3 Fun Secrets Hiding in Your Car.

We all have certain secrets we need to keep for the safety of ourselves and others. For instance I could never let it get out that a certain relative of mine was once a Republican. Just kidding.  They were a Democrat.  Just kidding they were a Libertarian.  Just kidding.  You’re all worked up now no matter what your affiliation aren’t you?  Good.  I was trying to get your heart rate up.  Politics are the cardio of the blog world.

The point was to get your heart pumping and racing so these next 3 tips wouldn’t come as so much of a shock that you collapsed from cardiac arrest.

Now that your heart rate is up we can move on to the secrets held within your car.

The first road vehicle was invented by some smart French dude who got money to build it from the government of France.  It had a steam engine, 3 wheels and flew wildly out of control into a wall at its top speed of 2 m.p.h. on its inaugural test run.  From there Karl Benz picked up the cause along with Gottlieb Daimler and his collaborator Wilhelm Maybach who perfected the gas powered engine and added another wheel.

Then some guy name Ford jumped on the bandwagon and figured out a way to make a car on an assembly line.  In doing so, he managed to cut the cost of producing a car (The Model T) by 75% and made the car available to the general public.  Its assembly line price was $260.  Which is about what the key for my car would cost if I lost it.

The Model T dashboard had one thing.  A speedometer.

The inside of the car had no clock, no heating vents, no gas gauge, no oil gauge, no radio, no DVD player, no rearview backup camera, no rearview mirror, no windshield, no seat belts. and most alarmingly, no cup holder.

It was pretty in a simplistic, I built this out of Amazon boxes kind of way.

Nowadays most people aren’t  happy with a car dashboard unless it looks like it was ripped straight out of a 747 cockpit.

So yes, car interiors have come a long way since the Model T.  There are gizmos and gadgets and all manner of things to keep you occupied when you get bored with paying attention to the road.

One of the least understood gizmos on modern car dashboards is the gas tank symbol. And it’s the subject of our car’s first secret.

1. Whichever side of your dashboard your gas gauge is on, is the side of your car the tank is on.


You can see in this picture of my dashboard that the gas gauge is on the right hand side.  Therefore the gas tank is on the passenger side of my car.

If the gauge is in the centre of the dashboard there will be a little arrow on the gauge that points to which side of the car the tank is on.  Helpful when you’ve borrowed someone else’s car and are going to fill it with gas or with rental cars.


2.  Most cars now come with a convenient food warmer.

I had no idea most people didn’t think to do this but apparently it’s true. Whenever I happen to pick up take out food (which isn’t nearly as often as I would like) on my way to get it I put my passenger side’s heated seat on.  Then when you plop the bag of McDonalds, Taco Bell or box of pizza onto it, it helps keep it warm on the trip home.



One year I bought the fella an insulated pizza bag for Christmas because we used to like pizza that came from a place half an hour away.  It’s a GENIUS gift for anyone who loves pizza.   At the time I had to order it from somewhere weird, but now you can get them on Amazon.


3. A lot of key fobs not only open your car door, but also open and close your car windows.

This little car secret doesn’t hold true for everyone but it’s true for a fair amount of people. Just press the “unlock” button once, and then press and hold it.  If you are one of the lucky ones, your window will instantly roll down.  I tried it.  My windows did not instantly roll down but my television turned on.

Just kidding.

You can get my Milwaukee keychain measuring tape here.  All the ladies on the Upper East Side have one.

For those of you who haven’t run outside to try your key fob on your car windows I’d like to wish you a good weekend.  Maybe think about going for a drive.  To pick up some pizza.


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  1. Steve says:

    I own a 2013 Smart Fortwo. There is no indicator telling what side the gas filler is on (its on the passenger side.

  2. Benjamin says:

    On a side note, the new baby ducks have hatched in my community and running around with their moms. So cute. I tried the unlock and hold trick on the key fob and something started vibrating in my boyfriends sidetable under a sweater. Now look what you’ve done…

  3. Katie C. says:

    In my Honda Odyssey (yay for minivans) the gas gauge is on the passenger side with an arrow that points to the driver’s side.

