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At one time or another, every single one of us fortunate enough to park our cars in a garage has done it. Maybe you were in a rush, or maybe you were changing the radio station, or maybe you were just coming home from a long shift. That’s right, we’re talking about pulling the car too far into the bay!

Realizing you’ve done this can be a sickening feeling--did you just damage the shelving with all of your yard equipment? Did you dent the bumper? Crack a headlight? No matter what happened or why, it’s important to take steps to ensure this never happens again.

Read on for some more tips about how to set up your garage for parking depth success.

First Option: The Old Tennis Ball Trick

The first option that we always like to tell people about is just using a tennis ball hanging from the ceiling so that you’ll know when to stop your car or truck. You’re going to need a tennis ball, scissors, drill bits and drill, an eye hook, a thin cord, a sharpie, and a measuring tape to get started.

tennis ball hanging in garage

First, pull the car into the spot at the right depth. Have someone else guide you from outside the car if necessary.

Next, attach the ball to the cord by drilling a hole all the way through it and then stringing a cord through the holes and tying it off.

Now it’s time to do some measuring. Measure from the back wall of the garage to the center of your windshield, and from the side wall to that exact same point. Where these lines meet, place a dot with the Sharpie on the ceiling. Drill a hole to place your eye hook at this point, and decide whether or to reinforce the mount with an anchor bolt, toggle bolt, or some good old-fashioned Gorilla Glue in the hole before you install the hardware.

Drive the car out of the garage and drag out the stepladder or either height aid. Hang the string and the tennis ball from the ceiling at such a length that it’ll just barely bump into your windshield when you pull into the garage at the right depth, and you’re all done!

Second Option: Parking Blocks and Mats

Parking blocks resemble tiny versions of speed bumps that aren’t really intended to hinder your car’s movement. In most cases these attach to the floor quite easily and quickly, but you’re just going to want to glue them down to give them the proper stability.

You’re going to place them where your tires will bump into them when you pull into the garage, so have your car at the right depth and make marks on the floor to know where to place them after you pull the car out. Since these are semi-permanent obstructions on the floor they can create a tripping hazard, so make sure that they have bright colors or reflective tape attached to them to warn friends and family traversing your garage.

Parking mats are similar to blocks, but they have two “bumps” instead of one. First, you’ll run over a smaller bump that warns you you’re running out of space, and then you bump a slightly larger raised bead that lets you know you can fully stop the car at the right place in the garage.

Tire resting on Pro-Stop
Tire resting on Pro-Stop

Our Race Ramps Pro-Stops are made from durable rubber and come with two pre-drilling mounting holes. One feature that sets them apart from other models is the interlocking design. If you or other drivers in your household vary your approach, creating a wider stop means an easier time parking even if the driver is a couple of inches off, or if you have tires wider than 11.5".

Third Option: Light Up Stands

The options for garage parking range from the humble tennis ball to the flashy light up signs that we’ll discuss next – it’s all about what you value and what will be most visible and useful to you. These stands in question are normally made to mimic things like “STOP” signs: easily recognizable objects that catch your eye. The idea is that you pull the car in just far enough to barely bump the sign, which will then alert you that you’re all set by immediately lighting up.

Park 'N Place Garage Parking Aid
Park 'N Place Garage Parking Aid

Finally, in this category there are options that utilize both lasers and other sensors to help alert you how much space you have left. These are the true “Cadillac” choices – they can cost a pretty penny, but they’re a popular piece among people who just love whizbang gadgets.

No matter what option you decide to go with, it’s a good idea to have some sort of mechanism in place to guide your garage parking. You’ll save not only in money and damages, but also in heartache resulting from these little incidents that can be so easily avoided!