63

The length of available space to park inside the garage is 170 inches and the car is 162 inches. Thus leaving 8 inches maximum of room for error.

If drive too far forward the car hit the wall. If drive not far enough in, the garage door hit the car on way down.

How to be able to park inside the garage within that 8 inch room for error each time without having to get out of the car to make sure it's parked satisfactorily?

  • 1
    My garage has a similar problem, except with width, not length. Both front panels in front of the front wheels have been scratched multiple times, and one time one of the mirrors was ripped off. Once one of the sliding doors was mistakenly left open before egress causing nearly $2k in damage when it ran into the door rail! – Michael Sep 1 '15 at 23:45
  • 50
    Drive in until you hear a crash, then back up two inches. – Ross Millikan Sep 2 '15 at 4:41
  • 1
    I don't suppose you can get out and push? – Aron Sep 2 '15 at 7:17
  • 2
    Tape a pillow to the front wall? – gillonba Sep 2 '15 at 19:26
  • 21
    Just drive in and out a few times with the headlights on. The headlight beams will tell you when you're close. You'll get to know your vehicle better, and that will help you in traffic as well. Don't crash into the wall, gently ease into it. Modern vehicles are designed to collide with a wall at 8 K/H (5 MPH) without any damage. Below 30 K/H (20 MPH) the airbags will not deploy, so there is no worry about that. Seriously, get to know your vehicle. – dotancohen Sep 3 '15 at 15:48

12 Answers 12

26

This, put into the floor or block of wood. Drive up to it, just till you tap it. Then stop. Resist the urge to back up.

Edit - I changed from a driveway marker image to my 'in the wild' image from my garage. I made 2 of these, and have used both for 10+ years. It's positioned to both protect the steps from getting smashed and to allow enough clearance to walk in front of the car.

enter image description here

113

A common solution I have seen is to have a tennis ball (or similarly soft item) that can be hung from the ceiling. (You may be able to purchase a kit made for this purpose.) With the assistance of another person, drive your vehicle into the garage to a place where you have clearance on both sides. Fasten a string to both the ceiling and your tennis ball. The ball should hang down and just touch your windshield (windscreen).

Upon returning, drive into the garage just enough to touch the tennis ball to the windshield. You should be positioned with enough clearance to not damage the wall or the garage door.

Tennis ball touching windshield

Image found on http://v6mustangperformance.com/

  • 9
    Do note that if the knot slips, or the strings extends somehow, this indeed popular variant could fail you. – holroy Sep 1 '15 at 22:24
  • 8
    For bonus points, if you ever use your garage with the door closed and no car, you can run a string from the garage door to the tennis ball so that when the door closes the ball retracts up. – Daniel Griscom Sep 2 '15 at 0:05
  • 4
    @holroy It may fail, but it will fail safe. It will fail with your trunk hanging out, which will most likely trip the garage door safety mechanism or at least be noticed. That's better than crunching into the front. Also, I took the time to place the ball over a point on the windshield wiper. That way you're aiming for a point, rather than a gross region. – Cort Ammon Sep 2 '15 at 2:24
  • 17
    My parents had the a tennis ball hanging in their garage for many years, through many different cars. After the first car, it became "drive until you're 4 inches from the ball", then "pull forward until the ball is halfway up the windshield", then basically just tee-ball practice for my brother and me. – Nuclear Wang Sep 2 '15 at 7:18
  • 4
    @Mohair I see no reason to use electricity for this. What's wrong with a good old fashioned tennis ball? Not everything has to be "digital" you know. – Lightness Races with Monica Sep 5 '15 at 12:12
48

Some trucks and buses have a mirror to eliminate the front blind spot.

truck front mirror

Reverse the principle - attach any old mirror to the wall/ceiling. Might need a bit of trial and error (and a tall friend) to get the best position.

  • 4
    Far more effective, simple and adaptable to other vehicles than some of the other answers. – JamesRyan Sep 2 '15 at 9:46
  • 6
    Euro Truck Simulator.. – rahulroy9202 Sep 5 '15 at 15:51
37

You can purchase/make a parking stopper for your car.

If you are going to make one, get an old piece of carpet and short piece of wood at least 1 inch in diameter. The carpet needs to be long enough that when folded, it will fit under the tire. Loop the carpet around the stick with the excess carpet toward the garage door. The weight of the vehicle will hold the stopper in place. Once you get to the stick, you will feel resistance to moving the car further forward.