    Another gas tank failing of my car is that it doesn’t beep or ding when the tank gets low. It just silently turns on a little light that,I guess, you’re supposed to notice all on your own.

  4. SeaDee says:

    Good tips! The fob/windows trick worked on my VW, but I forgot about it for my Mazda; will be trying that tomorrow.

    I also have a mini tape measure on my keychain, except it’s a Stanley. I use it all the time.

  5. Claire says:

    Do you drive a Volvo XC90? I recognise the fob (and the dashboard looks familiar). I drive a honda jazz in Ireland and the handy arrow is useful.

  6. dana says:

    The things you did for that fella, Karen. And I’m guessing he took that insulated bag with him when he left. Well, it was a gift, I guess. I hear food can be cooked on the engine of a car. Get on steaming some salmon, please. I’m a stress bucket if too many things dangle from my keychain. Instead, I use a paper bill bc they’re abt 6″. 😂 and contain cocaine and p00 residue.

  7. Edith says:

    Great tips. I was hoping you would enlighten us on the proper use of that one mystery button on the A/C …the arrow that curves back around. ?????

    • Nancy W says:

      I believe it is for “recirculate” – when you don’t want outside air coming into your car while you are driving and have the air on.

      • maggieb says:

        That’s right. For example, when you’re caught behind a stinky exhaust spewing vehicle.
        Love the windows down feature, especially when parked somewhere new and you come back to find car in full sunshine.

  8. Paula says:

    “Ripped straight out of a 747 cockpit”. Lol
    My fob also opens my sunroof if you click the unlock button once more after the windows open, which is great for those really hot summer days which I have almost forgotten about.

  9. Sheri says:

    I was excited to learn I could use my key fob to disable the annoying beep beep every time I locked and unlocked my Tacoma. Love that truck but the beeps were so annoying. My world is so much quieter now!

  10. Sherry Germann says:

    In Karen’s photo of her car dash, on the fuel gauge, there is a white, “gas pump” imprinted on the fuel gauge itself. See it? Since the gas pump is printed on the right-hand side of the fuel gauge, the fill would be on the right side of the car. If the gas pump were printed on the left side of the fuel gauge, the fill would be on the left side.

  11. Sabina says:

    Being that my Jeep is about 15′ below me and right outside my office window I just HAD to try the unlock door/open window secret. Alas, it didn’t work, however the factory installed remote starter does and when I bust out of this place in 10 minutes my Jeep will be toasty warm and I can turn on my bun-warmer and warm my buns (yes, I’m not too far from Karen and it’s still “Sprinter” around here) as I fly down the highway to go pay my brother a Friday afternoon visit! Have a great weekend everyone!

  12. Teddee Grace says:

    Hmm! My Corolla gas gauge is on the right side but my tank, at least the cap and opening, are on the left.

  13. Judy says:

    I have a tape measure on my key chain too! It was actually my mother’s, from her knitting basket, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve used it in the lumber yard! I love all the crossover gadgets from my workshop to my sewing room. You never know when you’re going to need 3 inch washers from the hardware store to hold down a pattern on your fabric to cut out a pair of leggings…..

  14. Mary W says:

    Thanks, Karen, for the information. I thought the arrow was some sort of measuring device in case I didn’t know how to read the fuel gage and just ignored it. Why would someone walk around the car to put gas in – when they could just park on the other side of the fuel pumps? It sounds like that question: Think about your personal front door and when opening it, what side of the house does the sun rise in? I had to think long and hard since I was sure it was some kind of trick – made me look even stupider than I already am.

    • Agnes says:

      I wondered that too – until I reconsidered. Whichever side of the pump you park – you still would have to walk from the driver side to the passenger side rear end. I think that was Billy’s Mom’s complaint – not which side but the long walk.
      Here’s a brain teaser – I have 2 cars, both have the tank access on the driver’s side. However, I park one on the left side of the pumps and one on the right. What does that tell you about my cars?

