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I’m Now Duct-taping My Car

2013 October 16
by Aaron

aaron_image1That’s right. I’m keeping my 2004 Saturn Ion together with duct tape. And, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

To be a true Thriftster, you have to use duct tape (or another form of adhesive) to salvage or maintain pieces of your equipment in order to make it last longer than anyone thought humanly possible. By the way, this is Rule #14 in your Thriftster Handbook. 

mom-holding-doorMy use of duct tape on my Lean Green Machine (as I fondly call her) started last month while on a family vacation in northern Minnesota. On a sunny day, I was driving down the road with my mother riding shotgun – and brother in the back when we suddenly heard some rumblings and knocking sounds coming from the passenger-side door. It was the door panel – and it was coming loose. My mother – acting instinctively and with daft maneuvering – rolled down the window and promptly stuck her right-arm out to hold the panel in place (see photo).

Shortly after, I was able to pull over at a gas station and my brother and I went to work. Like true professionals (who have done this sort of thing before) we sized up the door, looked at each, nodded and started unrolling tape.

My brother laid down a few strips to secure the panel in place. He was so meticulous in his taping, that he left no outward sign of duct tape holding the door and panel together. It was beautiful.

duct taped carAnd, it held. For almost two weeks until I was driving down the highway and heard the familiar rumbling sounds coming from the passenger side. I was able to do a double-over-cross-wrap around the door, with a under-side mount to secure the door in place (only attempt in extreme situations, such as this). While not as clean-looking as the bro, it has since held.

I realize my duty as a responsible driver on the road is to make sure my car is properly secured  with no flying objects coming loose while driving down the highways at speeds just over 55 mph. But, I don’t have any immediate or long-term plans to fix my door panel. I’m confident my duct tape will hold. I’m even looking at purchasing green duct tape to match the exterior. Who knows.

If you see my Green Machine driving down the freeway and we happen to exchange a passing glance – throw me a quick tip-of-the-hat and I’ll be sure to nod back in your direction.

Keep at it Thriftsters.

What’s the latest thing you’ve duct-taped?

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Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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11 Responses
  1. October 16, 2013

    You’re my hero, Aaron! I think from now on, we’ll call you Captain Duct Tape. Or maybe SuperFrugalMan. :-)

  2. Anita permalink
    October 16, 2013

    I use duct tape to pluck squash bugs and their eggs off of my squash plants. It works great and beats picking them off by hand!

    • Aaron permalink*
      October 16, 2013

      Hm – never heard of that one! Thanks for the tip Anita.

  3. October 16, 2013

    He he, really cool use for the duct tape. My car is still in good condition, so we don’t need such radical action, but it’s good to know it works ;)

  4. October 16, 2013

    Woa…wait a minute. You attempted the “double-over-cross-wrap” and are just now telling the world. Dang, you have some amazing patience Aaron.

    BTW, I once had a similar problem on our old minivan and I used Gorilla Glue and it worked beautifully!

    • Aaron permalink*
      October 16, 2013

      I think I pulled something in the process.. but we got er done ;)

      Ah.. Gorilla glue.. I’ll have to try that next if I run of tape – thx

  5. October 16, 2013

    On our trip to the AT this year, I noticed my buddy’s side mirror was entirely held on by duct tape. (Some drunk jackass had clipped it when parked.) I loved it, and was kind of amazed that it held together at high speeds since there’s quite a lot of pressure on the side mirror. Duct tape is a fantastic product.

  6. melquist permalink
    October 18, 2013

    When our bumper starting coming off in the left front corner, my husband used those plastic ties that you can bundle cords with. That was free. To attach the bumper again $800 minimum. When the guy looking at what my husband used started to depart, he commented “you know, those ties are working great.” They are still holding it years later!

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