Winning tip: Learning on the job

Jan. 1, 2020
The winning tip for October comes for Alex Diaz of Elmwood, Ill., and has to do with more than just this Honda.

This month's winning Tech Tip is about more than a broken Honda.

Mitchell 1 tech tips automotive aftermarket vehicle repair tips technician tips

The winning tip for October comes for Alex Diaz of Elmwood, Ill.

"The car (2006 Honda Civic) was cranking very slowly. Looking down towards the A/C compressor, I noticed metal shavings. I decided to take the belt off thinking the compressor may have locked up. When I tried to turn the tensioner it was frozen. So I took off the wheel and the cover. After removing the cover, I noticed the water pump pulley had dug a groove maybe ¼-inch deep into the tensioner assembly and the belt was also working its way off the p/s pulley. I jumped the belt off the crank and as soon as the belt came off, the motor turned over freely. I started the motor and it ran fine with no problems. The mounting bolt for the tensioner assembly broke off in the block and wedged the tensioner up against the water pump pulley."

Why is this the winning tip? Not because of the repair, but the process.

You see, this car had been to another shop that wanted to charge for an engine teardown. Diaz is a young tech, but seems to understand the basic diagnostic process of: 1. verifying the complaint; 2. gathering the information needed to properly diagnose the complaint; 3. deciding on the most likely cause of the complaint; 4. verifying the cause through specific testing; and 5. verifying the repair when he's done.


Alex Diaz Alex Diaz is 28 years old and has been working as an automotive technician for the last six years. He holds ASE A4 certification and aspires to earn his ASE CMAT. He currently is the lead technician at a Chicago-area Bridgestone/Firestone retailer and credits his knowledge to the teachings of two older ASE Master techs.

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

New Life for Old Floor Jacks

When you have to use a floor jack and they are a little long in the tooth, you won't notice it but they are like pulling dead weight around. Tip it up on its side and spray the wheels with a little lube or WD-40, giving the wheels a spin to coat the inside and then do the same to the other side. Then do the handle pivot and give it a couple of free turns, and it's better than new. Just be careful at first, because it pulls easy and turns so easy you can hit your foot and drop the car all at once. Bill Levelle, Iowa

6.0 Powerstroke Hard or No Start

If accompanied by low oil pressure, look at the high pressure oil pump. It uses a check ball to seal off a passage on the feed side. If this ball comes loose, you will lose oil pressure at idle with a resulting hard (or no) start. The ball seals a passage that otherwise allows oil to dump straight back into the oil pan. Chris Riggs, Michigan

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