How Can I Park in My Garage Without Hitting the Back Wall?
August 25, 202014 min read
Are you worried about hitting the back wall of your garage while parking? Perhaps you already have or got too close? Perhaps you have limited garage space, have a larger vehicle to park, or a more expensive vehicle to protect? You need something to help you or a loved one from getting scrapes, dings, and dents on your vehicle. I’ve created a resource for just about any budget so let’s see what we can do about not hitting that back wall.
You need to use a parking aid to give yourself an idea of where your vehicle is in physical space while entering the garage. Some parking aids include a tennis ball DIY, a parking target, parking mat, parking stop sign, parking laser, but the best solution is the STKR Garage Parking Sensor.
Below, you will learn about all of these parking aids in detail and some additional precautions you can take to make sure you won’t bump into your garage walls.
The STKR Garage Parking Sensor allows you to park easily without worrying that you will run into your garage wall!
The sensor works by using a three-light system that signals different info to the driver in realtime. The “approach light” is green and signifies that it is safe for the driver to keep moving. The “slow down” light is yellow and tells the driver that they are approaching the sensor so they should reduce their speed. Lastly, the “stoplight” is red and indicates that the car is in the desired parking spot so the driver should park the car. It is very intuitive as it replicates the same color responses as a stoplight on the road. Any driver can understand the concept and respond appropriately.
This sensor system is incredibly easy to install, all you have to do is mount it in your garage using the velcro and double-sided tape it comes with. Easy Peasy. No needing a ladder to mount a tennis ball or laser on the ceiling, and no trip hazards on the garage floor. Plus, it can be mounted to whatever is in front of your car, workbench, toolbox, freezer, etc.
After your sensor is mounted, you’ll want to park your car in the desired “stop zone.” Once you do this, go over to your sensor and press the “set distance” button. Once you press this button, the STKR Garage Parking Sensor will memorize your car's location so that every time you reach that point, the red stoplight will light up and signal you to stop.
The STKR Garage Parking Sensor also comes with a walkway light that illuminates the space between the parking sensor and the car. This allows you to safely navigate your way into the house. The light automatically shuts off after two minutes.
If you’d like to see this amazing garage parking sensor for yourself, check out this video by STKR, where they demonstrate its features as well as its advantages over other parking aids:
STKR Concepts Garage Parking Sensor - Pros and Cons
Very easy install. No need to mount anything to your ceiling.
Unlike many of the examples below it is not in the way when it is not in use.
Battery and plug-in option for power
Very quick calibration and intuitive and use
Works if you pull your car in forward or back your car into the garage
Some reviews state the double-sided mounting tape failed in extreme heat. STKR has since added a hang hole so you can mount with a small nail or even a thumbtack!
Budget Parking Aid Option: Use a Tennis Ball
This is the classic, inexpensive DIY method you may have heard of before. Below I’ve listed the items you’ll need to acquire in order to do this:
Sharpie (to mark the location of your measurement)
(Your Time and Labor)
Next, we’ll go through the steps.
Attach Your Tennis Ball to the Cord
To do this, you’ll safely drill a small hole through one side of your tennis ball and out of the other. Next, run the cord all the way through the tennis ball. Once it comes out the other end, knot the cord a couple of times to ensure the tennis ball won’t fall off the cord.
Pull Into Your “Safe Spot”
Next, you’ll pull into your garage and park your car in the “safe spot” where you would like it to go.
Take Some Measurements
Measure from the back wall of your garage to the center of your front windshield and from the side of your garage to the same point on your front windshield.
After you’ve taken these measurements, use a sharpie to mark the point where these two measurements intersect on your roof. This is where the eye hook will go.
This can be difficult as your car will be in the way. Some try to simply place a ladder next to the car and lean over the car to try and locate the correct spot for the ball to hang. Be careful. Many have fallen onto their car. The end result for this cheap parking solution is injury and damage to your car!
Hang Up Your Cord
Next, drive your car out of the garage.
Put an eye hook into the ceiling in the location you marked. Hang your cord with the tennis ball from the hook. Make sure the cord is just long enough so that the tennis ball touches your front windshield.
Once your cord is in the right place and it is the right length, cut it and tie it off to the hook.
Try Out Your New Parking Aid
Now it’s time to try out your new parking aid!
Firstly, you’ll want to pull into your garage. Keep driving until the tennis ball rests on your front windshield. Then, voila! Now you’ll be able to perfectly park your car without hitting the back wall!
Make Your Tennis Ball Retractable
Now you have an effective way to stop your car, but you also have a tennis ball hanging from your ceiling. It is annoying and simply in the way of other garage activities when the car is not parked.
Some creative individuals have come up with a way to make your tennis ball retractable, so it will only hang down when you need it to.
If you’d like to learn how to do this, check out this informative video by Tanner Nilsen. He explains how to attach your cord to the garage door so that the tennis ball will go down every time you enter your garage but will retract up to the roof whenever your garage door is shut. Complicated but effective. However, the tennis ball is only out of the way if the garage door is closed. If you like to work in your garage with the garage door open, you will have a tennis ball hanging in your way. Check it out.
