A wise man once said that duct tape holds the world together. While the validity of that claim remains to be proven, it hasn’t stopped a lot of people from trying to hold all sorts of things together with it – including their rides!
Now, I don’t know about you, but racing down the road at 80mph knowing the only thing between my safety and a one-way trip to the emergency room is a few yards of amazingly adhesive strips is a little unnerving. Maybe some of these people are blissfully unaware of the imminent danger? Or maybe they’re just so courageous that the need to travel outweighs the threat to life and limb? Either way, it’s a true testament to the power of duct tape that these vehicles are still operational.
It’s not just the sheer “ingenuity” of how people use duct tape to keep on moving, it’s the more utilitarian applications that show some serious brain power – or lack thereof. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to put a household AC unit in the window of their family station wagon? Or completely rebuild an entertainment system with a few random electronics and a healthy dose of duct tape? Honestly, when you stop and think about it, the sky’s the limit – basically because there isn’t enough duct tape to patch the hole in the ozone layer (or I’m sure someone would have tried by now).
20 Who Needs Custom Painted Stripes?
Lots of folks buy cars, trucks, vans and SUVs wishing they were a different color – I know I have more than once. A smaller chunk of the driving population follows their imaginative impulses to come up with great ideas for everything from pin-stripping to fully rendered custom air-brushing. But, if you really want to go outside the box – WAY outside the box – all you need is a few dozen rolls of duct tape, preferably in a bunch of different colors, and a lot of attention to detail. In fact, the more colors you have to choose from, the wilder your imagination can run.
Take this one for instance. Someone in Minnesota stopped, looked at this old Cadillac and decided it needed to look like the illegitimate child of a 1960s mod sofa and the Partridge Family bus. The amount of time, energy and linear feet of duct tape it must have taken to pull this off (or tape it on, more accurately), clearly screams “labor of love”. It also screams horrifically bad taste, but no one ever said having great style was a pre-requisite to modding your ride, particularly if your mod of choice is an abstract Crayola box of sticky duct tape hues.
19 King Of Duct Tape Bling!
If turning your Cadillac into a dull, 60s patchwork rainbow isn’t your thing, don’t get discouraged, you certainly have other options. Especially if you’re all about the bling. With just two colors of duct tape, you can turn your mid-sized SUV into the King of the Road – or at least set the record for most rolls of gold duct tape applied to one vehicle. And, just to show you understand what auto-style is all about, buy a few rolls of silver foil duct tape to trim out your dope ride. Nothing says “I gotz all the hundos” like a car dripping gold and silver.
While performing this highly sought-after mod may take some time, it’s obviously not something just anyone could pull off with this level of skill. But, you can pick up a roll of gold duct tape for a fiver, then hire someone from fiver.com to put it on for you.
Be ready to buy at least a case or more, especially if you’re rolling in a Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX60 or Mercedes Sprinter van. Other things you may need for this mod include a ladder, exacto-knife, straight-edge and utter lack of concern for the paint job underneath all that sticky stuff.
18 Duct Tape Repairs: Not Just For Americans!
Let’s say you’re taking your BMW M3 for a Sunday drive on the Autobahn. The landscape is flying past your window as you reach speeds well into the triple digits. The exhilaration of ground-level flight gets your heart racing nearly as fast as your beamer. But then disaster strikes! You over-correct on a turn to avoid a slow driver and end up leaving the pavement and sliding through the grassy pasture on the roadside. After coming to a halt, and checking your shorts, you hop out to see if your precious ride is ok. And, your heart sinks!
Laying on the ground, a hundred feet away is your rear bumper cover. You pop the trunk wondering if there’s a way to fit the $3,000 body panel inside and immediately see the folly in your idea.
That’s when the choice arrives. Your eyes fall on the roll of black duct tape that’s been bouncing around in the trunk for ages. You take a deep breath, swallow your pride and reach for the roll. Nearly overcome with grief, you hand it to a friend to perform the dirty deed while you stand there, palms down on the hood, stifling back tears while another friend pats you on the back telling you it’s going to be ok.
