Do you have a pair of old pantyhose in your glove box? You should. Old pantyhose can come in handy during a roadside emergency. What about a roll of duct tape? NASCAR counts on it, so can you. Keep a few items on-hand for unexpected DIY roadside repairs — it can keep you and your car from being stranded.
Broken Alternator Belt
Typically, the only warning sign that your car has a broken belt is a dash light appearing as your car slowly comes to a stop. If the alternator belt breaks, you’re running on stored battery power until it drains. Now it is time for those pantyhose.
Make sure the ignition is off and the engine is cool. Wrap the hose around the belt pulleys and tie them tightly. Pantyhose will work as an emergency belt replacement. You cannot drive very far but hopefully far enough to get to safety.
A $3 roll of duct tape can solve a multitude of problems. If your vehicle suddenly starts overheating, you may have a cracked radiator hose. After the engine cools, wrap the hose tightly with your duct tape several times. The solution is temporary until you can reach professional help.
Also, carry a one-gallon container of water in the trunk or boot of your car to refill the radiator. A quart of oil is also highly recommended. Use duct tape to patch leaks, at least for long enough to get assistance. Temporarily reattach parts and pieces that come loose on the road with duct tape as well.
Roadside Assistance Options
Prevention is essential, but breakdowns still occur — always bring your smartphone to contact roadside assistance. AAA services provide roadside assistance and travel interruption insurance protection. Australian drivers can use Captain Compare, which compares costs for roadside assistance and insurance from a variety of providers. Check your auto insurance policy to see if it includes any options for towing or roadside assistance.
Place a spare tire, tire iron and jack in your car. If you’re stranded without any of these parts though, the next best option is a small, 12-volt air compressor that runs off your 12-volt accessory plug. You could also carry a can of flat tire repair, such as Fix-A-Flat or tire inflator and sealant. It’s typically available at most auto parts and large merchandise stores. As a last resort, you can drive on a flat tire. It will damage the rim, but if you are completely stranded, you have to get to safety. Drive slowly, and use your emergency flashers.