Your Corner Wrench: Spraying away your mechanical blues

Every DIYer knows you should have a bottle of WD40 nearby. But what else do you need?

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Nearly every DIY-er has a collection of spray cans on the work bench to solve a host of problems. Think, WD40 or silicone spray lubrication, for example. These handy chemical concoctions can save a lot of skinned knuckles and keep things moving, but there are some lesser known sprays that you might want to add to your collection

Quick Start is basically ether in a spray can. Many an arm has been saved from constant pulling on a rope-recoil lawnmower or snowblower with a quick shot of this down the carburetor’s throat, but it has other uses as well. Ether is a great drying agent as it evaporates quickly, even in low temperatures. When sprayed on wet surfaces, it can remove moisture as it dries.

This makes it a great tool to dry out a wet ignition wire system on older vehicles. But be warned – when older spark plug wires age, their casings will dry out and crack, risking sparks as the electricity flowing through takes the path of least resistance to some metal surface nearby. If you spray too much ether in a poorly ventilated area and don’t let it evaporate enough, you can ignite the fumes.

Silicone lubricating compound can come to the rescue if you manage to bring an older car back to life with a shot of ether and still have a few days of wet driving before getting ignition wires replaced.

In addition to being a handy lube-all treatment, it’s also a great waterproofing agent. After letting the engine warm up to dry things out under the hood as much as possible, coat the wires with a generous spray to keep moisture from getting back in.

Lysol can freshen up your car’s HVAC system. While winter doesn’t bring a lot of mold and mildew problems to your vehicle’s heating system, the warmer weather just around the corner tends to cause a great deal of unpleasant odours, thanks to these growths on HVAC heater and evaporator cores.

Service shops do a bang-up business selling some expensive treatments to cure this, but you can achieve similar results with Lysol. This treatment in particular has mold/mildew killers brewed into its recipe, unlike the majority of room perfumes. Just start the vehicle, set the HVAC system to full heat, set the fan to mid-speed, and engage the system’s recirculation mode by depressing the ‘MAX A/C’ button.

Then, fog the floor area of the interior with Lysol and close the doors and windows. After as little as 10 minutes, followed by a thorough windows-down airing-out, the combination of dry heat and Lysol will almost completely eliminate the odour.

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