Is Your Car & Tool Kit Rally Ready?
Taking a spirited road trip in your classic or "toy" car is a fun and exciting adventure. Is there anything better than time on the road in your favorite vehicle? We think not. But before setting out on your next road trip adventure with your four-wheeled friend, there are a few things to check...
Everyone probably checks their oil before heading out on a trip, but when was the last time you checked your brake fluid, coolant, or transmission fluid? How about your rear-end gear oil? Fresh fluids at the proper level go a long way to keep your car humming along happily. If you haven't flushed your coolant, brake fluid, or gear oil in a while maybe doing that before you hit the road would be a wise idea. While you are at it, it's a good idea to throw some spare key fluids in your trunk or boot. Oil, Trans Fluid, Brake Fluid, and Coolant are all good to have on hand, and don't forget some paper towels and a funnel..
Just as important as moving, is stopping. They kind of go hand in hand when you think about it.. When was the last time you popped a fresh set of pads in? Better yet, pads and rotors? If you are starting to feel pulsing in your brake pedal it's time to change those rotors. While you are at it, when was the last time you flushed your brake fluid? Brake fluid (DOT 3 & 4) is hygroscopic, meaning over time it absorbs water. This water dilutes the brake fluid and in turn, lowers the boiling point. What does that mean? It means under hard braking, or hilly consistent braking, it can lead to brake fade as the fluid in the calipers begins to heat up. Tools like the Motive PowerBleed are a great, and economical way to single-handedly and cleanly flush your brake fluid.
Parts fail over time, that's just a fact. I like to carry some critical but often hard-to-source parts in the boot. Things like a spare ignition rotor, points, belts, fuses, oil filter, and maybe even a coil are all good to have on hand and could be hard to find in stock at an auto parts store locally. Each classic has its own known weaknesses, for example, British cars are known for their weak electrical systems, and prone to failure fuel pumps. A wise MG owner on a trip probably carries plenty of spare Lucas electrical bits, along with some basic electrical tools and extra wire harness smoke...
I always try to carry:
Spare Ignition Rotor & Cap
Points (if the car has them)
Fluids (Oil, Brake, Coolant, Trans)
Fuses (Vintage Mercedes for example use a unique fuse style you won't find in most auto parts stores)
JB Weld or epoxy putty
A well-stocked tool kit combined with the spares mentioned above can get you out of most jams. I carry all the usual suspects like screwdrivers, crimpers and crimps, multi-meter, socket set, and wrenches. But I carry a few extra bits I've learned to keep on hand over the years... A good-sized, thin but strong pry bar comes in hand more often than you may think. Specialty tools for your car are key as well. If you need a special socket or torx drive to do things like drain oil, or set timing, bring them. Nothing worse than having the parts you need to keep moving but not the special tool..