><< forwards wondering why people call it Duck tape... >>
There are only ten tools in the world that you need to fix any car, any
place, any time.
1. Duct tape: Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum
and plastic. It's safety wire, body material, radiator hose,
upholstery, insulation, tow rope and more in one easy-to-carry package.
Sure, there's a prejudice surrounding duct tape in concours
competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans-winning
Porsches to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. The only thing that can
get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
2. Vise grips: equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, bailing
wire-twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and
wiggle-it-'till-it-falls-off tool. The heavy artillery of your toolbox,
vise grips are the only tool designed to fix things that are screwed up
3. Spray lubricants: A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors,
alternators and other sticky items. Slicker than pig phlegm. Repeated
soakings of WD-40 will allow the main hull bolts of the "Titanic" to be
removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is
the little red tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it
cross-eyed. This tube is one of the ten worst tools of all time.
4. Margarine tubs with clear lids: If you spend all your time under the
hood looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the needle valve when
you knocked it off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real
mechanics consume pints of tasteless vegetable oil replicas just so
they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterwards. (Some, of
course, chuck the butter colored goo altogether, or use it to repack
wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator clamps, margarine
tubs aren't connected by a time space wormhole to the Parallel Universe
of Lost Frendle Pins.
5. Big-rock-at-the-side-of-the-road: Block up a tire. Smack corroded
battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop nosy know-it-all types up
side their heads. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs
the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool
with which a "Made in India" label is not synonymous with the user's
6. Zip ties: After twenty years of lashing down stray hoses and wire
with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked up version
to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking
mass of amateur quality rewiring from a working model of the Brazilian
rain forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. But,
it works both ways. When buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip
tie under the hood.
7. Ridiculously large screw driver with lifetime guarantee: Let's admit
it.There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking,
splitting or mutilating than a huge, flat blade screwdriver,
particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the
tool of choice for oil filters so insanely located that they can only
be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you
break the screwdriver - and you will, just as your father and shop
teacher said you would - who cares? It's guaranteed!
8. Baling wire: Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, baling wire
holds everything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's
not recommended for concours contenders since it works so well you'll
never replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a
sentimental favorite in some circles, particularly if you own an
Austin-Healey, an MG or a flathead Ford.
9. Bonking stick: This monstrous Tuning fork with devilishly pointed
ends is technically known as a tie-rod end separator. How often do you
separate tie-rod ends? Once in a decade? Other than medieval combat,
its real use is the application of undue force, not unlike that of the
huge flat-blade screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel
or frozen exhaust pipe - that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (It
can also be used to separate tie-rod ends in a pinch, but it does a
lousy job of it.)
10. A quarter and a phone booth: See #1, above.