You know I had that too, but in that particular case, a hammer
wouldn't be enough. I had the tow truck driver, who was called before
I got there, pull out the fender. I had let him tow me, so he did
it for free. It was rubbing the fender so I assumed it had to be
towed. I was only 23. Maybe if I had been older or had more time, I
would have figured it out sooner.
Beyond changing flat tires, taping up a hose and an emergency battery
booster, I am not sure how much you are fixing on the side of the road
AAA card and a cell phone may be the best tool kit.
My brother or someone gave me a 'car emergency took kit' and it
included a claw hammer! Now I'm hoping some friend will buy a new car
so I can give him the kit.
I wouldn't carry a tire pump unless I knew I already had a leak. A
can of Fix-a-flat works just as well, and is quicker, and can keep for
ten years or more. (Although I know that some people don't like it
when they find fix-a-flat in the tire.) When I lived somewhere with
a lot of glass on the street and a lot of flats, I carried three cans.
One can was not enough because the moment I used one, I didn't have
any, so I needed two. Two cans were not enough because the moment I
used one, I only had one, and I just showed that one can was not
enough. I was afraid with the logic I was using, 200 cans wouldn't be
enough. But three cans seemed to be enough.
I always carry jumper cables, for the last 40 years. I've used them
too many times. Once a pretty girl stopped to give me a jump. Most
of them are either too scared or too removed from the world.
Cheap cables will work fine if you can get the person to sit there
while you charge your battery. Even a bad battery will hold enough to
start the car once. I guess charging doesn't take so long now that
engines are smaller.
Also, put a set of those red and green felt washers on your battery
posts so that the connections don't get dirty. They are really
great, and only cost about a dollar. If you do have white stuff on
the battery, pour baking soda on it, and slowly add warm water, until
it stops bubbling. They say to make a mixture, which is probably
better, but my way is easier.
Yeah, but you can go buy parts, Buying tools each time the car breaks
is harder and expensive. I usually fix my car whereever it breaks.
I've replaced the water pump (socket wrenches), the fuel pump (socket
wrenches), the regulator (when cars had ones that failed, screwdriver.
I should carry a small multimeter, but I usually don't for some
strange reason.), patched the fuel tank after driving over a chrome
strip (no tools required. The leaking gas had washed the dirt from
most of where the patch went. A rag or paper towels enabled cleaning
Once the car stalled as I turned the corner. I coasted to the side,
opened the hood and the distributor (screwdriver. I have both a
philips and flat, one small and one large. I carry smaller and larger
too but mostly because I have extra.) and saw the metal part had
broken off the rotor. I was tying up a lane of traffic so I ran
across the street to a gas station, bought a rotor at a high gas
station price, and had the car running in iirc under ten minutes
total. Now I carry the previous rotor, in case the current one
breaks. I also carry a few spark plug wires, the previous coil, and
if my trunk were bigger the previous distributor cap. (Usually a coil
fails because it absorbs water. I make an effort to let the old coil
dry and then wrap it Glad Wrap or the other brand.
Another time an ammeter I had installed gave problems. I ddidn't have
enough coolant and some pipe got too hot, weakening the electrical
tape that held the ammeter wires in place and one hit something hot,
melted the insulation, shorted the wire, smoke came out of the ammeter
and the car stopped. It was raining, so I put out a reflective
triangle (put some sort of warning device in your kit) and crawled
under the car to find the two wires from the ammeter, cut them (wire
cutters, that is, side cutters, electrical tape), and join them
together, bypassing the ammeter. While I was doing this a guy pulled
up behind, put his flashers on and offered me tools if I didn't have
the right one.
Four or 5 years later, and eight miles away, the same or a different
car wouldn't run and I pulled to the side, and a guy parked in the
lane, put his flashers on, and helped me push the car into a store's
parking lot. Same guy. This time I needed a distributor, because the
shaft bearing was worn and the point gap couldn't be adjusted, since
the cam moved sideways as well as in circles. (socket wrench,
distributor would have been good, but I just used the sockets, and
screrw driver to remove and reattach the distributor cap,which didn't
have to be replaced. The parts store was only a block away, so I
replaced the distributor in the store or restaurant's parking lot.
