Emergency Roadside Repairs You Should Learn

Breaking down by the side of the road or in a parking lot can be a long and incredibly stressful experience. But, you may be surprised to learn that with a simple tool kit and a little knowledge you can handle quite a few emergency car repairs yourself — without having to call and wait for a tow truck.

Be aware that these are temporary fixes and you’ll still need to have a mechanic repair the problem permanently. However, these quick car fixes are often enough to get you on your way.

Your emergency tool kit

Keep a set of basic tools along with a few handy odds and ends in your vehicle for roadside repairs. These tools should include:

  • An adjustable wrench
  • A torque wrench
  • Socket and ratchet set
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips and flat head)
  • Pliers
  • Car jack (usually comes with the car)
  • Duct tape and Rescue Tape
  • Wire coat hanger and plastic zip ties
  • Garbage bags

Securing a broken window

With the obvious exception of your windshield you can secure a broken window using garbage bags and duct tape until you’re able to get it fixed. If possible, use a thicker contractor bag.

For this fix, cut the bag to fit the window, and then tape in place, starting with the top edge. Once the top is secure, place a strip of tape across the bottom edge and pull the bag down as tightly as possible before securing the tape. Finally, tape the sides.

Repairing a blown radiator hose

Radiator hoses may blow with age or overheating. If your hose has blown toward the end, you may be able to open the clamp, cut the damaged portion of the hose and re-secure with the clamp. Hose clamps are straightforward — simply turn the screw counterclockwise to open and clockwise to close and tighten.

If the damage occurs too far from the end of the hose to re-clamp, create a patch by wrapping the hose with Rescue Tape, a self-fusing silicon wrap that can withstand high pressures and temperatures. Remember to wait until your car is completely cooled before working with the radiator.

Securing a dragging exhaust

The clamps and rubber hangers that hold your exhaust system in place beneath your car can become worn over time and may break, which results in your muffler or pipes dragging on the ground. This not only causes sparks, but also risks having your exhaust system torn out — along with other, more expensive parts.

For a temporary fix, use an unwound wire hanger or a piece of stout wire to hold your exhaust system in place. Be sure to wait until the vehicle is cooled down before you begin. Place the wire beneath the heaviest hanging part — often the muffler — and twist either end around the vehicle frame or other non-moving parts of the undercarriage.

Here at Westway Auto Body, we wish you safe driving on all of your travels!