17 Moving Day!
We’ve all been there. We find out we have to move from one home to another, one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life. This is when we have to truly start weighing our options, as there are so many when moving day comes along. We can hire a professional moving company. Strapping young lads will arrive with a large truck and have our current home emptied in no time while we sit on the porch and sip sweet tea.
Another option is to have one of those large shipping containers dropped in our driveway. Sure you have to load this one yourself, but you can do it at your own pace and when it’s full, the company will come get it to either store it for you or deliver to your new driveway.
Yet another popular way to go is to hunt down the nearest relative or close friend with a large truck of some sort. They know going in when buying the big truck, that call is coming someday. It’s almost like they signed up for it when they agreed to purchase it. However, if none of those options suit your circumstances, and you own a Geo Storm or like vehicle, you can follow this lady’s lead and turn your death-defying derelict into a full-fledged functioning furniture ferry. All you need is duct tape and a complete lack of shame.
16 Putting the “Silver” in Silverado
Ever had one of those jobs that requires you to use your own vehicle but doesn’t pay enough for you to take care of it? Then they expect you to load it with all sorts of hazardous stuff and BOOM it happens. A piece of company equipment blows out your back window. What are you supposed to do now? Payday isn’t for another two weeks and you just paid off the tab at the neighborhood watering hole. Thankfully you still have some duct tape left over from when you had that nasty incident with the back-up camera malfunction (you know, the camera this Silverado doesn’t have?) that took out your taillights.
Now to find a few leftover household windows and about an hour to git 'er done. You may need to have a friend help hold the new windows in place while you slap on the tape. And, if it’s windy that day, you may end up with tape in places you never intended, but what the heck, payday is coming and this truck ain’t gonna drive itself to the job site. Now, if you could only figure out what happened to the tailgate handle, you’d be back in business!
15 When You Can’t See Through Your CR-V
Hondas are known for being incredibly reliable, long lasting, durable vehicles. Year after year they get great ratings from all the top magazines. In fact, there might be a higher percentage of 200,000 mile plus Hondas on the road than any other vehicle.
As luck would have it, duct tape shares a lot of those same qualities. Knowing that, it’s a no-brainer to marry the two when the need arises. Not only will the tape hold stuff together, but you can use it to frame out new windows, build housings for your tail lights, hold your rear hatch closed and even support the roof in lieu of a structurally sound D-pillar.
Now, you may be wondering exactly what this is going to do to the re-sale value of your Honda, but never fear duct tape rarely shows up on Carfax reports. In fact, in the hundreds of reports I’ve personally combed through never once have I seen the words “duct” or “tape” as a listed service or incident. Beyond that, the first-generation CR-Vs have just about bottomed out in price, especially with exposed rust and corrosion. Luckily for this happy Honda owner, they sell blue duct tape and with one roll they can hide that ugly car-cancer in under an hour.
14 Dropped As A Child
Anyone who has seen the great Joe Pesci movie My Cousin Vinnie should instantly hear Judge Haller, played by the late, great Fred Gwynne, asking the question "are you stupid boy?" That same question should ring in the ears of anyone who has ever tried this duct tape repair. While duct tape might be fine for a temporary, “have no other choice” repair on a wheel barrow tire or push mower, using it on any sort of human transportation is just asking for a quick trip to Deadsville, or at least a painful, prolonged pit stop in the ER.
Car, truck and SUV tires hold thousands of pounds of weight, endure centrifugal forces that defy death and bounce, slam, hop and hammer their way over some really questionable terrain each and every day.
If the only thing between you and that trip is a bad tire, and the only way to fix it is by using liberal amounts of duct tape, you really have to ask yourself if the trip is so awesome that you’re willing for it to be your very last one. In the words of Judge Haller, take this as a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
13 Pastel Paint Isn’t Underground Enough
While the local body shop has a color key book with a few hundred color choices in it, from Audi to Volkswagen and back again including all the exotics like Lamborghini and Ferrari, any fool with some cash can go roll up and buy a sweet paint job. So, why be like just anybody? Seriously, you may as well just drive a grocery getter and forget all about ever being cool.
