It was a dark and moonless night (I’ve always wanted to start a review with this line, but it really was a dark and moonless night). I was entering hour 18 of my final 24 hour endurance run between Stamford, CT and my home in Boca Raton, FL. Back about five years ago this was a round-trip that I would make roughly 4 times a year.
Recommend this product?
Barreling down I-95 at about 80MPH I was somewhere near the 10 mile marker in southern Georgia. The clock read 1:45am, so I was confident that if I could keep up this pace I’d miss all the morning rush hour traffic throughout Florida and crawl into my bed at home by about 9:00am. By the time my wife and daughter got home from work and school, I’d once again be human and civil. Twenty-four hours behind the wheel of any car is punishing, but my aging Jeep Cherokee knew and exploited every sore spot on my similarly aging body. This would definitely be my last non-stop marathon drive.
With these thoughts in mind I was suddenly startled when my windshield was instantly enveloped in a cloud of steam. With almost no ability to see the road ahead I pulled off onto the shoulder and shut down the engine. Popping the hood it took no more than seconds to discover I had blown a 3” – 4” gash in my top radiator hose. Peachy!
For those of you familiar with this stretch of road, you know there’s no there there. It’s largely a deserted area and until you hit the Greater Jacksonville, FL area roughly 30 miles ahead you’ve got nothing. And besides, at 2:00am no Road Service could do more than tow you somewhere to wait until something somewhere opened several hours later. Were my plans busted? Well, not entirely.
You see, about a year earlier at the Annual Miami Automobile Show I was watching a pitchwoman demonstrate a product called Rescue Tape. Interestingly, the scenario she presented us, the audience was virtually identical to the situation I now found myself. For the benefit of us Floridians she substituted Alligator Alley (I-75) for I-95, but she drove her message into the dark recesses of our brain. And, if her message was lost on any of us, she was also very hot. Funny how that works. So I ponied up $20 and bought a package of three 12’ rolls of Rescue Tape (Black, Red, White). When I got home from the show I threw a roll into the glove compartment of each of our three vehicles.
It did take me about 20 minutes to remember I had this purchase in my glove box, but once remembered I was on the job.
Rescue Tape Self-Fusing Silicone Tape
Rescue Tape is a self-fusing silicone tape that is 1” wide. What that means is, there is no adhesive on the tape. The tape sticks only to itself. To allow you to peel it off it is protected by a cellophane coating on its entire length. Cut off the desired amount, strip away the cellophane and it’s ready to use. I guess I cut about 2 - 3 feet off for this repair.
With over 200,000 miles on the Cherokee, the engine compartment and hose were pretty nasty. But holding the tape to the hose I began to wrap it, stretching the tape and overlapping it every 1/2”. The tighter it is wound, the stronger it gets. If more tape is required for the repair a new length can be cut and applied to the point at which you left off. Remember, it only sticks to itself.
Rescue Tape has a tensile strength of 700 psi and will withstand temperatures of up to 500F degrees. This makes it ideal for engine compartments of cars and boats. When used in electrical applications, each layer of tape insulates against up to 8,000 volts.
The entire job took between 10 – 15 minutes. The repair seemed tight and secure. To be safe, I waited another 30 minutes to let the engine and radiator to cool down before I added all of the accumulated water in my ice chest to my engine coolant. Before closing the hood I let the engine run for a few minutes to make sure the repair was indeed water-tight. Perfect! I pulled into my driveway just before 10:00am. I’ll admit to a little overly aggressive speeding.
If there wasn’t a single other use for this product it would still be a pretty smart buy, but of course there are. I’ve used it both at home and at work on washing machine hoses, PVC and steel pipes, and copper tubing. It’s also mended a leaky garden hose or two. In advertising literature I’ve even seen it proposed for use as a temporary tourniquet in emergency situations.
Rescue Tape comes in a variety of colors. Although black suits me fine, at the Laundromat I have used red to remind me of permanent replacements that will need to be made in the near future. I’ve used white to label electronics cables. Ball pen ink works well on this tape.
Where to Buy
Rescue Tape is available on-line at a variety of sites. No doubt there will be links following this review that can take you to an on-line supplier. I have also purchased it at auto supply stores in addition to better hardware stores. Prices vary widely and expect to pay about $25 for a package of 3 rolls.
To my way of thinking this purchase is a no-brainer. If this product saves you just once, it will have more than paid itself back. I highly recommend Rescue Tape. Keep a roll in your glove compartment.
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