It's especially helpful during the winter months. 

By Marisa Cohen

It sounds like something out of MacGyver, but one of the most useful items you can keep in your car over the winter is… a nail file.

In her new book Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide, mechanic and author Patrice Banks advises drivers to keep a few important items in their glove compartment at all times, including an extra taillight and headlight, a tire-pressure gauge, and a small flashlight. But she also points out that a simple nail file can come in very handy when you get stuck driving in the rain or snow.  

“Windshield wipers can get worn down or have a layer of dirt on top of them that doesn't wipe away easily,” says Banks, a former engineer who went back to school for auto mechanics and now runs a garage in Philadelphia staffed entirely by women (it’s attached to a salon where you can get a manicure or blowout while you wait for your wheels). “You can restore your wiper blades—and make them last three to six months longer—by wiping down the surface of the blade that comes in contact with the windshield a few times with a nail file or emery board. It will give the wiper a second life, and can help you see better in the rain or snow!”

Banks cautions that the nail-file trick can only help you keep those dirty wipers clean for so long. “If the wipers blades are peeling off the wipers, no amount of filing can fix them. Replace them before they totally peel off!”

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