Introduction: Garage Entry Accident Avoidance Guides

This is the story of a new driver with her first license, a new car, a one car wide garage entrance, and a dad. I’m sure many of you are familiar with what happens next. After I got my license, my Dad helped me get a new car. Now the car fit easily enough into the garage – at least it did if I didn’t have to consider those darn mirrors.

Two days later while pulling into the garage, I smashed the passenger side mirror into the side of the garage, destroying the mirror and damaging the entrance way. With over $300 worth of damage, we had a situation on our hands. Dad said we had to figure out a way of guiding me into the garage. We went to the auto supply stores and found plenty of products to help us figure out how far to pull up once the car was in the garage. Unfortunately there was nothing that protected us from going too far to the right or left as we entered. We went back home and searched the internet high and low. We asked Mr. Google, but he couldn’t find anything.

So that’s when I asked Dad, can’t we build something? We went to Home Depot, not exactly sure what to get. But we knew the guide had to be something that if hit wouldn’t cause damage the car. What we came up with cost under $10, and my dad, who is not very handy, managed to get it installed in less than an hour. It’s now five years later, and there have been no more accidents (at least pulling into the garage). Our only regret is not thinking of this earlier!

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools


4 zip ties

6' length of Foam Pipe Insulation 1/2"- 3/4" interior diameter

2 Wall Mounted Hooks


1 box cutter or Exacto knife to cut foam insulation

1 power drill

We used 5/16" drill bit for starter hole.

Step 2: Cut Insulation

Picture of Cut Insulation

Use box cutter to cut foam insulation into two approximately equal lengths.

Step 3: Install Hook Into Garage Frame

Picture of Install Hook Into Garage Frame

Pull the car into the garage slightly so that the driver’s side mirror is as close to side entrance as is tolerable. We left a couple of inches extra clearance.

Line up one hook so that it is parallel to and at the same height as the top of the car hood. It is best to insert the hook in the frame of the garage door or in the outer wall.

Drill a guide hole to make it easier to screw in the hook.

Screw in hook making sure that it is perpendicular to outer wall and parallel to ground.

Step 4: Attach Foam Insulation

Picture of Attach Foam Insulation

Loosely attach foam insulation to the hook with two zip ties. You will have to adjust the foam insulation, so do not pull twist ties tight yet.

Align car so that windshield is even with the hook and foam insulation.

Pull the insulation towards the car so that it just touches the hood in front of the mirror.

Tighten the zip ties to fasten the foam in place.

Step 5: Repeat for Side 2

Picture of Repeat for Side 2

Repeat above steps for other side of car.

In our case, there were some items inside the garage so we had to make sure there was enough room once the car was inside. Also, we found we had to cut the foam insulation into a shorter piece, as there was a wall that interfered.

Make sure you align the vehicle with the other side just as you aligned it with the first side.

Step 6: Drive Into Garage With Full Knowledge That Mirrors Are Safe!

Picture of Drive Into Garage With Full Knowledge That Mirrors Are Safe!

When driving into the garage it is imperative to drive straight in. Entering at an angle could result in a catastrophe!

The car should drive in between the guides. If the hood of the car hits either of the guides before the windshield reaches the guide then you are too far over. The guides should touch the car just about at the windshield. As you drive forward the mirrors will hit the guides. After you pass through them, the guides will snap back (see intro video).

When pulling out, just go straight back. Do not turn the wheel. Leave the way you came in and all will be fine!


Billygeorge (author)2016-12-02

Great idea well done. I have a 30cm x 15cm 7cm thick block of wood fixed to the floor where the front wheel of the car should stop. Drive in until you feel the car kiss it, job done. Your idea solves the problem of how far from the side beautifuly, flexible pipe cracking idea.

gcai_fwb (author)2014-12-14

good idea but a couple of comments

1st - you only need one of these on the left side and setup to just clear the left mirror - your car doesn't change width (or at least mine doesn't) so lining up 1 side is sufficient; also not hitting the paint all the time can't help but to preserve your car 's paint

2nd - this doesn't give you a stopping point in your garage - as others have stated use a tennis ball on a string setup up to touch your windshield works - and your comment saying this doesn't give you lateral positioning is invalid - simply setup the ball to line up with a specific point on your car ( speedometer, sensor, steering wheel centre or even a bit of tape at the base of the windshield) lineup as you drive in and no problems - been doing this for 30+ years - no damage to car or garage

btw if you can't line a vehicle at low speed like this maybe some remedial vehicle control lessons might be in order - i.e. you have no feel for where your vehicle is!! - bad for you and the other drivers around you - proper driving skills should let you position your vehicle within 1 inch (or less) of where you want to be all the time - if you can't do it practice, practice, practice! - sloppy vehicle control is bad driving and there is no excuse for it

allie.fauer (author)gcai_fwb2014-12-24

Thank you for your comment for I have taken your advice very seriously. I have removed the guides from my garage and signed up for those remedial vehicle control lessons that you suggested.

Best, Allie

vincent7520 (author)2014-11-07

Lucky daughter !

