Tag Archives: roadside emergency kit

duct tape rear view mirror

12 Reasons to ALWAYS Keep a Roll of Duct Tape in Your Car

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.” In 1975 the infamous Apollo 13 mission was in trouble. After an an oxygen tank exploded, the crew was forced to abort their planned moon landing, and return to Earth. The problem was that they only had enough oxygen for two days, and the trip would take four.

So, how did the crew fix the problem, and make it back to Earth alive? You could say they owe their lives to duct tape, which was used to fix the air filtration system.

Duct tape is incredibly strong, waterproof, and easy to tear. These qualities give it limitless potential uses, and it can really save you in a pinch. If duct tape is important enough to be carried on every space mission since the early 1960’s, I definitely think you should keep a roll in your car!

Here are some Apollo 13-like hacks for using duct tape to fix your car:

bumper fix duct tape

Fix bodywork after an accident

It’s your worst nightmare scenario, you’re at a stop sign and someone rolls right into the back of you. Your rear bumper is cracked and partially hanging off its mounts.

You can’t drive your car with the bumper dragging on the road. Do you rip it off and create even more damage just to get home, or do you whack out the duct tape and put a couple of strips over the flailing bumper?

A few feet of duct tape will hold your bumper on long enough to get your car home, or to the nearest service station.


Patch up your exhaust:

If you have an older car, this is bound to have happened to you at some point in your life.
You’re driving along when suddenly there’s a loud clang and sparks start flying from the back of your car.

Pulling over to see what the hell has happened, you realise that an exhaust mount has snapped. Thankfully, you carry a roll of duct tape with you! So, you can easily secure it, allowing you to make it to the garage so they can fix it properly.


Stop a coolant leak:

car hose fix duct tape

Your top hose splits in your engine bay, coolant is shooting out all over the place and you grind to a halt in a glorious puff of steam.

Have no  fear, you have your trust duct tape with you. Patching it up with a few wraps, you’re good to limp home. You could also do the same if your washer jets have a snagged and damaged hose.


8 More Reasons to Carry Duct Tape In Your Car

That’s just three big reasons we can think of, but there’s countless more potential duct tape hacks for your car. Imagine that…

  • Someone hits breaks off your rearview mirror in a parking lot? Duct tape it back on
  • Your window mechanism fails and you can’t keep the glass fully up? Use duct tape
  • There’s a big rip in the vinyl or cloth upholstery of your seat? Duct tape it
  • Your hood or trunk latch stops working while you’re out and about? Try duct tape
  • There’s a crack in your bumper that makes a whistling noise when you drive? Use duct tape
  • Some interior trim comes loose in your car? Duct tape it.
  • Someone backs into your bumper or headlight, and it’s hanging awkwardly? Duct tape it
  • You’re hauling kayaks to the lake and notice one of them has a small crack or is missing a drain plug? Duct tape it
  • Your kids won’t stop screaming in the backseat, and you just want their mouths to stay shut? DON’T use duct tape! 

You name it, duct tape can usually fix it.


Duct Tape Can Save Your Own Earthly “Apollo” Mission:

car use duct tape

Car issues can quickly become serious, especially if you can’t get cell reception, or if your phone dies.

Even if you aren’t mechanically minded you can still patch up and limp home, or it will hold until you can find someone else to help if you’re in the wilds.


Demonstration of the Uses for Duct Tape on an Old Car: (video)

There’s also specialist types of duct tape too. Even though the normal stuff will see you through most eventualities, you may want to think about buying some aluminum duct tape for high heat scenarios.

Also, Foil duct tape will patch up cracks in your exhaust and last far longer than the ordinary webbed tape.

So there you have it, a bunch of damn good reasons why you should put a small roll of ultra-sticky, (possibly lifesaving) duct tape in your glovebox.

You know it makes sense.

Related:

emergency prepare kit car noah

Make a DIY Roadside Car Emergency Kit: Prep Like a Suburban Noah

jumper cables carIt wasn’t Raining when Noah Built the Ark: Out here in Pennsylvania we’ve been blessed with some great weather lately; so nice that it made me forget how awful last winter was. (Can you say, “polar vortex”?) However, check out this recent headline:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. The extreme weather will continue into the Summer.”

try imagining a few scenarios that you might face unexpectedly in your car, like being stranded roadside, or stuck in gridlock traffic in various weather. If it happened tomorrow, would you be prepared?

While Noah had a pretty big task set before him, the good news is that yours will be simple. (And no animals needed!) While this list may be altered due to the season, your geographic location, or whether you travel with kids or others, here is a basic list of what you should have for an emergency kit for your car:

noah ark prep car

other drives won’t be so lucky

  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Jumper cables and/or a charged jump starter
  • Extra fuses (often fix electrical problems)
  • wool blanket
  • first aid kit
  • Road flares
  • rain poncho / umbrella
  • auto fire extinguisher
  • Ice scraper (seasonal)
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks (like granola or energy bars)
  • Paper and pen (to make a sign, or write down information)

Many of the items above will fit into a backpack or plastic storage bin, and not take up too much room in your car. You can certainly add to this list, and the emergency lists can get pretty long and intimidating. You can grab most of these items at your local Advance Auto Parts (click for coupons) Walmart, or AutoZone. Personally, I think some of the recommendations from Consumer Reports and Edmunds can get a little intense; like quarts of motor oil, antifreeze, tire chains, etc.

*Tip: Know how to jump start a car!

A better alternative might be to join AAA for 24 hour roadside assistance for auto / mechanical problems. Unless you have an inner-MacGyver, you might just want to get towed to the nearest service station.

car emergency kit winter

Shoes: If you do a lot of driving in heels or fancy dress shoes, also consider having some backup shoes or rain boots in case you need to do any walking in bad weather. (*see mightyshoes.com for great footwear coupons)

Kitty litter: I thought you said, “no animals?!” True, but you can pour kitty litter under your tires if you are stuck in icy weather for traction. It’s a nice winter addition to the list, and more practical than tire chains.

Also, please consider these tips:

  • Don’t drive your car on “empty” – Keep at least a quarter tank of gas in your car
  • Check your car battery – Have your battery checked free at Advance Auto Parts to see if you need a new one
  • Keep up with oil changes (at least every 5000 miles or so)
  • Check your tires – Have them rotated when you get your oil changed, and check your tire pressure
  • Consider joining AAA, or have a premium roadside assistance program in place. It costs a lot to call them and join when you are stranded!
  • Keep your cell phone charged, and have a car charger
  • Know how to jump start your car
  • Keep an emergency $20 bill in your glove compartment – Lots of reasons that might make sense. And if the power is out, you might need it!

While driving in remote, rural areas or extreme conditions may present more potential for emergencies, the list above will greatly prepare most suburban drivers and commuters for the most common suburban emergencies. The good thing is that you can always find coupons for at least 20% off your order at Advance Auto Parts, and you can even pick them up for free in 30 minutes from your nearest store.

Think you have nothing to worry about? Remember the Chinese proverb, “when men speak of the future, the gods laugh.” Hey, if Noah can build an ark bigger than a football field at age 600 to prep, you can do this! Not only did I make a car emergency kit, I got a backup generator installed in my house as well! (I’ve already been through a 3-day power outage with three kids once)

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