check all over every surface of the tire making sure that you have enough rubber touching the ground," explains Ant. (You shouldn't be able to see Abe’s entire head!) Watch him demonstrate in the video above.

penny tip
Rachael Ray Show

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