Almost Time for Your Shakedown Cruise?

Many Classic Car Owners 

have spend the dead of Winter hunkered down in their garage attempting to complete planned restorations. The goal is to feast upon the fruits of their labor as the seasonal change unleashes the beauty and warm weather of Spring.

But anyone who has ever planned or completed any serious restoration projects has endured the trials of the "Shakedown Cruise".  Of course, as there are numerous Garagistry members and readers who have yet to experience one of them, or one ending in a breakdown, here's a short planning guide.
Rule #1 - Expect the unexpected

After reading many of the "shakedown prep" recommendations offered online, we were reminded of the joke about a group of Mensa applicants who met for lunch. 

After being seated, one of the scientists noticed the contents of the salt and pepper shakers were reversed. Combining all of their intellect, they developed a plan to transfer the contents from one to the other without spilling a single grain using the items on the table.
Seeing the uncustomary arrangement of knives, forks spoons, plates, napkins, glasses and straws, their waitress displayed a puzzling look. 

Unable to contain his exuberance to demonstrate their plan, one of the scientists spoke out noting the conditions. Without missing a beat, the waitress grabbed the salt and pepper shakers, unscrewed their tops, correctly reassembled both, placed them on the table, picked up her notebook and asked, "Are you ready to order?"

Moral of the story?

Don't over complicate things. The average car has over 30,000 parts. There's no way to prepare for the unexpected failure of all of them. But there are some pretty common issues you should be ready to correct and which can be easily completed on the side of the road.

  • Double check all of the "normal" things, like tires, brakes, coolant, fuel and battery. If possible, check all exposed bolts and fasteners for correct tightness, then the operations of controls and switches.
  • The three most powerful tools you can bring are a RELIABLE AND PROPERLY SIZED FIRE EXTINGUISHER, your fully charged smartphone and a "spotter" who will follow you in their own car. 
  • They should carry a good floor jack and a second RELIABLE AND PROPERLY SIZED FIRE EXTINGUISHER.
  • Have the name and phone number of a reliable flat bed service at hand. 
  • Plan your route and give it to someone you know who will be available should you need additional help.
  • Consider two trips of varying distances, not one. Why would you want to be an hour from home during your first breakdown?

Duct tape, coolant, Phillips and straight blade screwdrivers, pliers, "Vice-Grips®", 3/8 - 3/4 sockets and wrench, short and mid-length extensions, a few appropriate hose clamps and did we mention a RELIABLE AND PROPERLY SIZED FIRE EXTINGUISHER?

It Could Never Happen to Me! Maybe the second moral of the story is best explained by Jay.
Anything that can go wrong, can and will, at the worst possible time - Jay "Murphy's Law" Leno

Do you have a shakedown story or suggestion to share?

If so please add yours in the comments below. 
Thanks and safe driving,
The Garagistry Team

Remember, Preserving Automotive History...One Car At a Time® is not just a slogan. It's what we do. Select this link to learn more.