Jim’s Blog: Neat Car Tricks

Ever gone to tune up your classic car when it’s still semi-warm from being driven? Did you burn your hand on the exhaust manifold or header? Here’s a neat trick I’ve used for years to eliminate that problem:

The first thing you’ll need is an old pushrod. The one I used is a 3/8-inch unit from an old big-block Chevy that I had sitting around. The second thing you’ll need is a section of 3/8-inch fuel line — the small ends that come in the box with with a metal fuel filter are perfect here. Lastly, you’ll need a compression-style hose clamp.

Slide the hose over the end of the pushrod and secure it there with the clamp. Then grind the three tabs off the clamp, or beat them flat with a hammer so you can rotate it without them catching anything. Voila! You now have a free spark plug tool.

This works way better than the insert-style sockets, and it allows you to start your plug’s threads by hand and run them up tight before using a socket and ratchet — if you have aluminum heads, this is especially important. This also works great on Hemi engines, or anything modern that features plugs down inside the valve covers.

Too long? Cut off the end of the pushrod or just use a section of hose. Simple and effective.

Got any of your own neat car tricks you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below.