15 Weird Things You Should Never Do to Your Car

In the age of social media, platforms like TikTok have become hubs for sharing life hacks, DIY tips, and quirky trends. While some trends are harmless or even helpful, others can lead you down a path of car care chaos.

From viral videos showcasing unconventional car maintenance methods to strange DIY experiments, TikTok has seen its fair share of weird car trends. However, just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it’s safe or effective for your vehicle.

Using Duct Tape for Repairs

duct tape
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Why People Say to Do It: Duct tape is often hailed as a quick and easy fix for all sorts of issues, including minor car repairs. Its adhesive properties and flexibility make it seem like a convenient solution for patching up small leaks, securing loose parts, or even temporarily fixing body damage.

What Will Really Happen: While duct tape may provide a temporary fix for minor issues, it’s not a long-term solution for car repairs. Over time, the adhesive can weaken, especially in extreme temperatures, leading to the tape peeling off or losing its effectiveness. Additionally, duct tape is not designed to withstand the rigors of the road, and using it for structural repairs or on critical components can pose safety risks. For proper and lasting repairs, it’s best to use appropriate automotive-grade materials and techniques recommended by professionals.

Pouring Coca-Cola on Your Battery Terminals

car battery acid
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Some believe that pouring Coca-Cola on corroded battery terminals can help dissolve the corrosion and improve electrical conductivity. This practice is often touted as a cheap and easy DIY solution for maintaining battery health.

What Will Really Happen: While Coca-Cola contains acids that can break down corrosion, pouring it on battery terminals is not an effective or safe method for cleaning. The sugar and other additives in soda can actually worsen corrosion over time and lead to further damage to the battery terminals and surrounding components. Additionally, the sticky residue left behind by soda can attract dirt and debris, further impeding electrical connections. To properly clean battery terminals, use a mixture of baking soda and water or a commercial battery terminal cleaner.

Putting Raw Eggs in Your Radiator

raw eggs
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Why People Say to Do It: Some DIY enthusiasts claim that adding raw eggs to the radiator can temporarily patch up small leaks and prevent coolant loss. The proteins in the egg whites are believed to coagulate around the leak and create a seal, buying time until proper repairs can be made.

What Will Really Happen: Putting raw eggs in your radiator is not a recommended or effective method for fixing leaks. While the proteins in egg whites may temporarily plug small holes, they can also clog up the radiator and heater core, leading to overheating and engine damage. Additionally, egg residue can mix with coolant and create a sludgy mess, further compromising the cooling system’s efficiency. Properly addressing radiator leaks requires identifying the source of the leak and using appropriate sealants or replacing damaged components.

Overinflating Your Tires with Nitrogen

Car tire
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Using nitrogen instead of air to inflate tires is often touted as a way to improve tire performance, fuel efficiency, and tire life. Nitrogen molecules are larger and less permeable than oxygen molecules, leading some to believe that nitrogen-filled tires will maintain proper pressure longer and provide more consistent performance.

What Will Really Happen: While nitrogen inflation may offer some benefits, such as reduced tire pressure loss over time and improved tire wear, the effects are minimal and may not justify the cost and inconvenience. Overinflating tires with nitrogen can lead to decreased ride comfort, reduced traction, and uneven tire wear, as well as potential damage to the tire structure. Proper tire inflation, regardless of the type of inflation gas used, is key to maintaining tire health and performance.

Using Shaving Cream to Clean Your Headlights

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Shaving cream contains mild abrasives and surfactants that some believe can effectively clean and polish headlights, removing oxidation and restoring clarity. This DIY hack is often promoted as a cheap and easy way to improve visibility and appearance.

What Will Really Happen: While shaving cream may temporarily improve the appearance of headlights by removing surface dirt and grime, it’s not an effective solution for addressing oxidation or restoring clarity. The abrasives in shaving cream are not designed for use on automotive plastics and may cause scratches or damage to the headlight lenses. Additionally, shaving cream does not provide any protective coating or UV resistance, leaving headlights vulnerable to further deterioration from sunlight and environmental factors. For proper headlight restoration, use dedicated headlight cleaning kits or seek professional detailing services.

Painting Your Car with House Paint

painting house
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Painting your car with house paint may seem like a cost-effective alternative to professional automotive paint jobs, especially for DIY enthusiasts on a budget. Some may believe that house paint can provide a durable and long-lasting finish similar to automotive paint.

What Will Really Happen: Using house paint on your car is a recipe for disaster. House paint is not formulated for use on automotive surfaces and lacks the durability, flexibility, and weather resistance required for exterior applications. It’s prone to fading, peeling, and cracking when exposed to UV rays, temperature fluctuations, and road debris. Additionally, house paint may not adhere properly to automotive surfaces, leading to an uneven finish and poor aesthetic quality. For a professional-looking and long-lasting paint job, it’s best to use automotive-grade paint and follow proper painting techniques.