      • Alice says:

        RH drive for one of them?

      • Agnes says:

        Correct, Alice, one is RH drive. A Citroen 2CV from England (yes I know those are French cars and rightly should drive from the other side), and a Honda from Canada.

        • Mary W says:

          What is a RH drive car?

        • Mary W says:

          I know many mail carriers here in Florida that would love that option since most drive LH cars and their back is bent and stretched all the time. Any used RH’s on sale probably go at a premium price. That is a pretty color on the picture of that car.

      • Mary W says:

        You have a teenage son riding with you to fill up the tank. LOL

        • Agnes Rivers-Moore says:

          LOL Mary W. Sadly, no energetic teens here. The steering wheel is on the Right Hand side, to suit countries that drive on the left side of the road. As in UK, OZ, India, Japan, and much of southern Africa. (Also RH drive design may apply to mail delivery and garbage pickup vehicles even in Canada.)

  15. Ann Roberts says:

    Weird. My prior comment has disappeared. I know it was here cause someone posted a comment under mine in response.

  16. linda in illinois says:

    I went out to try the keyfob to unroll my windows and “sigh” it did not work. That would be awesome if it did. Today in Illinois it is going to be 70° so they say. I laugh cause yeah tomorrow it will snow. My Kia has an arrow saying which side the tank is on and thank goodness cause it seems every car is different. Great tips as always

  17. Dan says:

    I have a 4-year old. The secrets hiding in my car are numerous. And mostly shaped like cheerios. Or boiled egg yolks.

  18. Jennifer Nelson says:

    I know with out trying it that on my key fob holding any of the buttons sets off an alarm. It’s a safety feature for when you are in danger and need assistance or to scare away an attacker.

  19. Mark Harrison says:

    Alas, the “gas tank side” thing is such a common urban legend that snopes have a page about it:-(

    I have three cars. Only one of them has such an indicator :-(

  20. Jenny says:

    I think the gas tank arrow depends on the age of the particular car–I don’t think it became an industry standard until more recently. Our 2012 Toyota Highlander has the little arrow, but our 2002 Chevy Blazer does not. So now I’m curious and I’ll have to check and see if the gas gauge is on the matching side of the dashboard for the Blazer. :)
    I love my bun warmers. It’s possibly my favorite part of our Highlander, especially this year and the unending winter (more snow this weekend *sob*).

  21. CathyR says:

    I call my Fella my “ little lug nut” because he’s a wrench-head, shadetree mechanic, all ‘round car guy. He even has the official T-shirt proudly proclaiming: Still Plays With Cars. So he has it on pretty good authority that the more weight you have dangling from your keys the more damage you can do to the ignition switch. And when I heard the same thing from Click N Clack, The Car Guys, well you can imagine how I beamed with pride then ran to declutter my fob!

  22. Karen says:

    Thank you for the info!! Makes soo much sense!

  23. Carol says:

    That window opening thingie works on Volkswagens, for sure. And, you can also close the windows with the key fob. Handy when you’re about to leave the car and realize you’ve left a window open.

    • Linda says:

      Even really old VWs like mine (1995!) with an old style simply turn key, work this way. Put the key in, turn and hold in the direction of lock or unlock and the windows will go up or down. Maybe VW invented this feature?

  24. Carswell says:

    I had always wondered what that little arrow beside the gas tank symbol was for. I never knew until someone at the car rental agency mentioned it when we were checking how much gas was in the car before I took it.

    My key fob is different but I will see what happens when I hold the unlock symbol.

  25. Ev Wilcox says:

    I have a Jeep Wrangler (Silver Belle). I know the gas fill hole is on the driver’s side, so I never looked for the arrow! But I will. No heated seats. And if I double press the door unlock, it unlocks the back door, which gives access to the trunk area. I say trunk laughingly, because it is a very small area, especially if the back seat is deployed! Then it is a teeny tiny area! Not a good vehicle for shopping, but I knew that when I bought it-love my Jeep! Would be great if the unlock thingy opened the windows, especially in hot weather. If we ever experience it. Oh well, congrats to all who can open their windows like you can!

