Tech Tip: Give It a Shot

Jan. 1, 2020
David Harmon, this month's Motor Age/Mitchell1 Tech Tips contest winner, is a 71-year-young mechanic currently making his home in Arizona, working for Pinal County Fleet Services.

This month's winner is 71 years young, and still turning a wrench!

Mitchell 1 tech tips automotive aftermarket vehicle repair tips technician tips David Harmon, this month's Motor Age/Mitchell 1 Tech Tips contest winner, is a 71-year-young mechanic currently making his home in Arizona, working for Pinal County Fleet Services. Like many of the tips you've written in and shared, his is one that resulted in applying a little common sense to a common problem: removing stubborn plug boots, especially when they are hidden in a well.

"I have found that when removing spark plug boots from older engines (without damaging the wires), I attach a needle nozzle to my air gun and stick it in between the wire and the boot," he explains. "Then I shoot air to it, and the boot and plug wire will blow off without damaging either one."

One way to avoid the problem in the first place is to apply a dab of dielectric grease when installing the boot. It may save the next guy the trouble! But hey, thanks, Dave, for taking the time to share your tip — and congratulations for being selected this month's winner. Your Mitchell 1 prize is on its way!


Never Assume It's Right

A 2005 Toyota Sienna came in with a complaint of low air flow from the rear A/C vents. We could hear the blower running, but found nothing blocking the air flow. Just before I put it back together, I decided to check one more thing: the blower harness connector. I found the wires reversed in the connector, caused by an updated part that had been installed almost two years prior.

Peter Neilson, Utah

Flying Solo

Having worked alone for many years, I developed a way to test circuits for battery (power) and ground using an aftermarket headlight reminder buzzer. It draws enough current to verify the integrity of the circuit, and it has to be connected correctly to work.

Bill Cox, New York

Editor's note: The use of an audio buzzer is also a good way to know when you've located a short or open while performing a harness "wiggle" test!

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