Not just any pliers. Trust me, cheap pliers are useless. My favorite is called lineman’s pliers. They are meaty and cut coat hanger wire like butter. “Channel locks” are good too. Important things to look for: easy hinge, gnarly teeth and thick insulated handles. Keep in mind, Pliers are emergency tools and grabbers. they can easily destroy what you use them on. I have a Pliers drawer in my toolbox; My favorite pair is a long needle nose set that’s hooked 45 degrees at the end. I can grab a spring clamp anywhere with it. Never is anything in the pliers drawer used on a nut or bolt. Mostly they are used for removing disposable fasteners.
However, on the side of the road, in 100 degree heat, on my own car, when i don’t have a wrench, the bolt (that I am probably cussing at) can go to hell.
One of the most versatile things is a 1 gallon bottle of water. Best to use distilled water. We have had the backward winds lately, and fires are popping up all over. It took me half an hour to drive 5 miles home tonight due to the fire department closing a lane of the bridge to have dozens of orange jumpsuits mowing weeds in the riverbed to put out the hotspots from yesterdays fire. Distilled water can be used in the car cooling system when it overheats, or can be used by people when they overheat. It also serves as a very cheap fire extinguisher in a pinch. Trust me, you don’t want to be the mechanic that does the coolant flush when some wise guy, thinking he is so resourceful, decides to pee into his radiator when his car overheats.
Thing 2 for the trunk: At least 2 road flares. These are getting harder to find, but i find them important. As a person who has been in a car that was tuck in traffic lanes without them, I can tell you how important they can be. Here in California, nothing says “Danger” like a road flair. It doesn’t make people slow down because they care about you, it makes them slow down to look for bodies. The effect is still the same.
BE CAREFUL with these. they burn hotter than youd expect, and will start a fire. Use them only on pavement, and if you finish before they go out, dump some water on them. Do not put them within 20 inches of anything of any flammability, do not use them on the shoulder. Face them towards traffic, so that if one happens to roll, it will roll parallel with the shoulder. Although the brush-fire will slow down traffic just as effectively, The effect will last too long and possibly result in an actual dead body.
Im starting this series while i am in school this semester, called unoficialy: 10 things you should cary in your trunk. Due to the events of the week the first item is this.
At the shop we call this the handy dandy jumper box. long ago, these were so big they had wheels on them. this one can be got for around 50 bucks at the eastern import tool house. Dont bother with the one that has a built in compressor, it will take less time to inflate the economy than your tire with it. You should also check it frequently to make sure its charged.
First day. My math book was 200 bucks, i managed to get a substitute for 80. Who knew single variable calculus could be so expensive. This is suposed to be the “easy” calculus. I already have the chem book, since its a continuation of my last chem class. Many of my class mates will be the same, and i have kept in touch with some from Facebook. Blogging will now be sparse, but i will try to get one in at least once a week. Anyone is welcome to comment, so please do. makes a blogger feel good.
Some of you have heard these, but from my perspective on the other side of the door, I can tell you things don’t look too different sometimes.
Got a call in the shop a few weeks ago: customer is in front of the shop, and wants me to go let her out of the car because her inside door handle didn’t work. The outside door handle worked, and the window worked. However, Her hair was gray, not blond. She had been calling people to get her out for the previous week. Some people need to spend some time in a beat up Chevy.
Now to be fair, there is a car out there that has door lock issues, but other than that, any car on the road has some way of letting you out by manually engaging the door lock. My concern is BMWs. If the electric lock fails, only the drivers door opens. I’ve had door locks fail where the panel had to be destroyed to get the door open. Worst case is a 2006 model that blew the fuse for the door locks. The location of the fuse box was in a panel that required the passenger door to be opened to access it. This is merely an inconvenience until you think about an emergency situation where people need to get out of a car fast.
Everyone should play around with their car a little bit, figure out how the door locks and latches behave. Notice the “double click” and what happens when the latch catches. Roll your window down (so you can reach inside to the lock) and see what happens when you try to lock your key in the car, open the door locked from the inside, and so on. Some cars have ways to fight you from doing this. Stick your key in the door lock and hold it left or right to see what happens. Some cars will roll up or down all the windows and sunroof. Check your trunk to see how it releases from the inside. Learning this stuff ahead of time may someday get you out of a jam. One of the best things to do is keep a door key (like the valet key) hidden on the car in a place like behind a bumper or fender. you don’t need a hide-a-key, just a big hunk of duct tape and a clean surface.
Again, at least a few time a year at least, I get one of these. This Ford Excessive was dragged through the local EZ lube about 20 miles before it was dropped off for a safety inspection. I guess if your going to use EZ lube, its a good idea to have a real shop look at it afterward, it only seems less cost effective. Unless of course you consider the price of the V10 engine in this monster. I took this video myself.
Found a broken vacuum cleaner. A really nice Hoover that was left with a broken and melted beater brush. I took it in and nursed it back with some parts from an alternator and a rod from a printer. ‘Worked great when i was done, but i warned The Man to be careful, I wasn’t sure how long it would last so take it easy on it. The vacuum disappears from the shop, and 2 weeks later it returns. “It stopped working, I’m not sure what she did with it.” Dint ask about who “she” was. I pulled the bottom off the beater brush to find what looked like 1/2 lb of sand. All my hack repair broken. I’m wondering where “take it easy” turned into “take it to the beach.”