Garage Tennis Ball Parking - Pros and Cons
Difficult ceiling installation
Tennis ball is ALWAYS hanging in the way when the car is not parked
Only effective for one car. If you want to park a different car in the garage, or back the car in, the tennis ball will not be in the correct spot.
Other Parking Aid Options
The Parking Block
Parking blocks are another simple parking aid option.
A parking block is a raised plastic bar that you can put on the floor of your garage. This raised bump allows you to drive your vehicle up to it until your tires hit it. The driver should stop when the tires touch the block. This is exactly how a parking block works in a typical parking lot.
While these are effective for parking, they can be a tripping hazard, so make sure to watch where you are walking! Also, most need to be glued or stuck to the floor so your car doesn’t push it out of the way (or a kid moves it without telling you). A few reviewers have mentioned that the adhesive is very sticky so it is hard to get off the floor if you ever need to move or remove the parking block. Another drawback is that this parking aid relies on your ability to ‘feel’ the parking target through your vehicle rather than see it. That can make it very easy to overshoot and bump something.
To apply the parking target to your garage floor, simply pull your car into its safe spot and mark the floor where your front tire hits. Next, back out and install the parking block onto your garage floor. Often the target comes with a double-sided adhesive that you can fasten it with. Some require glue. Some even suggest you use concrete anchors and fasten it to the garage floor.
Garage Parking Block - Pros and Cons
Trip hazard in the garage at all times
Must be glued or otherwise attached to the garage floor
The Parking Mat
A parking mat very similar to the parking target. In fact, a parking mat looks like a flat rectangular device with what looks like a big parking target on one side and a smaller target on the opposite side. Like the target mentioned above, you have to use your sense of feel as you start pulling your car onto this device.
As you pull your car onto it you pass over the smaller bump which gives you some heads up that you are about to seat the tire in between the two bumps. This gives you a chance to slow down even more as you approach the final parking spot.
To use a parking mat, all you have to do is install the mat on your garage floor where you want your front tire to stop. Then when you hit the bump on the mat, you know that you’ve parked perfectly.
Most mats are tough and some are resistant to a variety of chemical solvents, so if anything spills onto it from your car or any other source, it will still be in great shape.
Some mat includes a reflective strip at the top, which is highly visible, so it will help you see the mat more easily while you are parking.
Garage Parking Mat - Pros and Cons
Mid price point
Trip hazard on the garage floor at all times.
Although you don’t have to glue it to the garage floor because the weight of the car on the mat prevents it from sliding, if you don’t, someone could move it without the driver knowing. This could result in hitting something if the parking mat is not in the correct location.
The Parking Stop Sign
Putting a stop sign into your garage is easy since it doesn’t require installation as it’s just a large stop sign on a tiny pole. However, this parking aid takes up floor space and has often been calledflimsy and unstable by reviewers.
However, there are some parking stop signs models that have a strong base, which helps keep it in place and makes it more stable than your typical parking stop sign.
Some stop signs include a light that will flash when you hit it to warn you that you must stop (as if the sign being pushed by your car wasn’t enough of a signal to stop your vehicle). When you see the stop sign move from your car hitting it, or the LED light up, stop. Although the flexible fiberglass pole may not dent your car through use, it will likely leave marks and blemishes in your paint after long term use.
This stop sign comes with a weighted base that keeps it from getting knocked over or carried away by the wind. It also comes with an adjustable body so you can change its height to make it the perfect size for your parking needs.
Garage Parking Stop Sign - Pros and Cons
Always on the garage floor and could be in the way when the car is not parked
Will likely damage the paint on your front bumper after long term use
The Parking Laser
Laser parking sensors are cool and effective but can bedangerous for your eyes. So, make sure you don’t stare into the light! This is especially concerning if you have children who may not know to look into the laser light.
Parking lasers are usually motion activated so the parking assistant turns on automatically when you drive into your garage. The motion-activation can detect movement up to 33 ft (10 m) away. After 30 seconds without motion, it will automatically shut off. They will turn on with the motion of a car, pet, or human. So, once again, just be cautious of the laser safety concerns.
Once activated, this parking aid produces lasers that you aim to hit a certain part of your hood or dashboard. Memorize the spot on your car and keep driving into the garage until the lasers hit the predetermined spot on your car. When the laser hits the correct location, you know that you are in your safe parking spot.
Parking Lasers can be used in one or two-car garages. A Dual Laser Parking Assistant is one option that can be installed on a garage ceiling that can help park two different cars.
You may be wondering, “what happens if there is a power outage?” Well, the laser can also be powered by a 9v battery, so if your power goes out, you’ll still be able to park safely!
To install the laser, you will need the necessary mounting hardware, a ladder, a drill, drill bits, screwdriver, tape measure, drywall anchors, and screws. Find a good location on the ceiling to mount the laser.
After it is mounted, you will need to park your car in the desired spot. You will then need to once again use your ladder to access the laser mounted on the ceiling. Now aim the laser at a spot you can see from the driver's seat, and memorize. This may take several trips up and down the ladder and in and out of the driver’s seat.
