I laughed the first time I saw a tennis all hanging from my mom’s garage ceiling. Then I saw her try to park her car and she actually hit the garage wall.
I stopped laughing.
If you, or someone you love, has ever hit your garage walls with your car, you probably understand.
Not only will these minor accidents scratch or dent your car, but they can also damage your drywall or concrete garage walls. Fortunately, there are a few methods that you can try to help you park your car safely, even if there’s not a lot of space in your garage.
There are a variety of parking aids to help stop your car from hitting your garage walls. They include:
- Hanging a tennis ball on a string from the ceiling
- Parking blocks or mats
- Laser pointer
- Mirrors to eliminate blind spots
Having adequate lighting and a clean, clutter-free garage also helps minimize potential accidents.
In this article, we’ll talk about a few of the different garage parking aids, and how they might work in your garage.
Everything on this list is under $50 and most are under $20. Parking safely in your garage doesn’t have to break the bank.
Let’s get started with that tennis ball I mentioned earlier.
Install a Hanging Tennis Ball
Let’s start with my mom’s parking aid: the tennis ball.
This is by far the easiest (and cheapest) parking aid that you can use to stop hitting the garage wall. It takes nothing more than an old tennis ball, some string and two eye-hooks.
- Take one of the eyehooks and screw it into the tennis ball.
- Attach some string to the hook. Make sure you’ve got enough to reach from your car’s windshield to the ceiling, plus a little slack.
- Mark the spot on the ceiling directly above where the tennis ball just barely touches your windshield. Then, screw the second eyehook into that mark.
- Tie the string through the ceiling eyehook and cut off the excess.
Some people choose to have the tennis ball hit their windshield while others prefer having it hit their hood. Either way, once you hit the ball, you know it’s time to stop driving.
If you don’t have a tennis ball handy, or just don’t want to bother making this on your own, Genie (the garage door opener company) has a pre-made parking aid kit that’s pretty inexpensive.
Laser Parking Assists
A more high-tech solution to the old tennis ball is a laser parking assist.
They come in two varieties. The simplest, like the Maxsa 37312, is activated by a motion sensor so it only turns on when it senses movement. This particular versions has an AC adapter so you never need to change the batteries. However, there are different versions that run on batteries if you don’t have an outlet handy.
The other variety, like the Chamberlain CLLP1-P works with your garage door opener. It turns on as soon as you open your garage door, so it only displays the laser guide when it needs to.
Both types can be found at your local hardware store or on Amazon.com.
Installation is simple. All you have to do is drill it in place and aim the lasers to the right spot so you can see it when you park your car.
One potential drawback is that laser pointers can cause irritation if you have sensitive eyes. You should never look directly at the laser beam – which is good advice for any situation, actually.
If you have sensitive eyes, you may want to consider other possibilities instead.
Parking Targets or Mats
Rubber blocks and mats are some of the easiest parking aids you can use to park safely in your garage.
They come in two main designs. A parking block is like a smaller version of the concrete stops you see in most parking lots. You pull forward until your tires touch the block, telling you top stop.
The Parking Target blocks come in both 18″ and 24″ lengths. Both attach to your garage floor with adhesive tape.
Parking mat, by contrast, take the idea of a parking block and add a rubber or plastic panel that sits under your tires. One of the drawbacks to painting your garage floor with acrylic or latex paint is that the heat from the tires can cause the paint to crack and peel off your floor.
Because the mat sits underneath your tires, it absorbs the heat and not your floor.
Maxsa, the makers of one of the laser parking aids I lisste bove, also makes parking mats.
The Maxsa Park Right parking mat is one of the highest rated parking mats, while still being very affordable. It has an MSRP of $19.95 and is available in three different colors (black, red or yellow).
Wall bumpers aren’t necessarily a garage parking aid, but a way to cushion the blow when you make a mistake.
It’s a final, extra step, but definitely an important one. Its easy to open your car door into the wall, especially if you fit two cars in your garage.
Wall bumpers act as a cushion to prevent damage to your car if you open your door into yo garage wall.
The Ampulla GWP01 wall bumpers are the best on the market. They’re easy to line up and install on several different surfaces, even over curves and corners.
They’re made from a 1/4″ cushioned material that’s scratch resistant and eco-friendly. It can withstand over 300 pounds (136kg) of direct impact force from your car door.
I wouldn’t recommend testing that limit however. The Ampulla bumpers may be able to take it, but your door probably wouldn’t.
Mirrors are one of the lowest-tech parking aids you can get. We’re used to seeing them out on the road, to help drivers go around blind corners.
However, placing a few mirrors in your garage’s blind spots can also help you park your car without hitting your garage walls.
You can pick up convex (wide-angle) mirrors at most hardware stores. One highly recommended mirror is by a company called Kiloxa. This 12″ mirror comes with a mount that lets you attach it to one of your garage walls.
With a few of these, one in each corner of your garage, and you’ll be able to see everything from all sides of your vehicle.
By themselves, they’re an adequate solution. However, they’re best used in conjunction with one of the other garage parking aids mentioned earlier.
Additional Ways to Park Safely in Your Garage
Even if you have a few of these parking aids in your garage, it won’t guarantee that you’ll stop hitting your garage walls. Accidents happen.
However, there are a couple of things you can do to make them less frequent.
Take It Slow and Steady
Perhaps the best advice is to simply slow down.
We do recommend having some sort of parking aid, particularly if you have a small garage. However, simply slowing down when you’re pulling into your garage will go a long way to stopping accidents before they happen.
Whether you’re moving at 5 mph or 1 mph, you should focus on braking and slowing down rather than speeding into the garage.
Clean Up Your Junk
The more junk is on your garage floor, the more likely you are to have some sort of accident.
If you’re training a new driver, it might be easier to clear everything out of your garage, including tools, bicycles, lawnmowers, and so on. Once they get the hang of the parking process and you have all of the equipment installed, you can slowly start to move everything back inside.
If you’ve got so much stuff in your garage that you’re not able to fit your car in comfortably, then it’s time to clean it out.
If you’re like me, you probably hate cleaning out your garage. I created a plan to declutter your garage in small chunks, so it’s not overwhelming. It also works as a weekly or monthly maintenance system, so once your garage is clean, it never gets out of control again.
If your garage is messier than you want, I recommend checking out that article.
Install Better Lights
If you can’t see in your garage, then you’re much more likely to run into the walls or cabinets. One of the best things I did for my garage was to upgrade my garage lighting. I even added some motion sensing lights that would turn on automatically whenever they detected movement.
It’s easy to misjudge the positioning of your vehicle when it’s dark in your garage. Even well-experienced drivers have a hard time figuring out where they need to be without a light source.
Parking inside your garage can be tough, especially if you’re storing too much stuff, if the lighting is bad or even if you have a large vehicle.
There are several different garage parking aids that could help you stop hitting your garage walls. They range from bumpers and mats, to laser guides. At the very least, you can go with the tried-and-true tennis ball on a string parking aid.
Any one of these ideas will help you safely park your car in your garage, no matter what else is in the way.