Updated:

As pointed out by Holroy, this method is subject to sliding around. Some glue would help to prevent the sliding. Your flooring will dictate the type of glue necessary.

enter image description here

Image found on http://www.auto-care.com/

  • 5
    This arrangement has the potential to slip. To make this a really good alternative, you need to fasten the parking stopper to the floor/ground somehow. Just relying on friction, is playing a game of when you'll crash into the wall. – holroy Sep 1 '15 at 22:22
  • Yep. I used a masonry bit and some plastic "anchors" to let me screw one of these to the floor. No more slipping. – Jamie Hanrahan Sep 2 '15 at 8:35
  • I have one of those that has adhesive on the bottom so it sticks to the ground. It worked fine in winter, but in summer it gets very hot. The adhesive melts, and when you pull the car in, it moves around. – Mohair Sep 2 '15 at 15:36
  • Making something like this out of wood but with a frame to stop it being pushed further into the garage would do the trick. Or even a sheet of board more than about 1" thick cut to the right size to fill the gap between the wheels and the wall. – Chris H Sep 7 '15 at 15:56
  • You'll want to avoid using any sort of permanent attachment (like glue), in case you change cars. But something semi-permanent that can be removed (like the anchors @JamieHanrahan suggested) are good. – Bobson Sep 9 '15 at 2:50
20

Another option, if you find it hard to build a movable stick, fasten the parking stopper, or don't trust the tennis ball, is to make a bumper or fender on the wall. I.e. one made out of foam padding or porolon.

As my father worked with upholstery, we had rolls of porolon, which sometimes where stored in the garage. Parking was never easier than when those were stored in the garage. We just drove until we saw the porolon/foam padding roll move a little...

A simpler variant, is to glue a piece of foam padding, i.e. 4 inches thick, to the wall, and then insert a little stick with a flag on top of it. Glue it on the wall in a height where the front bumper will touch it, and when it does, you'll see the flag wave at you.

PS! You could use an old mattress (or part of it) for this trick. Just fasten it to the wall, and hit it gently. Then you are home safe with the parking.

  • Adding more to holroy's idea of bumper or fender on the wall made out of foam padding or porolon. You could DIY a budget one with a pool noodle cut in half circle. – Kelvin Ng Sep 4 '15 at 11:21
  • 1
    I've seen this done with a pool noodle cut in half lengthwise and fastened to the wall. – GentlePurpleRain Sep 4 '15 at 19:21
18

I like marking the wall with something (e.g. permanent marker) to line up with the mirrors.

Just park the car carefully, then mark on the wall where your wing mirror is, then in future just drive forward until your mirror lines up with the mark.

Simple and cost-effective... No need to purchase anything or hang things from the ceiling.

  • 1
    Drat, I thought I was so original when I did that for my car.... using a piece of tape. – rolfl Sep 3 '15 at 16:43
  • 1
    @rolfl you are original :) just so are other people! – Sean Chapman Sep 4 '15 at 17:30
  • 3
    Your garage is too clean if you don't have something to line up with. – gbarry Sep 6 '15 at 5:41
  • 3
    too clean.. or too narrow?! – Sean Chapman Sep 7 '15 at 8:19
12

The solution lies in almost crashing into the wall without damaging the car.

This can be achieved by mounting a light movable stick to the wall, or very close to the wall. Attach something visible to the top, so that you easily identity when you hit the pole, but before you crash into the wall.

The pole or stick could be mounted at 2 or 3 inches from the wall, leaving 6 or 5 inches for the garage door!

Edit: One option for a light movable stick, could be a stop sign on pole garage or similar stuff

  • This sounds smart, and I gave you an upvote, but can you describe more about "mounting a light movable stick"? Do you mean hanging down from overhead, or just balancing on the floor? Both of those would work but you might even have another option in mind. – BrettFromLA Sep 1 '15 at 21:28
  • Added a search, displaying one option, but this can easily be made by one self. – holroy Sep 1 '15 at 21:37
  • @BrettFromLA, I've seen all three variants currently described in answers, but I didn't have any picture, so I just wrote the generic one. And now it seems Adam Zuckerman has stolen all the glory! :-) Good for him! :) – holroy Sep 1 '15 at 21:43
  • 1
    I'm not a big fan of the tennis ball against the window. If the string slips a little, the windshield will bump the ball when the car is several inches behind where it should be (since the windshield is on an angle). Your upright balanced stick idea is a lot better. In fact I was going to add it before I saw you already had. – BrettFromLA Sep 1 '15 at 22:10
  • 1
    In the northeastern US, we have light glass fiber sticks that mark the edge of the drive way in winter (you don't understand you need this until the first good snow storm of the year). Such a stick hanging from the ceiling, 4 inches from the wall, would do the job perfectly. – Floris Sep 6 '15 at 17:11
6

Park your car driving into the garage backwards. Use both your side mirrors to align the car with the garage. Use the co-driver's side mirror for side to side navigation. Make a mark on the wall that aligns to the mirror when parked in deep enough.

