5 Emergency Car Hacks That Could Get You Out Of A Bind

REMINDER: The #1 thing you can do to support the site is share the articles!

by Mike Garowee

Cars are great -- they get us to our jobs, stores, families, and they even cook our meats. What’s not so great is when they malfunction at the most inopportune moment, like when it’s super late, your phone’s dead, and you just heard a radio report of some hostile bears in the area.

Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks you can use to get your 1982 Ford Cordoba back on the road in a pinch and hopefully to a place with fewer bears. Just keep in mind that these are absolutely only emergency fixes and don’t work 100% of the time, but they could be just what you need to get you home or to a repair shop of some kind.


Fix A Hole In Your Radiator With A Raw Egg

So you’re driving to your court-mandated Ferret Smugglers Anonymous meeting when you notice the temperature gauge in your car is going up and steam is pouring out from under the hood. You determine that there are only two possible causes: Either an elf is under there using an espresso machine, or you have a hole in your cooling system.

After pulling over, looking under the hood, and determining that there’s no delicious espresso, it’s probably safe to assume that your radiator has a leak. Now, there are several ways to fix a faulty coolant system, and all of them come way more recommended than what we’re about to tell you:

You can crack open an egg in there to temporarily stop that leak.



Pictured: A mechanic, apparently.

The reason is pretty much exactly what you’d expect -- the egg cooks inside, finds its way to the hole and seals it. Again, this is an absolute last case scenario, like if The Purge is about ready to go down and you’re on your way home from the grocery store with breakfast food. It has the potential to really mess up your car, so if it’s not a legitimate emergency, maybe just wait for a wrecker to haul you to Bruce’s Auto and Salvage where they fix vehicles with car-friendly stuff.

Even if you fear the wrath of the court system for missing your meeting, search for an auto parts store that has something like Stop Leak first. If you can do that, it will accomplish two things: A healthier fix for your automobile, and us not receiving emails saying, “You guys said to put food in my radiator, but I didn’t have eggs, so I shoved a cheeseburger in there and now everything is stupid.”

Put Some Wine Or Aspirin In Your Battery To Give It Temporary Life

This time, let’s say you’re leaving your regional knife-fighting competition. It’s late, and when you get back to your car and turn the key you get nothing, probably because you left your dome light on for the ferrets. No one’s around to give you a jump, but you probably wouldn’t have asked them anyway, because it’s nobodys business as to what’s going on in the cages in your back seat.

Fortunately, across the street is a liquor store. No, not for the purpose of drowning your stranded sorrows, but to grab a bottle of wine to help with this whole dead battery scenario. Basically, you open the cells in your car’s battery and top them off with the cheapest bottle of non-fortified Hobo’s Choice available. The acid in the wine allows the electrons to move around better, or maybe it just makes the battery happy and willing to cooperate.



“Dude, get these things off me and go snag another bottle of Merlot.”

You can even do the same thing with aspirin. Just crush a couple into every cell for the same effect. It doesn’t regenerate your battery, but it could get you out of that parking lot before people start nosing around and offering things like “help.”

Temporarily Fix A Blown Fuse With A Gum Wrapper

It’s dusk, so you find your way back to your car after spending the afternoon looking for those bears who wanted to throw down. You probably finished what wine you didn’t pour into your battery, and now you’re just being kind of dumb.

Regardless, when you sit down in the driver’s seat, you discover the headlights don’t work. Crap -- you blew a fuse, which mostly likely occurred because you tried to MacGyver that bear spotlight to the same circuit. Well, if you have a pack of gum, you may be in luck. Also, unhook the spotlight and change course already. You’re not winning a fight with bears.

Fortunately, the fuse did its job. It’s specifically designed to prevent electrical overload and a possible fire on its heels, which would put you in an extremely bad situation in hostile bear territory. But if you really need to get out of ... there (why are you doing this, again?), you could wrap a foil gum wrapper around the fuse, slap it back in, and find your way to safety.



Or at least relative safety, depending on how soon you need to get out of there.

It’s important to remember what you’re doing, though. As we mentioned, the reason fuses blow has to do with safety: Something electrical went wrong, so it cuts the connection to prevent further issues. By reintroducing something that will maintain that current, you’re taking your chances on a scenario much worse than non-functioning headlights.

“Yes, but the bears are still out here,” you realize as you start to sober up. That’s ... yes. But still, maybe just keep a spare pack of fuses in your glove box instead of the gum.

Fix Your Heater With A Piece Of Cardboard

Winter arrives. You look at the temperature and the snow outside and and are reminded of a time when toys and candy, as opposed to car problems, were your biggest concern. Unfortunately, you’re an adult now, and reality punches you right in the suckhole while you’re driving down the road and realize that your heater still isn’t heating anything.

“What the hell?” you might be thinking. This is a freaking 1986 Ford Taurus. It’s Robocop’s car, for god’s sake! It should be the epitome of reliability — it has to carry a cyborg to fight crime and your late-ass to work. Come on.



How could anything on this beast not work?

Obviously, you have some sort of issue that needs fixing (probably the thermostat), so find a repair shop and get it fixed. But while you’re waiting for your appointment, you might be able to shove a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator, preventing the normal cooling process from occurring.

Basically all you’re doing is blocking air flow so that the cold air from outside can’t roll through the radiator. Depending on your vehicular issue, it can be pretty effective, and in fact some people use this technique as a way to simply heat up their cars faster. We don’t recommend that, of course, because using pizza boxes to solve thermostat problems is like using string to solve windshield wiper problems.

Fix Your Windshield Wipers With Some String And A Friend


HAHAHAHAHA—OK, that’s pretty cool.

Like this article? Check out “Real Life Cyborg Body Hacks That People Are Doing Right Now” and “Surprising, Unintended Ways People Are Using Common Technology”.

Want to write for The Modern Rogue? You can! Just sign up for our writers’ workshop.

The Modern Rogue is not owned by a giant, all-powerful corporation. We are a small group of freelancers. You can help us grow in three ways.


2) Become a Patron

3) Buy cool stuff from our store