Your Classic Car Basic Toolkit
From time to time are asked which items should be carried in our old cars. That is, which tools and supplies can provide for an emergency repair, or at least help in keeping your classic car visible on the side of the road. Here's what we consider necessary for your classic car's tool kit. If you keep these in your trunk you stand the best chance of getting the old flivver running again, or at least not getting hit as it sits on the side of the road.
Your Classic Car Tool Kit Accessories
- A flashlight or portable light that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Or you might consider one of those flashlights that you crank. At least you don't have to worry about the batteries being dead. You can't make repairs if you can't see what you're doing.
- A roll of high-quality duct tape. Many small coolant hose leaks have been temporarily repaired with duct tape, not to mention cracked windows and loose trim.
- One or two wire coat hangars. It's amazing how well this wire can hold up a broken exhaust hangar or loose engine bracket or loose door.
- Jumper cables, obviously, and they don't do any good hanging in the garage.
- Ignition points, condenser and distributor cap. Keep the old ones replaced the last time you serviced the ignition. They will always do in a pinch.
How do you set the gap on the replacement points out on the road? Well, a standard piece of paper (copier, printer, letter, etc.) is .004 inches in thickness. Folded 5 times you have .020 thousanths, a very common gap for older cars. Of course, you could always add a set of wire guages to your toolkit.
- A can of flat fixer can many times get your old tire back into service. These cans hold a liquid latex sealer and compressed air that, in most cases, will be enough to get you rolling.
- Road flares or plastic reflectors are great safety items that can be placed at both ends of the car to warn traffic that it's parked on the side.
- Fuel hose, coolant hose, vacuum hose, fan belt. Hose lengths only need to be enough to replace a section that might break.
Now, For Some Tools to Get Your Classic Car Running
- Flat-blade and Phillips screwdrivers in several sizes.
- A knife or other cutting instrument
- Pliers: normal, needle-nose and wire-cutting pliers are an absolute necessity
- Adjustable wrenches, two of them.
- Open-end or box-end wrench set in common sizes, so that adjustments can be made to brackets, distributor, etc. Cheap sets are available in home centers and some sundry stores.
- Voltmeter and, if necessary, an instruction sheet.
- Lengths of several gauge-size wire and crimp connectors.
- Small hammer
- Assorted hose clamps or nylon tie-wraps
We also recommend carrying a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. Both are inexpensive and really important when they are needed. We find all this stuff can be put into a small carry-on bag or stored in various places in the car.
We might also suggest that you print out a copy of our troubleshooting guides and put them in a plastic bag to put in your tool kit.
Sometimes it takes a little tinkering to keep your classic car running. And if you're on the road, having the right tools is a good thing...it's better to have too many, than too little.