When you finally have the correct setup, put your ladder and tools away and test your accuracy. It may take a little practice to pull your car in the garage in the correct orientation (left or right) to align the laser dot with your memorized spot.
Garage Laser Parking Aids - Pros and Cons
Who doesn’t think lasers are cool?
Not safe to look directly into the laser. Could be a concern with children and pets.
Difficult ceiling installation and setup
It is only accurate for one vehicle. Won’t aid the driver if he or she is backing in.
May take practice pulling your car into the garage and align the laser dot with the memorized spot on your car.
What Else Can I Do to Avoid Hitting the Back Wall?
If you really want to avoid hitting your back wall, or other items that may be in your garage, there are some additional precautions you can take. Listed below are five supplementary things you can do (in addition to getting the STKR parking aid) that will help you avoid hitting the back wall of your garage.
Add Better Lighting
Havinggood lighting in your garage is an indirect way to help you avoid hitting the back wall. Often, garages are dimly lit, making it harder for you to see what you are doing.
Not only does STKR make a great parking aid, but STKR also offers amazing garage lighting products. They offer two products specifically meant for the garage, including the Multi-Point Illumination (MPI) System and the TRiLIGHT. Both of these products can be screwed into a light socket just like a standard light bulb so no need for extreme technical know-how.
Unlike traditional lights that only create one point of light, the MPI creates five!
It comes with one main light and four smaller hub lights. The five lights are very bright, collectively producing 7500 lumens. The lights are connected via cables that can spread up to 19 ft (5.8 m) apart, allowing you to have lighting in every part of your garage.
This system is very easy to install, so you won’t need to hire an electrician. All you have to do is screw the main light into an existing light bulb fixture and install the four hub lights using ceiling plates, which are included with your purchase.
This light system is activated via advanced motion-sensing technology. It is very adjustable, so the sensitivity can be turned down in smaller garages and up in larger garages. At its maximum, it is able to detect movements up to 20 ft (6.1 m) away! If you’d prefer, you also have the option to hook the system up to a traditional light switch instead.
A really awesome feature of the MPI is that it is compatible with a security camera. You can hook your security camera up to the MPI using a USB cable. If anyone is sneaking around, the MPI’s motion sensor will illuminate the garage, making it easy for your security camera to catch them on film without having to go into night mode.
The TRiLIGHT is an elegant and powerful LED light that will help you brighten up your garage. It produces 4000 lumens but only uses 24 watts, so it’ll provide you with bright light without skyrocketing your energy bill!
Like the MPI System, the Trilight is very easy to install. All you have to do is screw it into an existing light bulb fixture.
Also, like the MPI, the TRiLIGHT includes advanced motion-sensing technology, so it can detect even the smallest movements. You can adjust how sensitive it is using its motion sensitivity dial. After 90 seconds without detecting motion, the TRiLIGHT will turn off.
The TRiLIGHT includes three adjustable aluminum heads so you can direct the light where you need it the most. It has a beautiful design, so it will make a stylish addition to your garage. However, it’s beauty does not compromise its strength. It includes steel wiring that will keep it durable for the long haul.
Get Wall Bumpers
Having wall bumpers is a great way to safeguard your car and your walls. Wall bumpers are typically made from some type of soft plastic, gel or silicone that will absorb the shock of an accidental door tap.
This is ideal for the sides of the garage as they help protect the wall from getting hit by a car door. This will help you not have to fix the drywall later and help minimize door ding mishaps.
You simply attach the long rectangular wall bumpers to the garage wall at the height that is ideal for your specific car. Some vehicle doors have a curve to them so you will definitely want to put the car in place and with the door gently opened near the drywall you can make marks where to install the bumper. You don’t want to end up with it too high or too low because youthoughtthat’s where the door would hit.
While this may not help the back of your garage and isn’t really a parking aid, it does still add a small layer of protection to help prevent your car and garage from getting any dings, dents, or scratches.
Practice Makes Perfect
Sometimes you may be hitting the back wall of your garage simply because you haven’t practiced enough. If you’ve recently moved into a new home, it may take some time for you to get used to your garage’s layout. Or, maybe you’ve just gotten a new car that’s larger than your previous vehicle.
Either way, a combination of practice and a parking aid will have you parking flawlessly in no time!
Ask Someone for Help
It never hurts to ask someone for help when parking. You can ask a number of people to help you park in your garage, including a friend, spouse, neighbor, or even a random pedestrian (ok maybe not the last one).
While this method is helpful, someone won’t always be available to assist you, so this should be an additional method you use in conjunction with your primary parking aid.
Install Convex Mirrors
Often convex mirrors are used on the road to help drivers go safely around blind corners. But they can also be used to help you park safely in your garage.
If you choose to do this, simply pick up some convex mirrors from your local hardware store and then install them in your garage's blind spots. These are a great tool to be used in combination with another parking aid on the list.
In order to park in your garage without hitting the back wall, you should get a parking aid. Some of the best parking aids include:
Anything can happen at any moment in time. Being prepared can make a major difference in how safe you remain during an emergency. It’s recommended that everyone has an emergency kit ready so that they are prepared anytime that the unthinkable happens.