Some Roadside Repair Assistance Tips to Keep You Moving
You’re fully prepared if your car breaks down on the side of the road. You have your smartphone and trusty driving apps. But before you make that call for roadside assistance, you can drive your car to safety with the following basic tools and ingenuity.
1. Basic Tools & Supplies
DIY roadside repair is easier with the right basic tools and supplies. Start with a compact tool kit that includes a:
- Pair of small locking pliers
- Length of soft wire
- Flat roll of duct tape
Add wire snips, tie wraps and a good multi-tool gizmo (like a Leatherman) with a sharp knife. Then get Rescue Tape or any sort of self-fusing silicone repair tape that’s versatile and easy-to-use. Don’t forget to toss in a roll of electrical tape, rag and an LED flashlight.
A compact tool kit like one from CruzTools is designed for motorcyclists, so its small case fits into your glove box or under a seat. It comes already packed with a handy set of tools.
2. Broken Car Window
Cover a broken window with duct tape and a plastic trash bag. Three-millimeter contractor-type trash bags are much stronger than the typical ones. Just cut the bag to fit the window frame and secure the top edge with tape. Put a length of tape on the bottom edge, pulling it taut before sealing, and then tape down the sides.
3. Blown Radiator Hose
First check where the radiator hose has blown. If it’s toward the end of its length, you may be able to unclamp it, cut the bad portion off and reattach the hose. You can wrap it with self-fusing silicone tape, but let everything cool down. Wipe the hose so the tape sticks better, and top off the radiator with a 50-50 mix antifreeze and water (or just water in a pinch).
4. Dragging Exhaust
Let the exhaust cool down before you start. The rubber hangers holding the exhaust are likely the problem. Replace them with wire or a coat hanger. You don’t want the wire touching moving parts or attached to brake lines or electrical wiring.
5. Blown Heater Hose
If the heater hose blew out near the end, try cutting it off and reattaching it. If that doesn’t work, just cut the hose at the firewall. You can also cut the hose if you’re without silicon tape or Rescue Tape or the fitting has failed. Bend it in the middle like you are kinking a garden hose, and tie it off with wraps. Once you’ve done this to both hoses, the coolant should stay in the engine. Top off the radiator as soon as you can.
6. Stuck Lug Nuts
If your lug nuts are stuck due to corrosion or being torqued too tightly, put the lug wrench on the stuck nut. Position it parallel to the ground and sticking out to your left. Now stand on it. Your weight should break the nut free.
If you enjoyed reading this, you may want to check out our Ultimate Road Trip Survival Guide for some road trip tips.
Do you have additional roadside repair assistance tips to add? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!