The Ten Greatest Roadside Repair Stories We've Ever Heard

It's amazing what you can do with duct tape, zip ties, shoe laces, pantyhose, logs, coke bottles, and a bit of Macgyver spirit when it comes to fixing your car.

10.) Redneck Rain-X


What do you do when you can't find and/or afford Rain-X? Make some redneck Rain-X, as reader True can tell you:

"What's 'Redneck Rain-X' you ask? Well, you stop at a gas station and purchase a bag of Red Man tobacco. Transfer the contents to a knotted rag or sock. Dunk it in water and wring it as dry as you can then wipe vigorously on the window. Don't know why, but it works well enough to get by for a while if the wiper motor craps out or you shred a blade.

When I went to Aviation school in NC I had to drive across country in my Mazda pickup. In the middle of the night, somewhere east of Memphis my drivers side wiper blade shredded. I went to three different gas stations and none had blades that would fit. At the third one the guy at the station showed me the trick.

Got me to Nashville and I bought new blades in the morning."

Suggested By: True, Photo Credit: osseous

9.) Clamped A Leaf Spring With Vise Grips

Vise Grips are already on our list of essential tools every car owner should have, and this story reaffirms why:

"My grandfather had a rule, never go anywhere without 4 pairs of Vise Grips, He once broke a leaf spring, clamped it together with vice grips and drove home 200 miles."


There's pretty much nothing they can't do.

Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaguar, Photo Credit: Irwin

8.) Pantyhose Alternator Belt


I've heard of lots of different found objects used to fix cars before, but never pantyhose. It worked for vondon302:

"We were leaving a concert in Detroit. Pulling out of the parking garage my buddy's alternator belt let go. We pull over untangle it from the fan and go wtf. It's midnight in Detroit and we got a 2 and half hour drive.

That pos battery in my buddies '77 Cutlass ain't gonna get us home. Girls are freaking out by now, and my buddy just wanted to go. No jumper cables in trunk but I did find a small tool box. Told my date I needed her panty hose if she wanted to get home. I got a weird look but she was game. Tied the panty hose together to use as the belt took a few tries but it worked like charm. One of my better moments."


Suggested By: vondon302, Photo Credit: Andy Arthur

7.) Coke Bottle Holding Carburetor To Manifold


When you drive an MG, you learn how to improvise like ringrat did:

"Single Zenith carb on my MGB. The nuts somehow backed off leaving it falling off the manifold. Nuts somewhere on I90 behind me. Took an empty Coke bottle and wedged it in such a way that it held the carb to the manifold well enough to get home..

Oh, and I also filled the empty coke bottle with pee so it wouldnt melt as I drove, which it surely would have being a couple inches away from the exhaust.

This all also took place in the single lane tunnel of I90 heading to the floating bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island which made the task all the more harrowing, as its somewhat tight quarters to be under the hood of a car and pissing in bottles."


Ah, the joys of British sports car ownership.

Suggested By: ringrat, Photo Credit: Paul Townsend

6.) Rerouted Windshield Washer Fluid Bottle To Transmission


This story shared by Green Pig actually comes from a Car & Driver story about One Lap Of America, but it's too great not to include here:

"One of the teams transmissions developed a leak. Obviously rebuilding the transmission in the middle of a 3000 mile race was not an option, so the team emptied the windshield washer bottle, refilled it with transmission fluid, and re-routed the hose leading to the washer heads down the transmission dipstick tube. Whenever the transmission started whining, the driver would simply press the washer button to add fluid to the transmission.

The team eventually had to drop out because of transmission issues, but if I recall correctly they were able to go a few hundred mile more with their makeshift repair."


Suggested By: Green Pig, Photo Credit: Matt Smith

5.) Clutch Cable End Clip Fixed With Carpet, Zip Ties, Pennies


Reader oldskoolveedub always keeps a razor blade in his car. Here's why:

"I was 17 years old and had my car and license for maybe 3 months when the clutch cable end clip broke on my 85 GTI. I managed to cut some pieces of the carpet out with a rusty razor blade that I found on the radiator support, and then fashioned them into a passable rubber bushing, then used zip ties and pennies to hold it all together.

