After a disaster, or in the middle of nowhere, it may fall on you to patch up your own damaged vehicle. In addition to some hand tools and basic survival supplies, you should carry in your vehicle some specialized tools and materials to be more self-reliant and able get the job done. This is where a little forethought and planning can make all the difference. Consider learning the following tricks and carrying these items for emergency roadside repairs that will keep your vehicle running, no matter what.
Plug Set and Portable Air Compressor
Plug your own tires with a tire plug set and portable air compressor. These two items can repair gaping holes in tires, or the compressor can merely provide a little inflation when necessary.
Gas Tank Patch
It’s surprisingly easy to patch a hole in the gas tank with a super-sticky gas tank patch. Purchase these at auto parts stores, and keep them on hand in the vehicle.
Easy-to-use jumper cables can bring a car back to life if it’s suffering from a dead battery. Don’t forget that you can “push start” a manual transmission vehicle by getting it rolling and popping the clutch.
Automotive Duct Tape
This adhesive product can mend leaking hoses, insulate bare wires, and perform a host of other auto repair tasks. It’s also a survivalist’s best friend, with plenty of non-automotive uses as well.
Sometimes, the only thing wrong with a vehicle is an empty tank. Do what you must in an emergency, and siphon from any available source.
And don’t hesitate to be creative. A friend who owns an automotive repair shop in North Carolina told me of a roadside fix he once performed for a stranger to get him out of a remote mountain area and back to civilization. The man had a leak in his engine coolant system. His radiator was dry and the vehicle was overheated. Neither driver had any water, or anything to carry water up the mountain from a stream far below. And while it’s not advisable to run your vehicle’s engine on any fluid other than a water/coolant mix, my friend was forced to improvise. He disconnected the washer fluid line and placed it into the radiator reservoir. Hitting the button to wash the windshield pumped the alcohol-and-water mix into the thirsty coolant reservoir, and got the driver back on the road–with the recommendation of a good place to get a professional patch job and a flush-and-fill of on his coolant system.
Tell us in the comments what you carry to perform your own repairs and keep your vehicle running.