With a bit of training you can keep your eyes on the co-driver's side mirror the whole time while parking. You can also get quite close to the wall on co-driver's side, which leaves lots of space to climb out of your car.

I'm using this method for a garage that goes deep in but isn't comfortably wide. Marking the wall is an addition to my method with regard to the depth of the garage. Since I'm only looking at the one mirror that's supposed to align with the marking in the last phase of parking this should work fine.

  • Normally, reversing in to a parking space is much easier than driving in forwards, as your front end is free to manoeuvre, but my neighbour surprised me by saying it would be much easier to go in forwards and reverse out. My garage is very tight indeed for width, and I was skeptical, but she was 100% right - easy in, easy out. I gradually get my passenger wing mirror closer to the wall as I glide in and the mark I painted on the wall tells me where to stop. – AndrewC Oct 29 '17 at 1:03
4

I have such a garage and the visible marker technique mentioned by many here works for me.

There is a electrical socket on the side of the garage. I make sure the electrical socket lines up with the end of the front passenger door of my minivan. This gives me about 3 inches every time. Just make sure you don't lean too much forward in your seat when you check alignment with the marker.

Some kind of marker in a more easier and surer place for you will work great. (Still, there is some thrill factor involved every time!)

4

There's multiple things you can do to prevent hitting the wall.

  • Install a closet mirror on one side of the wall. That way you can see how close you are to the front wall.
  • Install a guided laser beam and pick a spot on the windshield. Some kits have two lasers, for two car garages. I find these to be a lot of work to setup (mounting, power, alignment, etc).
  • Install a tire plate and chuck that prevents your front tire from going past a certain point. Yes, they may slide. Some have 4 holes to anchor them into the floor. Might be overkill.
  • My car had a reverse-camera, so I would always back in. You can look into aftermarket kits if your vehicle doesn't have one.
  • Tape method. Place a piece of tape on the floor that lines up with some letter or sticker on your door sill. At most you open your door half way as you pull in, staring down until the tape lines up with some mark on the door sill.
3

Have someone you trust watch the front of the car when you drive in, drive very slowly until they say "stop" when you are 4-5 inches from the wall, so you are in the garage enough.

Then back up, and do it again a few times. Once you're comfortable knowing how long your car is on the bit you can't see (lower front bumper), then drive in slowly and stop where you think you should, with the person watching to shout "stop" but only at the last minute.

I know 5-6 inches sounds like already the last minute, but once you have done this a few times you'll recognise that nearly half a foot leeway is actually quite a bit. And you only need to be less than 8 inches away from the wall, which is nearly 3/4 of a foot.

This will teach you the length of the car, and will allow you to park your car anywhere. The tennis ball and sticks ideas are truly great, but they are not present at the supermarket, golf club, or other places you could park where there could also be limited room. Or where you want the car parked tight in so no-one catches the back with a trolley/other vehicle/etc.
It also helps you have more confidence when pulling out of being parked between two cars (front and back) in a street.


While you'd need to "re-learn" if you changed your car, you also have to reposition sticks and tennis balls too, but with this method, once you have the technique and experience, then learning a new car is pretty simple.

2

Fenders

Put something soft on the wall, like a foam or rubber fender. Then you can drive, slowly, until you touch it.

Even plastic bottles will do (depending on the gap). I've often seen boats with empty plastic bottles or fenders hanging all around to avoid scratching the boat when docking.

You can combine the fenders with a noise/light signal. Just put a contact switch behind the fender, connected to some sort of light. When you touch the fender the light will go on and you'll know you have to stop.

  • 2
    Oh! A squeaky toy. Nail a squeaky duck to the wall for added amusement when parking. – RedSonja Feb 27 at 9:45

protected by michaelpri Sep 4 '15 at 14:24

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