I was able to drive home and to work for the next few days until I could get the parts I needed."


Suggested By: oldskoolveedub, Photo Credit: nzhamstar

4.) Sheared Axle Fixed With Aluminum Tube, Duct Tape


What do you do when you shear the axle off of your daily driver, and you're still waiting on the part to properly fix? Do what Stang70Fastback did:

"A few years ago when I didn't have the monies, I drove a '98 Subaru Outback with 260k miles. The front axles had been replaced once before back when my parents had owned it.

So one day I was driving along, and I went to floor it from a stop, but instead of the car accelerating, there was a brief lurch, then a loud bang, and then the engine revved up and I heard a loud clanging. Uh oh.

Turns out, one of the front axles had simply sheared in half. It turned out the cheap aftermarket axle they had installed was very thin, and apparently couldn't take the massive Torque of my 165 HP engine.

Anyway, I obviously did the repair myself, but at the time I didn't have a remanufactuered axle on hand. So I ordered one which took a few days to ship. However, I still needed to get the couple miles back and forth to work for that week, so my solution was a piece of aluminum tubing and, what else, duct tape!

The goal here wasn't to transfer power, but just to keep the two ends from whipping around wildly and damaging anything else, and to keep the outer half from falling out. It worked, more or less. You'd go to accelerate and the engine would initially rev up until the car realized one of the front wheels was "slipping" and then the center clutch pack would lock up and the car would lurch forward as the engine hooked up again and you'd be on your merry way. I drove it like this for a week"


Suggested By: Stang70Fastback, Photo Credit: Stang70Fastback

3.) Tree Trunk Leaf Spring


This story from BigHarv's father in law is straight out of the Bush Mechanic playbook:

"My father in law and his buddies are on their way to the 'camp' to go moose hunting when, 30 minutes in, one of the trucks snaps a leaf spring. My FIL grabs a hacksaw and heads into the woods, coming back with a small, evenly trimmed tree trunk. He proceeds to remove the old leaf spring, either drills or nails a bolt through either end to hold the trunk in place, and the truck is ready to go. One friend immediately starts preparing to head home, not seeing how this can be trusted, only to see my FIL hop into the truck and keep driving it into the woods, on logging roads.

Apparently the wooden spring was used for 2 months before it snapped and was replaced properly."


Suggested By: BigHarv, Photo Credit: Taylor Stakes

2.) Fixing A Hydrolocked Engine In The Woods


What happens when you're out in the woods where you can't get a tow, and your engine hydrolocks? You can either cry, or do what ImmortalSix did:

"I took my Jeep XJ swimming, and hydrolocked the engine. It went in water over the hood.

After a tug out of the hole, I pulled the spark plugs, cranked the swampwater out of the cylinders, but there was still too much water in the cylinders for it to start.

I yanked the windshield washer fluid hose from it's little clips along the hood, and sucked each cylinder dry. With my mouth.

Plugs in, crank crank crank, drove it home!

Full disclosure: it threw a rod exactly one week later"

Suggested By: ImmortalSix, Photo Credit: Powhusku

1.) Hand Operated Throttle Cable


This fix from Oran J Sands III is dangerous, and amazing:

"I was hooning my rally car thru the Hoosier National Forest (about 2 hours from home) when I snapped the cable. Having lots of extra wiring for the lights I simply ripped out several feet and tied it to the carb then ran it outside the engine bay, pulled it around the hood pins and back into the driver's window.

At that point I drove home using my left hand for the gas and my right hand for everything else. After a bit of practice I was able to double-clutch and blip the throttle as well. Fortunately 1 hour of the drive was Interstate so I was able to put it cruise (rolled the window up on the wire to hold it in place.)"


Suggested By: Oran J Sands III, Photo Credit: Oran J Sands III

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Top Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

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