Sat Oct 22 05:44:07 SAST 2016

Be prepared when Murphy's Law hits

By unknown | May 09, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Murphy's Law states that "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong . at the worst possible time".

Murphy's Law states that "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong . at the worst possible time".

Let's consider a few scenarios that illustrate Murphy's wisdom.

The starter on strike

On a cold winter morning, you turn the ignition key and all you hear is "click-click-click". Incredulous, you try again. This time there's only one click.

Your options:

lGlance under the bonnet to check for anything obviously amiss, especially loose cables.

lA bump-start, provided you can get someone to push you and you know the drill: switch on the ignition, put the car in second gear, keep the clutch pedal depressed until the car has built up some speed, then quickly let out the clutch pedal and, if the engine fires, immediately work the throttle to keep it going.

Second gear is safer for this purpose than first - the jolt when you use first gear is so fierce that there's a risk of breaking something in the drive-train. This starting method is not available if the car has an automatic transmission.

lA jump-start, that is, getting power from another car's battery with jumper cables to start your engine. This is a risky operation on modern cars with electronic control units. Make sure you use a set of substantial jumper cables.

Connect positive to positive on the battery terminals, and negative on the donor battery to earth on the disabled car. If your starter is still sluggish or dead, wiggle the cable clamps to be sure they make good contact with the battery terminals. If that doesn't work, run for the bus, train or taxi.

The lock-out

It's raining hard as you hurriedly slam the boot lid shut, and then realise that you've left the car keys in the boot.

Your options:

lIf you can unlock a door with a piece of wire, and if your boot can be opened from inside the car, this will be your way out (or in). New cars often can't be unlocked in this way.

lCall out a locksmith. This is expensive and you might have to wait a while.

You could break a window, but you will repent at leisure when you hear the cost of the replacement.

It's far better to make use of a spare key hidden somewhere under the car. To do this, paint a small tin, with a firmly closing lid, matt black so it will not show up under torch light, put the spare key (in a plastic bag to keep rust at bay) as well as a couple of strong button magnets in the tin and stick it in some steel surfaced nook or cranny under the car where it will be hard to see, but can be reached if you know where to feel for it.

The rear-end shunt

You are stationary and get bumped. The first thing to do is get the contact details of witnesses before they disappear in the traffic.

Then you have to exchange personal details with the driver of the other car, including ID, address and car registration.

Try to move your car away from the scene because you will probably soon be beset by tow-truck operators.

You have to report the accident at a police station within 24 hours.


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