All fathers are smart, yours is the most brilliant of all.

Therefore : BRILLIANT !

allie.fauer (author)vincent75202014-11-09

Haha, he sure thinks that he is the most brilliant of them all!

NordicLedgend (author)2014-11-04

My dad had a tennis ball hung from the ceiling of the garage, when it hit the windscreen time to stop!...

Tex Arcana (author)2014-10-31

BRILLIANT!! thank you for this!

allie.fauer (author)Tex Arcana2014-11-02

No problem! I'm glad you liked it!

rgfbrown (author)2014-10-29

Super idea. Just bought a new (larger) vehicle and this idea is one I will ask my husband to do for me as I am afraid to pull it into the garage.

allie.fauer (author)rgfbrown2014-10-29

If you have your husband make it, we'd love to see some pictures! Good luck!

diana chu (author)2014-10-28

I used to have a dustpan with a long wood handle and a pennant attached to it. So I placed it on a blind spot of the garage. If it fell down I was too near. My neighbors just gave me bad looks when ever they saw my tool... but who cares, I never scratched the car.

Yours is fancier and a great idea. Don´t give up the driving.

allie.fauer (author)diana chu2014-10-29

Haha, that doesn't sound too safe but, whatever works!

MoTinkerGNome (author)2014-10-28

Clever Idea. One thing that may help for keeping it straight. We kept yellow line on the drivers side for the garage doors at the firehouse. The idea is you line up your rear tire with the line while backing in. At the end is a wood block & road cone. when the rear bumper taps the road cone the rear tire should be chocked and ready to respond to the next emergency.

Oh man! I can't imagine having to park something as large as a fire truck in a garage. I couldn't even handle a car as you could probably tell. That's why we had to make this!

No worries. The Probies can't at first either. They get a nice all day driver training course then tons of hands on time after graduating the academy. Then after their proctor says they are ready they do a driving test with the station commander pass that and they can drive fail it and they start the process all over.

Mickleblade (author)2014-10-28

Another trick is a tennis ball dangling from the roof on a bit of string. Drive in until it touches the windscreen, I should think it would work for the mirrors too.

allie.fauer (author)Mickleblade2014-10-28

We had considered doing something of this sort. The problem was that we needed something to guide us before the car mirrors entered the garage. With the garage door raised, we could only hang something from the ceiling about 10 feet in. By then our mirrors would have already been smashed! That's why we hung guides from the sides instead of from above.

walter.warren1 (author)2014-10-28

Nice idea! My old car had a button that would fold the mirrors back toward the body, but a new car I just got doesn't have that feature so I've had to relearn how to enter my garage.

Mirrors folding in! What luxury!

shruti.takhral (author)2014-10-27

thanks for saving our money .

No problem! Installing this is a whole lot cheaper than having to replace your side mirror!

newb (author)2014-10-27

Good idea but even with this you're rubbing foam on your car every time you enter or exit the garage and that can lead to paint wear, you also are left guessing as to how much space you have in front of the car. It seems like a tennis ball suspended in line with the drivers seat would work better, just line your head up with the tennis ball and pull up until the ball touches or almost touches the windshield. Just my two cents though.

allie.fauer (author)newb2014-10-28

Thank you for your comment. We actually considered this option first. The problem is, we wanted something hanging from the ceiling right at the entrance. Unfortunately, it had to be further back than where the garage door stops when it's up. That means it had to be back roughly 10 ft. Add the distance between the front of the car and the driver, that means that when you enter the garage, you're roughly 15 feet away from the tennis ball. When there's literally inches of clearance, just a small error in your line of sight could be problematic. That's especially true when you consider a driver might not always be positioned in exactly the same spot or at the same angle.

It's true you might brush the car with the foam insulation, however, other than the mirror and right before the windshield the foam will only rub against the car if you enter too far to one side. Watch the video. Even though you may brush the car, we've had this for several years with no problems and have seen no evidence of unusual wear on the paint job. On the other hand, if anyone has a better material to use as opposed to the foam insulation, We're open to suggestions.

jtjones73 (author)2014-10-27

A simple, straight forward solution, I like it. Good job.

allie.fauer (author)jtjones732014-10-28

Thanks jtjones73! It was cheap and it barely took any time to put together! I think we spent longer trying to find all of the supplies at home depot than actually building it.

spikeseller (author)2014-10-27

Nice solution.

allie.fauer (author)spikeseller2014-10-28

Thanks spikeseller!

rolltidehank (author)2014-10-27

Great idea!

allie.fauer (author)rolltidehank2014-10-28

Thanks rolltidehank!

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-10-26

This is so clever, my grandpa hangs a tennis ball from the ceiling but this is so much simpler! Well done on figuring out an awesome solution to a common problem!

Thanks MsSweetSatisfaction. Combining a tennis ball from the ceiling with what we made is a great solution to both protecting your side mirrors and knowing how far to pull into the garage!

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-25

Thank you for your nice Instructable.


allie.fauer (author)SparkySolar2014-10-28

Thanks Rima!

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