What you want is for your vintage Acura to stand out without your wallet getting put out, right? If this is you – and you know it is - then check out the one and only Duck Tape brand of duct tape.
Their site boasts seemingly countless options of solid colors, printed designs, even simulated wood grain for those looking to do over their dashboard. If that brand isn’t your thing, all the other major tape players are in the Acura color change game, too.
For this ride, it was just an understated pastel turquoise from a few thousand feet of tape. Nothing gaudy or audacious, just soothing surf tones. There’s no telling what color this tape job is hiding, or just what’s going on with all those bubbles on the deck lid, but the owner of this fine import put some serious time and effort into this full color ride.
12 Skilled Labor Is a Dying Breed
Unlike some others on this list, who excel at attention to detail and making sure their duct tape jobs are as classy as can be, there are some who simply don’t have the soul of an artiste. Where would we be if Mozart wrote his symphonies with this sort of disdain for the finer things?
Looking at this mirror repair, it makes us wonder if the installer thought the duct tape had an expiration date on it; “must use or refrigerate before 5/5”. Well, this cat should have put the tape in the fridge instead of all over this mirror. A few well-placed pieces may have stopped that crack in the windshield from spreading, too.
The duct tape craftsman in me sheds a tear every time I see a hack job like this. I mean, sure it holds the mirror on – which might be all that really matters – but how about buying some color-coded tape? They sell it in blue. I mean, where’s the attention to aesthetics?
Unless, of course, this is indicative of one of those retro cult things where sloppy grey duct tape hack jobs are inherently cool and I never got the memo. Stranger things have happened.
11 Mixed Mediums
If you ever took an art class in school, and actually paid attention, you’ve probably heard the term mixed mediums. That’s when an artist chooses to work with different materials to achieve an outcome. A painter may use paint and clay, or a musician may play multiple instruments in differing genres. When it comes to the art of duct tape, however, it means bringing in dryer vent hoses, PVC pipe (no not PCV, the kind that actually belongs under your hood) and rusty industrial ductwork that seems better suited in a rotting warehouse than acting as a fresh air intake for your two-barrel.
This sort of McGyver-istic approach to auto repair shows outside-the-box thinking, unending perseverance and a semblance of “who gives a @#$&” in order to get the job done. At the end of the day, if you’re capable of this advanced level auto repair, the only person under your hood is you. And, if you’re totally okay with all sorts of crazy household crap holding your engine together, then duct tape is straight up traditional for you. If that’s not you but your preferred gearhead is doing this, get your car back from their shop ASAP and never, EVER go there again…
10 When to Say When
There comes a moment in the relationship between a driver and their car when they have to agree that enough is enough. Based on the looks of this Honda Accord, someone blew right past that point and kept on taping. Apparently, the myth that Honda’s last forever was sold to this owner a little too well. Not only did they tape the entire front and rear of both right-side doors, careful inspection reveals they also redid the front and rear bumpers.
Now, if the need arises to use two distinct colors of duct tape, automotive designers might suggest that the stronger color – in this case the dark grey that doesn’t match the original paint color – is only used as an accent or in an area outside the main viewing range. Apparently, that’s another memo this Accord driver didn’t get.
But, their diligence did pay off and after all that well-spent cash went to the duct tape store, they had enough left over to grab a whopper and fries. Better yet, they could even pimp their own ride up to the King’s house to cruise the parking lot looking for value meal deals. Let’s just hope they don’t work there, ‘cause 'having it your way' doesn't involve a duct tape DIY bacon cheeseburger.
9 Duct Tape: It’s Not Just for Amateurs
If you’re one of those people who just aren’t too handy with tools and not afraid to admit it, and you have an auto emergency, don’t freak out, help is available! While they may not be easy to find, if you can roll up to a shop like this where they obviously employ Master Certified Duct Tape Technicians, your dreams of adhesive auto repairs can become a reality. While this shot looks to have been taken from a training film, often done using actors who have no idea how to perform the tasks they're aping for the cameras, these two guys look like this isn’t their first tape roll rodeo. Notice how the fella on the right is even using a tool of some sort to ensure his work ranks among the finest in the land?
