Tech Tip: Simple Brake Tip

Jan. 1, 2020
Jason Washburn is 25 yearsw old and has been a service technician with Tires Plus for 8 years.

This month's winning tip is another classic.

Mitchell 1 tech tips automotive aftermarket vehicle repair tips technician tips Jason Washburn is a young technician working in Columbia Heights, Minn. His submitted tip is nothing new, but is a good example of what this contest is all about — passing along tips from one generation to the next. His tip? Let's let Jason tell us.

"A trick I use to make brake jobs with banjo fittings cleaner and simpler, I take some old valve stems and plug the fitting with them. It keeps the shop cleaner and prevents any debris from getting in the fittings."

It doesn't work on all applications, but it is a great way to seal off a dripping brake line while it's removed from the caliper. And it prevents damage to the brake line caused by the unacceptable use of any form of line crimper. Another plus is keeping brake fluid off of the floor, preventing a very real trip hazard in the shop.

Like many of you, I learned this trick back when I was Jason's age! But I am also willing to bet that others will have never heard of this tip, and I thank Jason for taking the time to share it with all of us. — Pete Meier


More Than One Way...

Ah, life as a flatrater! If you've been with Motor Age for any length of time, you know how much we stress the importance of following the OE recommendations and procedures. But as an old flat rate tech myself, I am keenly aware that there are legitimate ways to get the job done faster and easier than is often described in the service information. Here's one such suggestion:

"On Trailblazers with straight 6 cylinder motors, the water pump calls for 3.8 hours of labor. To cut that time down to less than an hour, remove the bolts from the fan clutch to the fan and install 2.5-inch long bolts instead. Now you can unscrew the clutch from water pump without all the extra labor of moving the radiator. Remove clutch and fan at the same time and remove the water pump — and it can all be done in less than an hour."

— Matt Grandinetti, New Jersey

When 'Solid' Isn't

"When working an electrical problem, especially on an older machine, always check the ground connections first. Even when the part in question is bolted directly to the frame, take a moment to see that the ground path is good.

"I had an older Alfa in the shop with the wiper motor not working. Power was present on both sides of the motor connector, but there was no movement. Well, I thought, the motor is 16 years old and is rarely used. But when I connected a test light to ground, I found the entire motor case was hot. Even though it was solidly bolted to the unibody, it was not solid electrically. I unbolted the motor, cleaned down to the bare metal on both contact surfaces with steel wool, and reattached the motor. Function was restored on all speeds, and without any hard-to-find parts.

"I have seen no-ground conditions on switches, relays and too many lights to remember. My point is that, power or ground, a good mechanical connection is not always an electrical connection."

— William Klamon, Washington, D.C.

And voltage drop is the best way to test. Learn all about it in the AutoPro Workshop at!

Jason Washburn is 26 years old and has been a service technician with Tires Plus for 8 years. He's ASE certified in seven out of eight areas and also certified in L1. Jason tells us he enjoys working on cars and learning something new every day. He also looks forward to each monthly issue of Motor Age!

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

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