  26. Vanessa says:

    My gas gauge is on the right…..and my tank on the left. But it does have the little arrow douhickie that points left. Maybe thats a Canadian thing?

    • Thera says:

      Nope, in Ontario here, gas gauge on the left, tank on the right, but I too have the arrow.
      I also have an older car, 2003, nothing automatic on mine, crank for windows, push locks, no heated seats, however, a spare key costs $3.95 at Home Hardware!

  27. My last fun secret was a huntsman spider the size of my hand, hiding behind the sun visor.

    • traci says:

      That is the stuff of nightmares. I am now afraid of my visors even though I know those spiders aren’t around here.

    • Mary W says:

      I had a very large wolf spider hiding there and when I lowered my visor it jumped onto me and ran to hide somewhere. I have NEVER parked with my windows even slightly cracked open since. It was the scare of my life and everyone laughs at me since I refuse to let anyone open the cover of my sky light – I’m sure spiders are waiting to jump me. A huntsman is poisonous though, right? We don’t have them in Florida. Thank God.

      • Huntsman spiders look scary because they’re so big and hairy, but they’re not aggressive and can’t really bite humans. I quite like them, they eat mosquitoes and other less desirable critters.

        • Mary W says:

          I didn’t know that about Huntsman but the name alone is enough for me! It could be worse I guess if named Huntswoman. LOL

        • Catherine Gibson says:

          Are those like wolf spiders? we have wolf spiders the size of saucers. My roomies & I actually called the PD one Friday to come deal with one because we were all too freaked out to capture the poor thing. the officer thought it was the funniest thing ever and had a ball. Good times….

    • Karen says:

      BLACH!!! ~ karen

  28. Liza says:

    I just brought some chicks home from the farm store and used the heated seat to keep them warm. The heated seat is multi-talented.

  29. billy sharpstick says:

    I talked my mom into buying a Subaru Forester after I had one. It didn’t tell you which side the gas cap was on, but it was on the passenger side, for which she never forgave me. She spent the next 12 years walking around her car to fill the gas tank, cursing me the whole time, until she finally upgraded to a wheelchair. (Also the windows didn’t have frames around them, but that’s a whole different story.) (Am I number one post?)

    • Gayle M says:

      Yep, looks like you got #1 today!

    • Tina says:

      Actually your mother’s Subaru does indicate which side the tank is on. If you look at the little pic of the gas tank, it has an arrow beside it. That indicates the side where the access is. I’ll try to attach a pic.

      • Cred says:

        I think Billy’s mom’s beef was that it was on the passenger side, at all, as she had to walk around to fill it, not that it didn’t indicate which side to fill.

        I chuckled at, “…until she finally upgraded to a wheelchair”. I hope her new ride also comes with a driver.

        • Cred says:

          In the this case, it may depend on the age of the car- Billy’s moms Subaru may have been an early model. I’ve never had this feature; being a single income family with a handy husband, I haven’t had a new car since 1992. (I told my husband, the longer we’ve been together, the older my car gets). I had only heard of the dashboard arrow when I was informed by a gas attendant when I stupidly approached the pumps from the wrong side in a rental I had last month.
          I drive a 2004 Civic and there is no arrow and the gar gauge is the dashboard indicator furthest to the right but the gas tank is on the left side.

        • Alena says:

          For some reason, your reply to yourself has no Reply option so I have to reply to your first post.
          My car is a 2006 Matrix and it’s the same – no arrow, gauge on the right side but the tank is on the opposite side.

    • Karen says:

      Allll cars have this billy. It would have had an arrow. Cross my heart. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      He’s #1! He’s #1! ~ k!!!

    • kddomingue says:

      My husband bought a Mustang some years ago. And I cursed him a blue streak every time I had to put gas in the damn thing!

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