Winning tip: Repair or replace?

Jan. 1, 2020
Congratulations to Brett Emann of Riegelsville, Pa., for being selected as June's Tech Tip contest winner. Though Emann says he specializes in VW and Audi products, his shop works on all makes and models. A lack of heat issue on some Mazda RX-8s is t
Mitchell 1 tech tips automotive aftermarket vehicle repair tips technician tips

Why replace an expensive component if you can fix it instead?

Congratulations to Brett Emann of Riegelsville, Pa., for being selected as June's Tech Tip contest winner. Though Emann says he specializes in VW and Audi products, his shop works on all makes and models. A lack of heat issue on some Mazda RX-8s is the focus of his winning tip.

"You may encounter a problem with insufficient heating. Before checking the heater core or even the coolant level, first check to see if the temperature control dial is functioning correctly. With the key in the run or accessory position, turn the radio on and press the POWER and SCAN UP buttons at the same time. The radio will display A/C TEMP. If you move the dial and it does not change from 0 (fully cold) to 16 (fully hot), try to push the knob up or in a little. If you then get a correct reading, you most likely have a bad connection at the back of the circuit board that it hooks into.

"Remove the radio assembly with the heater control (there is a hidden 10 mm bolt on the driver's side of the radio you can get to it by removing the cover under the column and then the sheet metal cover). Remove the circuit board from the assembly for the heater control. On the reverse side of the board (where all the connections are soldered) there are three points. If you look closely at them, they will probably look cracked at the base of the points. All you need is a little bit of heat and some more solder. Reassemble and retest with the button combo."

Emann's tip isn't special or unique. There are numerous instances of failed solder joints on circuit boards that techs repair routinely every day. And they, like Emann, do so out of a sincere desire to take care of their customers and save them from unnecessary expense.

Brett Emann has been in the automotive business professionally for four years. His father owned and operated two independent repair shops for about 20 years, so he reports he has grown up around cars his entire life.

For his winning tip, Brett receives a fender cover from Mitchell 1 along with a hand-crank emergency flashlight. Enter your tips at MotorAge.com/TechTips for your chance to win.

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