First Time Garage Owners (Part 1)

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3 Tips for Parking in the Garage

skeeze / Pixabay

When you first have a one car garage it can be a little nerve wracking parking in it for the first time.  You will go really slow most of the time as you are worried that you have enough room and that you might not fit.  While not all cars will fit in a single car garage, they are a lot roomier than you might think.  This means, depending on your vehicle, that you might not have enough room to get out of the car.  I have a small one car garage, and it fits my car, along with room for storage, but it would make it difficult for a passenger to get into the car while it is parked in the garage.  I error on the side that I get out on having more room than the other since I drive alone.

This means vehicles such as SUV’s, vans, and trucks would have a harder time parking in my garage because of the size.  It’s possible, but it would leave no room for storage, and little room on both sides of the car to get out of.  Most single car garages, especially those in apartment complexes, and townhomes are small and made for smaller cars.  There are easy ways to make sure you get your car in there with enough room, and not scratch it in the process.

The Tennis Ball

I always grew up seeing a tennis ball hanging from a string in garages and I never understood what it meant.  Most of the garages that I saw it in were always full of storage items or used as workshops, so it never made sense to me.  Since nobody I knew ever parked their car in a garage it was hard for me to judge when I first got a garage of my own.  At first it seemed like I had enough room, and there was, but once you added storage totes things changed.

My grandfather explained what this old practice was and how it works.  You take a tennis ball and tie a string to it.  (You will need to pierce the tennis ball and knot the string, so it can hold it in place.)  Once you have the car in the garage you line up the tennis ball to your front windshield and tack it to the ceiling or a beam.  Now every time you pull into the garage all you need to do is tap that tennis ball to know you are right where you need to be.

Line It Up

Currently this is a method that I use, although I’ll be trying the tennis ball trick shortly to see which method works the best.  This is a second-best method and it means to have a line on the wall or the front of the garage for you to aim for.  For instance, my wife lines up the car to a line on the wall in the garage on the driver’s side.  So, when she pulls into the garage and that line is aligned with the driver’s side mirror, she knows she is in just far enough to shut the garage door.  You can even draw a line on the wall in front of you, so you know where to aim your front bumper at.

Personally, I line up to a rubber trash can where the lid is about as tall as the front of my car.  If I go to far I hit a rubber trash can that bounces back, and does no damage to my car.  If I don’t hit it, I’ve pulled in just far enough to be where I need to be to safely close the garage.


Know Your Measurements

I’ve watched people pull into their garages so fast you would think they would hit something.  However, it’s a matter of knowing your car, and the measurements that go with it.  People that have no trouble parallel parking are good at this, and can tell just by pulling into the garage that they are in far enough, and how much room they will have left.  It takes practice and knowing your car well, spending enough time with it to know every inch of it.  This means using your mirrors and lining everything up right where it needs to be.




What happens if you Miss

If you miss your mark when you are pulling into the garage there are a few things that could happen.  If you don’t judge the sides correctly, you could pull into or out of the garage at an angle, and it could mean scratching the side of the car.  You want to pull it in straight to avoid these kinds of disasters.  If you don’t pull the car in far enough the garage door might not shut.  If it does shut it could scratch your bumper and leave a mark.  It could also hit your bumper before the sensor makes it go back up again.

Pulling your car in too far, could mean ruining your storage items if they are in front of your car, or it could mean you are now putting a hole in the wall.  Most apartments and townhomes will have a barrier pole painted yellow to prevent that from happening.  It won’t prevent the damage to your car when you hit it though.

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