On a long enough timeline, every car needs repairs. Maybe minor, maybe major, but eventually something always goes wrong. We, as enthusiasts, always want to think we’re prepared for any eventuality — surely the solution lies somewhere in our garages full of spare parts and toolboxes.
But when your last 10mm socket goes missing, your niche part is out of stock, and you just need to get to work on Monday morning, sometimes desperation takes hold. You leave the world of the clean repair, and enter the murky swamp of zip ties, drywall screws, and speaker wire. When you just need your car to work, what’s the most hacked-together repair you’ve ever done?
My example was of the wiring variety, back when I first installed an upgraded radio in my FR-S. I had gotten one of those fancy Crutchfield kits, with a pre-made wiring harness and a magic ECU-interpreting box that was meant to perfectly interface with the car. Except, for basic functionality, it didn’t — no matter what I did, how many replacement units I swapped in, the backup camera never triggered in reverse.
After days of back-and-forth with multiple companies, it turned out that the magic box simply ran out of magic. It apparently only read gear information from the automatic transmission, meaning my stick-shift couldn’t tell the radio when I was backing up. The solution was simple: bypass the magic box entirely, cut Crutchfield’s fancy harness, and do my own reverse wiring.
But, because I spent $3 on a spool of speaker wire at Radio Shack years ago and am determined to get my money’s worth out of it, I did not properly tap a line for a reverse feed. Instead, I ran a length of stranded wire behind my dash, jammed the end of it into the body connector that served my reverse light, and called it a day. That connection, held in by nothing but sheer luck, lasted years.
That’s my hacked-together car repair, but what’s yours? Leave your best stories in the comments, and we’ll collect our favorites tomorrow.