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Free car Hacks?

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Who doesn’t like Free, or almost free, easy car hacks for safety and comfort?

Inflation and gas prices are taking the enjoyment out of hitting the road just for fun, so here are a few ideas that will make it safer and more enjoyable with just a quarter, a rubber band and a dryer sheet.

The Tire Tread test

The old trick was to use a penny to gauge your tread depth. But here is why a quarter is better than a penny. Who knew?

The penny test will tell you when your tires are smooth. But you can also try the alternative quarter tire test to check the tire depth before your tire reaches its breaking point.

The penny tread test is straightforward and is based on a regularly used tire tread measurement to diagnose worn tires. Tire treads should be at least 2/32nds of an inch deep in excellent driving conditions, according to conventional belief. 2/32nds is also the distance between the top of President Lincoln’s head and the edge of a US cent.

Breaking News

Big News! The Best of Jeff and Stuff is now international, and this is the first post for our overseas readers. And as always: Thank you for your support.

So, before you hop on the Autobahn be sure you try this easy tire tread safety tip. Let's take a quick side trip. Here is the same info for our European Union friends.

The legal minimum tread depth in Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.

If your car has worn tyres and you are stopped by a Garda, you can get a fixed charge notice of €80 and up to four penalty points if the matter goes to court. Not to mention the serious implications for your (and others’) safety.

So, to stay safe and on the right side of the law, here’s how to check the tread depth on your car’s tyres.


Try this quick and easy hack: you simply use a €1 (One Euro) coin to measure tread depth. Simply place the coin into the tyre grooves. If you can see the gold rim it means your tread depth is less than 3mm and you should consider replacing your tyres.

After returning home:

We can now try using the Quarter Tire Test

To start, park your car on a flat even surface in a secure spot, turn off the ignition and engage the handbrake.

The penny tread test has long been used to easily measure tire tread and assess the condition of your tires, but here is why the quarter test has emerged as a more accurate alternative.

This test is carried out in the same manner as a penny. The difference in this test is that the top of President Washington’s head on the quarter coin is roughly 4/32nds of an inch from the coin’s edge—double the distance of a penny.



To compare the height of the treads to the head of President Washington on the US quarter, push the edge of a quarter into the tire tread.

Drivers may inspect their tread and find depths that are less than 4/32nds of an inch, indicating that a tire replacement is needed soon.

Even if the tread depth goes below 4/32nds of an inch, tires still provide a reasonable amount of safety and reliability, which means you aren’t in urgent danger of damaging your car on worn tires.


Here is the Public Safety Announcement

If you’re driving in the winter or during a wet season, a tread depth gauge is the most reliable way to test. You can even ask an expert for help if you are struggling with it. Remember the tire tread has a lot to do with the safety of your vehicle. Thus, it is very essential that you check it yourself or get it evaluated by a specialist.


And now here are two more cheap, easy, car hacks

Rubber band phone holder


The new laws allow drivers to use their cell phones to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions but only by voice commands or single touch activation without holding the phone. Remember, hands free is not necessarily distraction free.

When using this quick fix just make sure to have your GPS app set to give you voice directions so you can keep your eyes on the road.


Now see how simple this is to keep your hands free, for free! The toughest part is finding a good rubber band; not too thick because it will be harder to stretch, and not too long or the phone will be able to keep shifting.


Thread the rubber band through the top of the vent and pull it out through the bottom. Snap both ends around your phone, so that it’s held from the top and bottom. It won’t conceal your screen and still hold the phone in place, ready to use.

Thread the rubber band through the top of the vent and pull it out through the bottom. Snap both ends around your phone, so that it’s held from the top and bottom. It won’t conceal your screen and still hold the phone in place, ready to use.

You can save even more money if you’re driving a rental, by opting out of their costly navigation add on fees and simply use the GPS on your phone, as long as you have a rubber band, you will have a smartphone mount. You might also need a pen or any other object that can go through your car’s air conditioning vents.


Dryer sheet air freshener

Here is a trick to eliminate that lingering secondhand smoke, or left-over onion ring odor from lunch. So, if you want to bring back that brand-new car smell instead of buying car air fresheners, make use of the extra dryer sheets you already have.

For a cheap car interior air freshener: Use a fabric softener sheet, just toss one or two under the front floor mats and you will be amazed. Or you can do this by placing a few sheets under your rear seats, which are possibly closer to the point of origin for those strange odors.



While we are discussing doing things for good at no Money out of pocket


Here is a way to donate money to the charity of your choice, every time you shop, just use this link. When you purchase an eligible item, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price.


Here is the link for donations to Salvation Army: https://amzn.to/3jhe8E7

And for our German readers: https://amzn.to/3JsrLe9


Please check them out, you will feel better.


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