It’s unclear who is responsible for the hand mirror taped into the passenger door mirror case, but that’s a story for another day. Right now, we should just sit back and soak in the satisfaction of knowing men like these two are ready to tackle your toughest duct tape disasters. You may want to call ahead for an appointment however, as specialized technicians such as these two are often booked up days in advance.
8 Shade Tree 101
If you ever hope to become a real shade tree mechanic, one of the first things you have to master is how to fix a hose using duct tape. Sure, that’s not a proper, or safe, or even reliable repair, but sacrifices must be made in order to achieve life’s biggest goals. First things first, you have to make sure you have all the proper tools necessary to complete the job. In this case, it’s a roll of duct tape.
Color doesn’t matter at this stage, but if you plan to expand your repair repertoire you should consider investing in the basic colors of silver, grey, black, white and red.
For this simple repair, however, any color will do – unless your hood is missing, in which case black is your best bet. Begin by pulling several inches of the tape loose from the roll and evenly wrapping it around the hose in question. Based on the available access, you may want to remove the hose form the car before you start the wrapping procedure. But, to truly consider yourself a professional amateur, you should figure out how to put it on with minimal disassembly. Once the hose is properly wrapped, simply cut the tape loose from the roll and smooth the loose end onto the hose. This in no way guarantees the car is repaired, or that the engine is even safe to start, but the hose is wrapped – so there’s that.
7 Duct Tape: It’s Not Just For Auto Repair
For anyone who has ever had to deal with the pesky old problem of construction vehicles with windows that won’t stay in the frames (something we all must face sooner or later, right?) you can rest easy knowing duct tape has your back. With as little as five strips you can have that window put back in place in no time flat. And, once the repair is done, your road crew is ready to get back to not repairing the roads for months on end and just sitting there blocking traffic. Or, maybe that only happens where I live…
Either way, it doesn’t matter if it’s a backhoe, tractor, earth-mover, dump truck, grader, steam-roller, front end loader, cement mixer or crane – no task is too big for duct tape. And, for those who relate to the mixed mediums entry above, you can also work a random two-by-four into your repair plans, just to keep it real. If you really want next-level type work, you can even fashion little holders into the duct tape to put your hand tools, lunchbox and cellphone. Honestly, the sky is the limit when you have a handy grey roll in your toolbox.
6 No Real Trees Were Harmed Fixing This One
The fine folks at Team Real Tree know a thing or three about their customer base, including the generous need for camouflaged duct tape. Not only is this truck’s dash held together from now until eternity if it was hiding in the woods the deer would never know. To some this may seem kinda crass or even uncivilized but take note of the quality install performed on this Ram truck.
There are no loose edges, adhesive stains, unsightly gaps or other faux pas that scream ‘amateur’. In fact, this install job might give the repair shop’s Master Certified Duct Tape Technicians a run for their money.
If this shade of camo isn’t your thing, you can get it in traditional Vietnam war era military camo, modern digitized camo and a variety of colors including hot pink. While doing up your dash in hot pink camo tape may not make hiding from Bambi and family any easier, it sure will send a message that you love pink, have no fear of duct tape and seriously don’t care who knows it. Just make sure to take the same level of care this duct tape technician used to ensure the best possible install.
5 The Wheels Aren't Spinning
This is one of those duct tape repairs that goes so far beyond dangerously foolish it might just appear on the Darwin Awards. The list of things wrong with this picture is obvious, long and disturbing.
First off, that tire has no business being on that rim, as the tread width is obviously smaller than the rim width. Secondly, these guys appear ready to perform a dangerous, mis-learned old tire install trick where you use an accelerant to create an explosion inside the tire and force it onto the rim bead while pumping the tire full of forced air. This wouldn’t be necessary if the right wheel-tire combo had been chosen. The fact this is happening in someone’s backyard, instead of a qualified tire shop, tells us all we need to know about the safety of this adventure.
Somewhere, Fred Gwynne is looking down and seeing these guys about ready to pull this stunt and he’s shaking his head in fear and amazement. While duct tape is known for its alleged ability to fix anything, removing tire and wheel shrapnel from human flesh isn’t one of them anyone should be counting on.
