6 car hacks to make life a little easier

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Make your motor even more user-friendly with these little tricks

Everyone loves a life hack. From hanging creased clothes in the shower to get them straightened up, to using an old sweet tin to store change, there's a hack for pretty much anything. That includes your car, too. While it's never wise to 'cut corners' too much when it comes to driving, there are a few little tricks you can do with your motor to make life that little bit easier. Here are our tips...

1. Lowering kerb-side mirror when parallel parking

No matter how hard you try, if you parallel park on the regular you're almost certainly going to kerb a wheel one day - or if you're not that good at it, every day. Well, fear not, as you can avoid doing this with a simple drop of the mirror. Once stopped safely before the manoeuvre, lower the kerb-side door mirror until you get a view of the rear wheels. Now you'll be able to place the back of the car close to the kerb without having to risk whacking it accidentally. Just remember to be careful at the front.

2. Hold the key fob lock button to raise all the windows

We've all done it on a hot summer's day. You've had your window down to catch some fresh air, parked up and then walked away before realising you've forgotten to wind it back up again. Now you're going to have to head back to the car, turn the ignition back on and put it up again, right? Not if you drive a recent VW Group car, (Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Audi, to name a few), or a Honda NSX for that matter. Take the key fob and just hold down the lock button for a few seconds, and watch as the glass comes back up.

3. Place the parcel shelf between seats when folded flat

Having the ability to fold rear seats down in a car is great, but it does leave a problem of knowing what to do with a parcel shelf. Say you've bought an Ekedalen too many on a recent visit to Ikea, and you need to take advantage of the extra boot space - but there's the pesky parcel shelf. Do you shove it in with the rest of your cargo, strap it in the front passenger's seat or even just leave it? Actually, there's the fourth option - sliding it behind the front seats. It's a simple little trick that's easy to forget about, but having seats folded flat does tend to leave a gap just behind the occupants furthest forward, perfect for sliding the parcel shelf in.

4. Keep food warm with heated seats

Nobody likes cold fast food. You've done the drive through, arrived home, and then opened up your brown bag of delight to find frosty nuggets and cold chips - it's grim, really. Well, you can at least try to counter that if your car is blessed with heated seats. Stick your food on the passenger seat (in the container, of course) and stick the heating element on full blast. Of course, this is only effective to a point and results will vary depending on the seat itself and how hot your food was when you got it - but it's worth a crack.

5. Check your tyres with a 20p coin

 For tyres to be legal for use in the UK, they must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm - and ideally, you'd want a fair bit more than that. Checking this could be an issue for most though, as you'd need a dedicated tool to know how much tread is left. Step in the humble 20p coin. See that little outer rim? That's 2.7mm in depth - perfect for ensuring your tyres are in good nick. If the tread stops below it, it's probably a good time to start looking for replacement rubber.

6. Boost your locking range with a key fob to the head

This one may seem like a myth, but really, it works! Okay, so science suggests it could just be the act of raising the key fob higher, therefore allowing a better range of signal, but there's also some research claiming that your head could effectively be working as a giant infrared signal booster. Next time you're in the supermarket car park, give this one a go - even if passersby might offer an odd look or two in the process.

Michelle Newman