QOTD: What's Your Greatest Zipped-up Repair?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Most of us reading — and writing for — this site have found themselves in possession of a complete and utter beater car at some point in their lives. Whether through necessity (young kid with no money) or choice (strange attractions to unreliable British machinery), roadside repairs often figure into our past in some form or another.

The most versatile of all roadside repair items? Zip ties, of course.

In my Mr. Noodles days, I always kept a pack of dollar store zip ties (buy expensive ones at Canadian Tire? Hah!) in the trunk of my car. The first beater, an ’89 Ford Escort purchased new by my parents when I was nine, had a nasty habit of burning more oil than gas. I quickly started sourcing used motor oil for free from local garages to support my thirsty hatchback.

I sold the ’89 to a man who promptly drove it in such a fashion that the local constabulary were on my doorstep a few short days later. Apparently, he didn’t change over the registration, which is why you always keep records of this stuff, kids. I showed the cops my sale documents and they left me alone, with the car turning up at an impound lot a few days later.

Anyways, I inexplicably bought another Ford Escort, this time a manual shift ’92 wagon. Damn thing was even the same color: light blue. This penalty box had the nasty habit of failing to activate its cooling fan even when underhood temperatures reached those found inside Reactor Number Four, so I zip-tied a terrifying array of wires and relays to hardwire the fan directly to the battery. In this fashion, I could switch the fan on myself when the situation got nuclear. I’m surprised the whole thing didn’t burn to the ground.

What’s the strangest or jankiest repair you ever made with zip ties? Whether it lasted for five seconds or until you sold the car, zip-tie repairs sometimes make for good stories.

[Image: NorGal/ Bigstock]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Sep 12, 2017

    Not zip ties, but garden hose clamps and cut-open Campbell's soup cans make for a lasting exhaust repair.

  • Ejwu Ejwu on Sep 14, 2017

    10 years ago, repaired window regulators on my BMW E46 330i. The plastic clips that fasten the glass panels to the cables are not beefy enough and eventually will break. Several zip ties will either fix it or prevent it from ever happening. Every E46 owner should know this.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.