When you think of car modifications, or mods if you want to be all cool about it, stuff like cams and exhausts and cold-air intakes undoubtedly come to mind. Well today, we’re not talking about those kinds of mods. Nope, for this edition of Autopian Asks, we want to hear about the creative solutions you’ve employed to solve irksome problems that make your car a less pleasant place to spend time than it needs to be.
The aftermarket has always been happy to oblige in the irksome-problem arena, of course. Oldsters like me perused pages of dubious doo-dads in ever-present JC Whitney catalogs, and one could hardly get through a Saturday afternoon of Creature Double Feature without encountering an ad for some K-Tel or Ronco whatsit that was totally precision-engineered for more convenient motoring.
Even through the 80s and early 90s, many cars and trucks were shockingly ill-equipped when it came to such niceties as cup holders and storage space beyond the glove compartment and a dash cubby suitable for maybe a wallet, or a pouch of Big League Chew, or a couple of cassette tapes. So you’d go to K-Mart and get some plastic thing to (barely) hold your drinks tapes and all the coins you had to keep handy for toll booths. Remember toll booths? Terrible. But these are all ready-made problem-solvers–accessories, not modifications. What we really want to hear about are your homebrewed workarounds for suboptimal car ergonomics and equiment.
Consider the first run of Honda Fits to reach American shores (and later gens?), which featured a center armrest that was the perfect height for comfortable arm resting provided your right humerus was about a third longer than that of a typical human. This demographic turned out to be way, way smaller than Honda anticipated. But hey, no problem: just strap a yoga block on there and problem solved.
And let’s pause to appreciate David’s Uber driver’s well-placed pad that prevents pebble-grained plastic from abrading his baby-soft knees. I did a similar thing with my 2015 RAV4, which has its door pull in the exact-right spot to punish my left patella. I zip-tied a pink kitchen sponge (yes, a new one, thanks for asking) to the handle, and presto–instant relief. My wife removed it equally instantly, citing ridiculousness, so now I just tuck my hat between my knee and the door, which is almost as good.
What kind of ingenious car-livability modifications and fixes and (OK, fine) hacks have you made to your cars, past or present? To the comments!