While preparing for a long trip, you may have already gathered items for an emergency kit in case something happens, such as jumper cables or a couple of gallons of water. However, you should seriously think about adding the following three things to your kit in case you break down in the middle of nowhere and need to temporarily fix your car.
Pair Of Size "A" Pantyhose
If your car's fan belt breaks, this can make your car overheat very quickly and seize up. Or, if the alternator belt breaks, your battery may die, leaving you unable to start your vehicle. In case this happens, have a pair of size "A" pantyhose available in your traveling kit. It can serve as a temporary belt to get your motor running and your car to the nearest service station.
To use the pantyhose as a fan belt, remove the old one, then twist the pantyhose to create a makeshift belt. Wrap the hose around the two pulleys, making sure it fits snugly inside the grooves. Pull the ends of the pantyhose together so that the hose is tight around the pulleys. You should only be able to depress them slightly when you push on the center with your finger.
Once you have the pantyhose tight enough, use the ends to tie a small knot. Then, start your car to see if the pulleys are pulling the homemade belt. If not, tighten the pantyhose a little more, then try again.
Container Of Black Pepper
If your engine starts to constantly overheat, check for signs that the radiator is leaking. If so, a container of black pepper can help temporarily plug the holes causing the leak if it is coming from the radiator itself. If you find leaks in the hoses, see the next section to patch those.
To plug your radiator, turn off your engine, and let it cool enough so that you can remove the radiator cap without burning yourself. If the water inside is too hot, the pressure inside the tank could cause water to splash up on you, potentially causing serious burns.
Once you are able to remove the cap, pour one or two tablespoons of the black pepper into the radiator's opening. Check the water level, and add water if it is too low. Then, replace the cap, and start your engine. Let it run for about five or 10 minutes to move the pepper around in the tank so it can settle in the holes.
If you have to use this trick, make sure you have your radiator flushed once you are at a safe location. While pepper does plug up the holes in the radiator, it could clog up the system over time if it is left in there for too long.
Roll Of Duct Tape
A roll of duct tape can be essential to sealing holes in your engine's hoses, such as a leaking radiator hose or fuel line. The intense heat of the motor does not deteriorate the tape and can actually make the adhesive stronger. However, over time, it can start to loosen around the edges, so it is meant only to cover the hose's holes until you can have them replaced.
To apply the duct tape, start wrapping it a couple of inches away from the center of the hole until you are a couple of inches past it. Depending on the size of the hole, wrap the hose two or three times, then firmly press down on it to adhere it to the hose and itself.
While these items may not permanently fix your car, they can at least get you off the side of the road and to a safe location where you can find someone to repair it. However, if you are unable to get your car moving or do not know what caused the breakdown, you may need to call an emergency roadside service to help you get moving again.