No matter how complicated a car might be, taking it apart is usually pretty easy. But getting it back together so that it works right? Well that can be a whole different story. And I’ve got a couple of tips to how we do it in the repair shop.

See, one of the most valuable tools that we have is right here. This is a paint pen. We buy them in little packages like this, and we use them all day long, everyday. Now we use them for things like these marks that we’ve put here on the sprockets and the timing belt so that we know where they align.

Now the reality of this is, we take something apart, and say, well, ‘we’re not going to disturb the timing belt.’ Well, we’re working around the timing belt. And I have to tell you, stuff happens. Stuff that you wouldn’t imagine happens.

And that means you might wind up with a timing belt that has slipped and unless you have marks, you’re got a real tough job getting in aligned again. Once it’s been marked like this, all you have to do is realign the marks.

Now in some cases bolts will be specific to a certain position. So we make little deigns on the bolts and matching designs on the sprockets or part that the bolt holds in place. So that saves a lot of time.

The other thing is when we’re taking wiring apart, on newer cars, there may be 100 wire connectors under the hood. And many of those wire connectors may be interchangeable as far as their position is concerned. So here again, we put a number on both halves of the connector so we know which connector goes in what positon.

And we do that to things underneath the car like this axel we marked as “right front.” Maybe we have an all-wheel drive vehicle and we got all four axels out of it and they all look very similar but they actually are not. Save a lot of time as marking them as to their position so that we can put them back in properly.

The other thing is that brakes and all kinds of things like this work well as far as marking them with these paint pens. But that doesn’t do anything for the overall layout of the particular system that we’re working on. So that’s where out camera comes into play.

See we take a picture of the general layout of what we’re working with. And maybe on breaks we take a close up so we know where all the little springs and clips and everything go. That way we have a diagram to work from when we put it back together. That way we get it back together and it work right the first time.

If you have a question or comment, drop me a line right here at Motorweek.