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Automotive Emergencies: Part 3

    We all know how important it is to have a basic knowledge of first aid in an emergency, but how many of you know first aid for an automotive emergency? This is part three of a three part series that will help you be prepared should you suffer a automotive break down.
» Part 1: Misc. Emergencies
» Part 2: Blizzards
» Part 3: In General...
» Part 4: Care For Your Car
» Part 5: Emergency Equip.

Miscellaneous Emergencies

Here is what to do in other types of emergencies, some are minor and some are major. Knowing in advance what to do in a certain situation will make you better prepared and able to handle the situation.

  1. You lock yourself out of your vehicle. If your vehicle has button type locks, get a wire or coat hanger and straighten it out. Make a "U" shaped hook and bend it 90° to the wire.

    Slip the wire through a crack of the window or down between the door and body. You will be able to slip it past the weather stripping. You may need to bend the wire to get the hook end to the lock button. Move and twist and jiggle the wire so the hook slips under the lock button. Then lift the wire straight up and pull the button open. This requires patience as you work the wire.

    You may need to make adjustments and find just the right way to move it to grab the button. If you can't get it open this way, call the police and tell them what has happened. If they can, they will send a patrolman with a Slim Jim, a tool used by mechanics and car thieves, to open the door.

    A mechanic or locksmith can also help you as well. The police will do it for free and a mechanic or locksmith will charge about $50.00. If you see the weather stripping start to tear or rip because of the wire, keep in mind the weather stripping will probably cost more to replace than a road call.

  2. Your vehicle gets stuck in…

    1. Sand. This is a tough one. Rocking the vehicle will not help since the spinning wheels will throw out the sand and get you in deeper. Once you are down to the axle, that's it. You will need a tow truck to get you out. If you are not very deep you can try letting some, about half, of the air out of the tires to increase your traction.

    2. Snow. There are a few ways to get unstuck from the snow. First is rocking the car by quickly shifting from reverse to drive. Get a rhythm going to make the rocking more effective. Keep the wheels as straight as possible. Every few minutes shift into neutral and race the engine to let the transmission cool. Once you get moving, keep moving until you are on firmer ground.

      Don't allow the wheels to spin for any length of time. This will get the tires hot and make you sink deeper into the snow. Stop and let the tires cool down before trying again. If you have a shovel you can dig some of the snow away from the wheels to get some traction.

      If you don't have a shovel you can fold a floor mat in half as a make shift shovel. If you have a bumper jack, the base makes a good snow scooper. If you have a manual transmission, shift from second to reverse to rock the vehicle.

    3. Mud. Mud is the worst thing in the world to get stuck in. Even worse than snow or ice. Mud sticks to everything and makes getting traction all but impossible. Spinning the wheels in mud only drives them in deeper. You can use the same methods to get out of the mud as snow and ice. If that doesn't work, you will need to call a tow truck.

    4. Ice. If you are stuck on an ice patch, you can sprinkle sand or kitty litter, dirt or your floor mats to get some traction. Spread the material in front or back, whichever way you need to go, for at least fifteen or twenty feet. Put the bag of kitty litter or sand back in the trunk, for traction, and don't stop until you are on solid ground again.

      A slow steady speed will keep you from getting stuck again. You may slide a bit but as long as you are moving your chances of getting to solid ground are best. Don't spin the wheels; it won't do any good except maybe make you feel a little better. If you have no sand or such, you can try letting some, about half, of the air out of the tires to increase your traction.

Keep three or four bags of sand in the trunk. This will give you added traction and, if you do get stuck, you can spread it out to gain traction when you are stuck.

Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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