What’s The Most Desperate Fix You’ve Ever Performed?

Say you’re driving around on a backroad somewhere and suddenly something in your car breaks. A check engine light comes on. You pull over. You don’t have a toolkit with you. There’s no cell service. Or it was that scary time before cell phones. What then?


“I just need to be able to limp it to an actual shop,” you think. And then you get creative.

A stick broken off from a tree could work. Or you fill your sock with leaves and stuff it somewhere to hold things together. Chewing gum from your own mouth is suddenly electrical tape. Surely the Reese’s Fast Break wrapper you used to plug a hole in the radiator hose won’t catch fire... in the three miles that you need to drive to find an actual solution.

What’s the most desperate fix you’ve ever performed on your car to get it to the closest shop or garage?

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Wonderfully Disastrous

Wife and I were hauling a queen sized bed set on the roof of our Oldsmobile right after we moved to PA. It was night, we had the hazards going, both our phones plugged in, and radio on. Electrical system couldn’t handle it and fried the pigtail off the positive battery terminal. We ended up stuck in the middle of the lane in a rough section of Harrisburg with no shoulder to move it to. My tools were still packed up at the new house (had packed away the usual assortment I kept in the car to make room for luggage) so I had nothing in the way of emergency supplies.

I managed to find a short length of wire buried somewhere in the trunk, which is what I needed to fix the issue, at least temporarily, but no wire cutters or pocket knife. Ended up using my teeth to strip the ends, a broken pick of glass bottle to strip the ends of the pigtail wire, got it all together and realized I now had a big problem... There was no way to prevent them from grounding out and shorting.

Then I remembered that my eyeglasses at the time had lost their earpad pieces and so I just wrapped the wire frames with electrical tape. Sacrificed my eyeglasses, had the wife drive it the rest of the way home, and then came to terms with the fact that I fixed my Olds in the middle of the road with my teeth, a broken bottle, and a pair of eyeglasses.