Calgary Herald

Do these automotive secrets actually work?

We debunk or confirm some popular myths


Life hacks, auto hacks, relationsh­ip hacks, computer hacks: the world seems full of hacks. But how many really pan out? Here are some from the car world. Most actually work, but others should be avoided. Prevent door dings by installing foam pool-noodles on the walls

beside your vehicle.

True. An inexpensiv­e idea that works if executed correctly. Most web images show the noodle nailed or screwed into the wall; but if your car door comes into contact with these fasteners, you’ll still end up with scratches and dents. Consider using twosided tape instead.

Pantyhose or nylons can replace an engine drive belt.

False. This one won’t pan out with most vehicles. Almost everything on the road today uses a serpentine belt to run a number of pulleys at the same time. Most of these setups will have different pulleys spinning in different directions. A pair of the best pantyhose won’t help much in these circumstan­ces. After two years of age, drive belts should be checked at every oil change for signs of wear and dry cracking. Use inexpensiv­e Kitty Litter to clean up fluid leaks and spills.

True. If you’ve got an older vehicle that tends to leak a few vital fluids, or if you’re still developing your skills as a driveway oilchanger, you need to have a bag of bargain-priced Kitty Litter in your garage. Simply rinsing oils or coolant down the driveway into storm drains is a major environmen­tal risk. Baby your car’s paint with a little Ivory soap.

True. Ivory bar soap is a great way to remove bug marks from a vehicle’s painted surfaces, thanks to its slightly caustic chemical makeup. Simply make a paste by rubbing a clean wet face cloth on the soap and applying it to the bug marks on your vehicle. Do not do this in direct sunlight. Wipe and thoroughly rinse the paste after a minute or so. If you’re extra cautious, test the paste on a painted under-panel or less visible area first.

Holding a remote key fob against your head can extend

its range.

True. This one works and has some solid science behind it. When the transmitte­r’s waves pass through your head, the liquid inside your skull will change the signal’s wavelength and can noticeably extend the operating range.

Know when to stop in your garage by suspending a tennis

ball from the ceiling.

True. This one is pretty much foolproof. By positionin­g the ball so that it comes into contact with your vehicle’s windshield before your bumper hits the front wall of the garage, you can avoid some expensive paint and body damage. Remember to tie the ball as high as possible to avoid it getting in the way.

Peeing in your vehicle’s DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) tank can

keep you going.

False. If you’re driving a latemodel diesel-powered truck, you’re probably familiar with the need to keep the DEF tank filled. These cleaner-burning engines have an emission control system that will prevent the engine from starting if this tank is empty. The active ingredient in DEF is urea and this is injected into the exhaust stream to aid in reducing emissions. Most DEF fluid contains around 32 per cent urea, whereas human urine has only two to three per cent.

 ?? Fotolia ?? Yes, it’s true. Holding a remote key fob against your head can indeed extend its range.
Fotolia Yes, it’s true. Holding a remote key fob against your head can indeed extend its range.

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