Worst Case Scenario: Do You Know How to Fix These Car Issues?


By: Steven Symes

6 Min Quiz

Image: pexels

About This Quiz

Can you MacGyver car repairs using a wad of bubble gum, a paper clip and some shoestring? Could you handle being stuck absolutely in the middle of nowhere, thanks to an unexpected car problem?  Even if you've never been stranded on a dark road, with faint banjo music coming from the trees and what feels like a thousand eyes staring at you from the darkness, you need to take this quiz!

Thanks to this day and age of communication, most people rely heavily on their cellphone, in-car communications system and the proximity of roadside assistance to take care of everything from running out of gas to fixing a flat tire. Some people think these conveniences are making us soft, and there's plenty of evidence to back that up. After all, people have called 911 in a panic because their car's battery died and they don't know how to manually actuate the door locks to get out. 

Some have proposed putting the steps for changing a flat tire on the driver's license exam for different states. Sadly, plenty of people probably wouldn't be behind the wheel, but you really have to ask if that's a bad thing or not.

Could you survive fixing different car issues without help? Take this quiz right now and test your own preparedness. 

What kind of tool do you need to patch a hole in a tire?

You can get a plug kit online or at many automotive stores. It's a great thing to take along if you're going to be in the middle of nowhere, especially if your spare and one of your regular tires are both punctured.


If the brake light comes on when driving but the brake pedal feels fine, what should you do?

If the brake pedal doesn't feel spongy or offers no resistance, the brake fluid might still be low, so you should check that immediately just in case.


What can you do if your keyless entry stops working and you're locked outside the vehicle?

The battery in a keyless setup can die suddenly, and sadly too many people don't realize there's an analog workaround. The blade key, like what older cars had as the only option for unlocking the doors, is usually hidden under a sheath, so you remove that and unlock the doors old school.


What can you do if the hood release cable snaps and you need to get under the hood immediately?

This trick admittedly doesn't work on every car, depending on the design of the grille and hood release mechanism, but if you have heavy-duty wire or a long tool, it can help you work around a frustrating situation.


What factor can affect how long it takes a dead battery to charge using jumper cables?

There's no universal amount of time required to get a car battery charged up enough that the engine will fire up, which is why you should keep the cars connected until you get the non-functioning engine started.


When changing a car battery, how tight should you secure the cables to the terminals?

If you don't tighten the connections completely, even a little bit of movement could cause the battery to not charge enough, or to not connect with the electrical system, and you end up with an engine that won't start later.


What can you use other than coolant to fill a car's cooling system after it overheats and overflows?

Ideally, you can mix coolant and water in a half-and-half solution or buy the premixed coolant and water, but in a pinch water can provide enough cooling benefits to get you to a nearby location.


If the horn was working perfectly before and it suddenly stops, what should you check first?

Most often, a horn that stops working when it was functioning just fine right before is the result of a burned-out fuse, which you can replace quickly and easily without any tools.


With a pressurized cooling system, what do you need to be cautious of when refilling low antifreeze after the engine has almost overheated?

A pressurized system means opening the overflow cap could cause the antifreeze to come spraying or shooting out, which could seriously burn you, so you must open it slowly and cautiously, or just wait for the engine to cool down.


What does a car need to have for push starting it to work?

Push-starting a car doesn't work with an automatic transmission, but instead it could cause significant damage to the transmission, so don't try it.


After a fuel leak you've fixed that drained your car of gas, how can you get fuel from another vehicle into yours?

You can buy siphon kits at auto stores, or make one yourself using a hose or surgical tubing. Just be cautious to not swallow any gas.


If your vehicle is stuck in mud, what should you do to free it?

The problem with being stuck in the mud is the lack of traction to drive out of the rut, so addressing that should help you get out.


What device can you carry in your car to rapidly inflate tires in an emergency?

While you can inflate a car tire with a bicycle or ball pump, the process would be a slow one. There are air compressors that just plug into the power outlet in your car.


When changing a fuse, what must you be sure of?

If you don't push a fuse into the slot completely, it can result in intermittent or constant problems.


What can you do about flats if your car doesn't have a spare tire?

