Don't you hate it when you end up getting stuck, with your car inoperative for a week while you wait for a replacement part to arrive? The solution: be a parts hoarder!

A lot of what I know about cars, I learned from my father – he's a mechanical engineer, a true petrolhead, and all-around great guy. One of the many lessons that I learned from him was to keep a parts stash – not every single possible thing, but a collection of those hard to find, but failure-prone, items that could easily leave you stranded while you wait for a replacement.

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One occasion that sticks in my mind was in the Triumph 2500 that served as family transport for many years. A bearing failed in the distributor, chewing up the cap and rotor arm, and leaving us stranded on the highway. Nonchalantly, he dug into the spare wheel well, pulled out a replacement distributor, installed it, timed it 'by ear', and we were on our way. This may well be a somewhat extreme case, but since then, I have always kept a comprehensive toolkit, and a few spares, in every car I have owned.

When I bought my 850R, one of the first things that I did was find an accident-damaged junkyard car to make a parts stash from. It cost me all of $20 for a full set of engine sensors, relays, ignition components and the like. Today, that preparation paid off when a dead cam position sensor left me stranded. I didn't have the part with me, so I ended up getting towed home, but having a replacement right there, rather than having to wait for one to be delivered, was a lifesaver.

Keeping a few vital parts on hand is cheap insurance against unexpected breakdowns, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, especially for those of us that own older, more cantankerous cars. What kinds of things do you keep in your parts stash?

Illustration for article titled Parts stashes

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