Journal: Which Tools Should You Carry In A Classic Car?

Which Tools Should You Carry In A Classic Car?

By Michael Banovsky
February 19, 2016

Mechanical troubleshooting is part of the joy of having a classic car, but being stranded isn’t. I don’t recommend you wade into traffic without a good handle on how your car works, where everything is located, and a nominal toolkit just in case.

The one thing that’s often overlooked is a working, up-to-date fire extinguisher—one of those tools that simply can’t be replaced once you realize that a fuel line wasn’t as secure as you first thought. I often see classic vehicles at shows that forego this “last-resort” item, and hope for the owners’ sake that their beloved car stays fire-free.

When you hit the road, what tools do you consider essential to bring along?

Photography by David Marvier & RM Sotheby’s

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Tharanga Wijayaratna
Tharanga Wijayaratna(@kuseetha)
3 years ago

Did a very long trip in my Alfa (first one in fact). Had combination wrench set (8-19), box socket set (8-19) with ratchet, extra fuel pump, alternator belt, wires, zip ties, wire tape, epoxy glue, screw drivers, multi-meter, extra relays, brake fluid and set of jumper cables. All fit in one cardboard box. Glad I did not have to open it.

Tim Williams
Tim Williams(@tim-williams)
5 years ago

I tend to carry around an emergency bag, with warning triangle, hi-viz waistcoat, gloves, tow hook, tow hope, starter cables, compressor and gunk kit, duct tape and a Leatherman. In winter I add the snow scrapers, snow shovels and a can of gravel, which can be really useful to help you get going again, if there’s ice. Plus phone, chocolate, torch etc.

Toby Tuttle
Toby Tuttle(@slidingpillars)
5 years ago

A cell phone, a AAA card, a leatherman tool, a corkscrew, and the ability to mend most things using whatever you can find on the side of the road. Which not many people have anymore, hence the triple A card

Joseph V Baldini
Joseph V Baldini(@twinjoe)
5 years ago

I can not help but notice the lack of 3 items
1. Duct tape
2. Bailing wire
3. A genuine Thor (leather face one side, lead the other side) hammer for your knockoffs.
Or am I dating myself?

Doug Miller
Doug Miller(@sportscarfan)
5 years ago
Tommy Steindal Tobiassen
Tommy Steindal Tobiassen(@tommy_tob_93)
5 years ago

A tow strap, starter cables, a socket+arm for the wheel lugs, a couple screwdrivers, a roll of electrical tape + a roll of duct tape, a small emergency jack and a membership to a towing company is ideal.

Simon Lockie
Simon Lockie(@simon)
5 years ago

I’ve usually found that whatever I planned and took was no use. When I didn’t plan, I’ve usually found what I need, granted sometimes after some effort. The moral of the story: just roll with it and never 100\% expect to get where you’re going.

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick(@sparkey60)
5 years ago

What about an old woman to nag you?

Yan Scharrelmann
Yan Scharrelmann(@y-scharrelmann)
5 years ago

1. zipties

5 years ago

I always carried the following:

-Spare bulbs
-Spare plugs
-Wrench & Socket set
-Jumper Cables
-CB Radio, for when you’re miles from nowhere exploring the back roads
-Tire Iron
-Extra Oil

Tom Bruynel
Tom Bruynel(@ledzep)
5 years ago

Credit card…

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo(@martin-philippo)
5 years ago

tie wraps. Did anyone mention tie-wraps?

Maxime Veilleux
Maxime Veilleux(@quebecois)
5 years ago

My ”Emergency” tool kit consist of :

– A good Jack
– A lug wrench with a set of sockets
– A spark plug socket
– Screwdrivers
– Pliers and vise grip
– Swiss army knife
– WD-40
– Duct Tape
– Some coverall ( You don’t want to put grease on that new jacket)
– Flashlight
– Rags

And of course some determination and patience to get that Bug back on the road!

Every breakdown usually result in a good story around a pint so stay positive guys.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Coveralls ? Oh come now . If you’re toodling around in your classic .. especially if its a Bug ( Bugatti I assume [ just what in the name of St GearHeaditis are you doing wearing that good jacket you’re so afraid of spoiling anyway ?

Driving cloths Mssr . Veilleux ! Leaving the ‘ good ‘ jacket you’re unwilling to get greasy [ ahhh … the joys of an old and in the way yet ever so classic tweed always able to be cleaned in a jiffy assuming one knows how ] in the boot assuming for some reason you’ll need it .. or at home / in the hotel etc . As to much of your list thats covered much more compactly by my Leatherman tool suggestion . My coming from a history of climbing / bicycling etc where compact and light weight are necessities … not a luxury … learning to get by with as little as possible

As far as every breakdown having a good story ? Hmmm … depends on your definition of …. good ! More than a few needing something a whole lot stronger than the suggested pint … like a Bourbon straight … or three

Maxime Veilleux
Maxime Veilleux(@quebecois)
5 years ago

Flattering of you to think its a Bugatti But, I don’t have the money nor the mechanical knowledge to properly maintain a Bugatti.

It was more along the line of a VW Beetle Bug.

That beeing said, Its my Daily Driver so I don’t always have the choice of ”Driving attire” but I appreciate the Tweed Jacket nonetheless.

I also like to think that making a good out of a bad situation about fixing our beloved classics sets us appart from the regular driving folks.

But you are right sometime bad is bad ahaha.

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves(@cacem)
5 years ago

Guitar Slinger said it all 🙂

But I´ll add, a charged phone (you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a way to call for help)

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

On top of the tools needed to change the tire and a spare wheel – as well as a couple of spare wheel nuts …. at absolute minimum ;

Leatherman multi tool
Adjustable crescent wrench of reasonable size
Roll of Duct Tape
Ball of bailing wire
Can of what ever brand ‘ Fix Flat ‘ you prefer
Two empty containers .. one for acquiring water … the other for holding that emergency dollopo f fuel you just purchased cause y’all ran out due no doubt to a faulty fuel gage [ a common malady amongst all classics ]

And err … a couple of energy bars [ I prefer protein bars ] and drinking water …. to keep your energy up while either enacting the repairs or waiting for the tow truck to arrive