Hang a tennis ball as a car stop

When I was little a friend's dad used the method of hanging a tennis ball from the ceiling of his garage so he would know when to stop his car.

I never had a garage before, so I never had to think of using this trick. For big garages this is obviously not a problem, but I've got 3 big cars and a 3-car garage which is plenty wide, but the depth is pretty tight. Every time I drive in and use various landmarks to make sure I'm in far enough, I think that I should find some better method. We're pretty good at it, but sometimes there's not enough room behind the cars, or the cars are too close to get into the stuff in front of them.

I tried using one of those tire stop parking mats, but the problem is that the mat keeps moving, and I can't attach it well enough to keep it in place.

Today I decided to tackle the tennis ball method. I searched the web for ways to attach a tennis ball from the ceiling. It's not something I couldn't figure out for myself, but I figured if someone else had a good method, I may as well read it first. All of the methods I found gave very basic instructions about hanging the ball from the ceiling at the right length to just touch the windshield.

But how do you actually do that? When the car is in the garage, you can't lean far enough over the car to reach the ceiling. It's tough to hold the string in place, move the car out, then cut and tie the string to hold it in place. If the string slips even a little, you have to start over.

So here's how I finally realized I should have done it, after doing it the wrong way for all 3 cars.

Step 1: Buy new tennis balls. You're going to be looking at these for a while, they may as well be new.

Step 2: Buy some eyelet screws and screw them into the tennis balls. Other people give other methods, of forcing a wire hanger through the tennis ball, attach a string, then pulling the string through back through the ball...don't bother. Just buy some eyelet screws that are big enough that you can get a grip on them, and screw them into the tennis ball. Give it a hard push while turning, if it doesn't go. It just has to get some purchase, then you can screw it in.

Step 3: Get your car out of the garage.

Step 4: Hang some string from the ceiling, about over the driver's side of the windshield. If you have it over the passenger side, it's too hard for the driver to see and if you have it over the middle, the rearview mirror might hide it. Make sure that when the car is stopped, the string position is over the middle or upper part of the windshield, or it can get stopped first on the windshield wipers. The point is to get the position right, and don't bother with the length right now. Make it longer than it has to be - let it touch the ground if you want.

I won't get into how you hang the string. It depends on your garage. Mine has rafters to hang it from, and I nailed in a two-prong tack to tack down the string. Just do whatever it takes to keep it up there.

Step 5: Pull your car in to the correct spot.

Step 6: This is the key step. Adjust the height of the ball at the ball itself. Pull the end of the string through the eyelet and double the string onto itself until the ball is just at the right height. You can then tie the string to itself, or else just staple the string to itself. Put some kind of clip on it - it doesn't matter. Whatever method you use, the tennis ball will now be hanging in a loop at the end of the string.

This means you don't have to move the car back and forth while you try to adjust the string at the ceiling. You can adjust the height of the ball while you are standing on the ground. And if you get a different car, you can just adjust the string at the ball end to make it work for your new car. No more ladder necessary.

I wish I had thought of this at tennis ball #1 rather than after tennis ball #3.

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