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Essential Automotive Survival Skills You Need To Know

Embracing the great outdoors can be a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and take a break from the constant influx of the social media fog. Taking a road trip is one of the best ways to do just that, unless you find yourself too far away from civilisation for your liking and your car breaks down. 

Before you head out on the road or off the trail, be sure that you know all these essential automotive survival skills, or you might find yourself stranded if something goes wrong.

Changing a tire

Image source: Freepik

If you get a flat tire out on the road, do not dial for a tow truck just yet. Changing a tire is one of the most basic car survival skills you need to know, and thankfully it is also one of the easiest to learn.

How to change a tyre:

  1. Loosen lugs, jack up your car, and remove the wheel.
  2. Mount the spare tire on the lug bolts.
  3. Tighten the lug nuts by hand.
  4. Lower the vehicle, and tighten the lug nuts again.
  5. Lower the vehicle completely and check your tire pressure.
Siphoning fuel

Image source: OffGridWeb

Perhaps a kind samaritan is willing to give you some fuel from their own car when yours is empty. How you go about doing that is probably easier than you think. All you need is a container to siphon into, a rag, and enough hose to stretch from the inside of the car’s gas tank to your container. Just try not to accidentally swallow any fuel.

How to siphon fuel:

  1. Cut two pieces of tubes, one long enough to reach the bottom of your tank, and another short tube that will reach just inside the tank, and set your container nearby.
  2. Insert the long tube into the filler neck until it reaches the bottom, with the other end fed into your container.
  3. Insert the short tube to sit beside the long tube.
  4. Wrap the rag around the tubes and stuff it into the filler neck to create an airtight seal.
  5. Blow into the short tube until fuel comes out of the long tube. Fuel will continue to flow even after you stop blowing.
Hot-wiring a car

Image source: Car Bibles

Believe it or not, hot-wiring a car is not just a skill for criminals. In a pinch, learning to hot-wire can mean the difference between getting stranded, and being able to get home. Of course, bear in mind that if you are trying to hot-wire a car built past 2004, you probably will not have much success. Hot-wiring an old vehicle is pretty simple, but do be careful as you will always run the risk of accidentally electrocuting yourself.

How to hot-wire a car:

  1. Remove the trim around the ignition switch, and locate the wires connected to it
  2. Identify the wires powering the switch from the battery. They are generally red or larger in diameter from the rest, but colours vary by model. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.
  3. Use a wire stripper to cut some insulation off each end of the two wires, then take those two ends and twist them together.
  4. Find the wire that connects to the starter motor and slice a piece of the insulation off that one.
  5. Touch, not twist, that wire to the other two. 
  6. Use electrical tape to cover the wires.

With these skills, you’ll be able to survive some of the most common off-road car mishaps. Of course, you should still call for a car mechanic even after you have made these quick fixes. As always, keep safe on the road especially when you’re on a road trip far away from the nearest city.


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