Fix a Flat and many other tire sealants are out there. You spray the contents into the tire through the stem and the hole is sealed up enough for you to reach a repair shop.


If a wiper arm comes loose so it won't rotate anymore, what can you do?

Having a socket set or even a crescent wrench when you head out on a trip is a good idea since they'll allow you to tighten essential hardware like this.


What can you use in an emergency to keep broken suspension components together?

You don't want to carry wimpy zip ties in your car, but instead you should go for the really heavy-duty kind, since they can take the rough forces your suspension endured until it broke.


What's one thing you can do on the side of the road to more rapidly cool off an overheated or almost overheated engine?

When you open the hood, you allow the heat that's been building underneath to escape rapidly, accelerating the cooling process for the engine considerably.


What can you use in an emergency to fix a blown radiator hose?

Once you've identified the source of the leak, wrap duct tape around that section of the hose tightly, sealing off the leak long enough you can get somewhere safe.


What kind of a surface do you need for changing a flat tire?

Unfortunately, many shoulders on the side of the road aren't really suitable for changing a tire since they're uneven and soft, making the risk of the car falling off the jack quite a bit higher.


If you see the oil light, what should you do?

The oil light is an indication of oil pressure loss, which could mean very soon the engine will seize. Pull over to the first safe spot and turn off the engine immediately, then check the oil level.


What risk does traffic play in changing a flat tire?

If possible, you should pull all the way off the road and shoulder, possibly into a parking lot or gas station where traffic isn't an issue.


How can you clear clogged windshield spray nozzles?

Salt, small pebbles, dirt and other debris can clog the nozzle at any time so the washer fluid won't spray out or will only come out of one nozzle, but sticking a needle in the nozzle will clear it out.


What's the worst thing you can do when a car gets close to overheating?

An engine that's about to overheat is a real danger since serious damage could be done, so you need to address the situation instead of just continuing to drive like nothing's happening.


How does running the heater work with an engine that's beginning to overheat, or is near to overheating?

The central heating core, which provides heat for the car's heater, is powered by coolant that's flowed out of the engine, so running the heater helps dissipate heat from the cooling system faster.


How many people do you need to push-start a car?

Someone needs to be sitting behind the wheel of the car while at least one other person pushes the vehicle, otherwise the operation is too unsafe.


Which of the following might stop windshield wipers from streaking badly?

Preferably you use a microfiber cloth for this job, since that won't leave behind lint or other debris, removing dirt and grime from the blades and eliminating some or all of the streaking problem.


If the lug nuts are on tight enough you can't turn them at all using the tire iron, what can you do?

Usually, lug nuts aren't truly secure if you can remove them by hand using a tire iron, so this is a necessary step before you raise the car using the jack.


What gear do you put the transmission in to push-start it on a downhill slope?

As the car rolls down the hill, slowly release the clutch pedal, and eventually the engine will fire up provided there's no other major issues.


When jump starting a car, which cable do you ground?

While you might be able to jump start a car not grounding the negative cable for the dead battery without incident, you're running a risk of damaging the cars and injuring yourself.


When jumping a car, when do you turn on the car that doesn't have a dead battery?

The danger is when you connect the cables to the live battery, if the clamps on the other end touch, they can cause sparks to fly and might even electrocute you, so set everything up with the engine shut off.


What can you bring along to deal with leaks in a gas tank?

Automotive stores sell gas tank patches, which are super sticky and will seal up a hole in your gas tank. Hopefully you still have enough fuel to reach a gas station after you plug the leak.


Once you've jump-started a car, what do you do with the cables?

Because of the risk of electrocution and making sparks fly, you always remove the negative clamps first, then remove the positive clamps.


If you hear a whining sound and the car won't accelerate much, what can you do?

Those symptoms usually point to a bad fuel pump, so unplugging the sensor will indicate to the ECU that it needs to have the pump run at full pressure, temporarily fixing the issue until you get to a shop.


If a fuse blows, how do you know which one to replace?

You should always check the owner's manual. Fuse boxes are not standardized, and not all cars have diagrams on the inside lid.


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