Using Vegetable Oil as Engine Oil

engine oil
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Why People Say to Do It: In emergency situations where engine oil is not readily available, some may suggest using vegetable oil as a temporary substitute. Vegetable oil is readily available, inexpensive, and has lubricating properties, leading some to believe that it can serve as a makeshift engine oil.

What Will Really Happen: Using vegetable oil as engine oil is a surefire way to cause catastrophic engine damage. Vegetable oil lacks the additives and properties required for proper lubrication and protection of internal engine components. It’s too thick and viscous to flow properly through the engine, leading to inadequate lubrication, increased friction, and overheating. Additionally, vegetable oil breaks down quickly under high temperatures and pressures, forming harmful deposits and sludge that can clog oil passages and damage engine parts. Using anything other than the manufacturer-recommended engine oil can void your warranty and lead to costly repairs. Always use the proper grade and type of engine oil specified by your car’s manufacturer for optimal engine performance and longevity.

Installing Fake Performance Parts

car maintenance
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Why People Say to Do It: Installing fake performance parts, such as aftermarket intake systems, exhaust systems, or tuning chips, may seem like a cost-effective way to enhance your car’s performance and appearance without breaking the bank. Some may believe that these parts provide similar benefits to genuine performance upgrades at a fraction of the cost.

What Will Really Happen: Installing fake performance parts is not only a waste of money but can also lead to detrimental effects on your car’s performance, reliability, and safety. Fake performance parts are often made from low-quality materials and lack the engineering and testing that genuine parts undergo. They may not fit properly or perform as advertised, leading to decreased performance, increased emissions, and potential damage to the engine or other components. Additionally, using counterfeit parts can void your car’s warranty and may even be illegal in some jurisdictions. For genuine performance upgrades, it’s best to invest in quality parts from reputable manufacturers and have them installed by qualified professionals.

Jumpstarting Your Car Backward

jump start car
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Why People Say to Do It: Some may believe that jumpstarting a car in reverse gear can provide a better connection between the donor and recipient batteries, allowing for a more efficient transfer of power. Additionally, others may think that jumpstarting in reverse can reduce the risk of electrical damage to the vehicle’s electronics.

What Will Really Happen: Jumpstarting your car in reverse is not only unnecessary but can also pose significant safety risks and potentially damage your vehicle’s electrical system. Jumpstarting a car is a straightforward process that involves connecting the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the donor and recipient batteries in the correct order. Reversing the polarity or connecting the cables incorrectly can cause electrical shorts, sparks, and damage to sensitive electronic components, such as the alternator, ECU, or stereo system. To avoid costly repairs and electrical hazards, always follow the proper jumpstarting procedures outlined in your car’s manual and use caution when handling jumper cables.

Using a Potato to Fix Dents

car dent
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Some DIY enthusiasts may suggest using a potato to fix small dents in car body panels, claiming that the starch and moisture in the potato can help soften the metal and restore its shape. This DIY hack is often promoted as a cheap and easy alternative to professional dent repair services.

What Will Really Happen: Using a potato to fix dents is not only ineffective but can also cause further damage to your car’s body panels. Potatoes lack the structural integrity and precision required to properly reshape metal and may leave behind unsightly marks or scratches on the surface. Additionally, attempting to force a potato into a dent can push the metal outward, causing distortion and making it even more difficult to repair. For proper dent repair, it’s best to consult with a professional auto body technician who has the tools and expertise to restore your car’s appearance safely and effectively.

Installing Extra Loud Exhaust Systems for Performance

car exhaust
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Why People Say to Do It: Installing an extra loud exhaust system is often associated with the belief that it can improve engine performance, increase horsepower, and enhance the sound of the car’s engine. Some may also think that louder exhaust systems are necessary for achieving a sportier or more aggressive driving experience.

What Will Really Happen: While aftermarket exhaust systems can indeed improve engine performance and alter the sound of the exhaust note, excessively loud exhaust systems can have several negative consequences. Extra loud exhaust systems may violate local noise regulations and attract unwanted attention from law enforcement. Additionally, overly loud exhaust systems can be annoying to passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers, contributing to noise pollution and community disturbances. Furthermore, some aftermarket exhaust systems may sacrifice low-end torque and fuel efficiency for increased sound, leading to decreased overall performance. Before installing an aftermarket exhaust system, it’s important to research local regulations, choose a system that complements your car’s performance goals and driving style, and ensure proper installation by a qualified professional.

Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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