4 Good Auto Upholsters Are A Rare Breed
In this day and age, it’s becoming harder and harder to find a high quality automotive upholstery shop. Those who are truly skilled at it seem to be fading away into the attrition driven ranks of retirement leaving the rest of us wondering just what to do when our driver’s seat eventually wears out. If only we all had the skills necessary to become an auto upholster, like the person who did this bang up, albeit incomplete, duct tape repair.
Notice how the lines of tape run vertically, mimicking the existing cloth lines of the original seat back? That’s the sort of attention to detail that takes someone from novice to master in short order. It’s a real crime we don’t get to see the final product. With this level of raw talent and polished skill who knows what the future could hold for this fine ride? A shiny silver seat bottom? Adhesive laced floor mats? Color-keyed headliner built to last and guaranteed to never drop down on your head while you’re making a left turn in rush hour traffic? Unfortunately, we may never know what heights this tape master’s career achieved. But, one thing is for sure, somewhere, someone is glad they still have a seat cushion to recline on while cruising the open road.
3 Landau Let Down?
Old horse-drawn carriage manufacturers used to employ a top called a Landau. This was a precursor to convertible tops and carried over to automobiles for a few decades before fading into obscurity. Then, for some inane, unfathomable reason, in the mid-1960s Detroit auto makers decided to bring it back, but in name only. The new incarnation was a vinyl covering fixed to the metal roof of a car. Autotrader.com asks the question “is this not the single stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of?” and while my answer to that question is no (have you ever seen the Gremlin?) the question is still very valid.
Eventually the vinyl would peel, bubble and otherwise give up its grip on the roof and then what started out as a cheesy attempt at an upscale appearance turned into utter hideousness. Thankfully, it’s not a big leap to go from peeling Landau to peeling duct tape, especially for the owner of this 70s era Chevrolet Impala. If you look close enough, you can still see the weird rust/adhesive residue the Landau left behind. Maybe another application of duct tape can cover that up once and for all? Based on the stillruns.com sticker in the window, it may have already happened.
2 What Do We Have Here?
Not a failure to communicate, as the famous movie quote you may have just completed in your mind goes, but a failure to properly install the duct tape in the first place. One of the keys to spanning such a large distance, like the back window of this old ride is tautness. You have to pull the tape as taut as possible before anchoring it on the other side of the gap. If not, you’re going to experience unwanted, potentially life-altering side-effects, like people on amazing car websites questioning your ability to properly replace glass with duct tape.
Now, before we continue to assume this car’s former owner experienced continual duct tape technical difficulties, we must first consider the alternative: a novice snuck into this wrecking yard and while attempting to steal some old GM factory radios and a random floor mat, decided to hone their duct tape install skills on this old beater. If that’s truly the case, then a round of applause goes out to this installer for doing a solid job on their first outing. Further kudos are in order for investing in themselves by going to the trouble of breaking into a junk yard just to turn their raw duct tape talent into a masterful skill set.
1 What You Got Now, Boi?
Not only can duct tape get you out of - and into – some sketchy situations, it can also be a great tool for the serious practical joker. Take exhibit A here, where two guys, Marcus and Lucas Dobre, decided to punk their brother by “giving him a whole new paint job”.
Notice the craftsmanship exhibited by the two brothers, as they ran unbroken pieces front to rear, made sure they completely covered the mirrors and even wrapped the wheels and tires. If you thought one twin prankster is great, it's not hard to imagine how much chaos two can cause.
While this is pretty hilarious, for those who want to engage in their own duct tape Toyota hijinks, you may want to keep a few things in mind. First off, pick your target carefully. If it’s someone with any sort of temper, you’re likely to get payback in spades. For those with a conscience, be prepared to spend far longer cleaning the car back up than it took to tape it all off. A serious amount of adhesive remover may be necessary, but make sure to buy the kind that doesn’t harm automotive paint. You could always take it to a local detailer but expect them to want to get PAID to handle that much adhesive removal.
Sources: AutoWeek.com, StillRuns.com, DuckBrand.com, JalopyJournal.com