I've only been towed twice in 40 years, because I fix the car where it
Vice grip brand vice grips are fantastic. I think the curved jaws are
much more useful than flat.
Rubber mallet to put on wheel covers, although the last two cars
haven't had any.
This car came with a scissors jack, but I still carry the jack handle
from a GM bumper jack. Good for prying, including removing wheel
covers. Easier to stand on if the lug nut won't come off. (Once I
had to break 4 of my 5 studs to change a flat tire. Only one nut
X shaped lug wrench, because my brother gave me one, and it is easier,
and I can help someone change a tire who has no wrench, though that
has never happened.
On Thu, 07 Dec 2006 18:25:47 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
I can think of one time; when I would have given the gun to the help
and say, "car-jack me". An emergency kit would've cost to much. Even
towing would have been prohibitive. <G>
"Well, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, it happens
I only (almost) needed it once. I had my son and two of his friends in the
car, and night, and it was snowing heavily. We spotted a car in a ditch, and
the driver was standing on the side of the road. I locked the doors, pulled
over and opened the driver's side window to ask if he'd called for help. He
said he had no cell phone, but assumed another passerby had dialed 911. I
knew the sheriff's station was 10 minutes away. The guy looked healthy, so I
didn't think he was in any imminent danger. I told him I'd dial 911 right
away, and told him to get back in his car, because I could see that his
doors were still accessible. He didn't agree. He wanted to get in. I told
him that wasn't going to happen with kids in the car, but that I'd be glad
to give him a blanket to help keep warm until the cops arrived. He raised
his voice and it became clear (by smell) that he'd been in cocktail mode
before parking in the ditch. He actually reached through window and started
feeling around for the handle. Out came the gun, I explained the future to
him, and he got very quiet and got back in his car.
On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 13:50:50 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
sign on it that says OUT OF SERVICe, and someone wanted to get in. In
one case I remember yelling No, no through the winter-closed windows,
and probably in the other case too. When they reached for the door
handel and their hands got near, as best I could see, I just drove
away. If they had hold of the handle by then, I hope they let go.
Let me check.... Nope, they're not here so they must have let go.
On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 19:36:13 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
This was Chicago in 1969. And I worked nights. But the only trouble I
had were three customers who didn't pay. Interestingly, one was
Latino, one was black, and one was white. A balanced ticket.
No one had a partition between the driver and the back seat in those
One was female, one male, and one I don't remember.
Oh, yeah, and there was another white woman, in her 30's it seemed,
attractive, who was the only one who rushed me, and I shouldn't have
let her get to me, but I hurried, and when the car in front of me
started to turn left into a driveway, I pulled to the right to go
around him. Then he stopped short and I tapped his bumper. The first
thing I did was turn around and look at the passenger. She was just
where she was the previous time I looked.
I didnt' have a radio but someone called the cab company (maybe the
police, if the police came, and they probably did since it was
Michigan Avenue a half block north of the Chicago River. I didnt' get
a ticket though, nor did the other driver.).
The cab company immediately paid off the owner of the car and the
passenger. Not much because they both knew they weren't injured. I
know they say not to sign a release right away because one doesn't
know if he is injured or not, but that's when there is at least a
little bit of force to the impact. I wouldn't have known I hit the
guy if I hadn't heard the noise -- my body didn't even lurch forward
-- so I'm sure they were fine. I think the driver got 150 and the
passenger 50 or 100, in 1969. The extra 50 was the cost to fix the
car, a fair amount in those days.
The passenger was in a hurry and right away got another cab, but about
a year later, she sued me for $100,000. And the cab company. And
she already had medical bills for $50,000, the lawyer told me. I was
glad I had taken a job with Yellow and not with the unknown cab
company which didn't provide insurance if I got sued. They said, Yes,
but if we sue someone, you will share in the money we get. :-) (At
the time Chicago had 2000 Yellow cabs, 1000 Checker cabs, and I don't
know how many others. Later Yellow and Checker merged.)
Anyhow, my employer's insurance company's lawyer's private detective
found out that she had fallen down the steps in Texas in the past year
(I guess he checked out the medical bills) so it's likely that the cab
company won the case, but I still feel bad for having that accident,
which probably cost them more money than I took in in fares the whole
I worked about 30 hours a week for about a year, nights.
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