Auto Service World
Feature   July 1, 2001   by CARS Magazine

Magnets save time and frustration

Ever do an interior or under dash job and have dozens of small fasteners to cope with? Many technicians use power screwdrivers or cordless drills to speed installation and removal of trim screws and w...


Ever do an interior or under dash job and have dozens of small fasteners to cope with? Many technicians use power screwdrivers or cordless drills to speed installation and removal of trim screws and washers, but how do you get the right screw in the right place during reassembly? A handy tip is to epoxy a low-cost strip magnet across the top or side of the drill or screwdriver, allowing you to “stick” the screw or washer to the tool as you work, keeping your off hand free, and minimizing the chance of dropped or lost fasteners. A series of small disk magnets in a row lets you keep trim fasneners and clips in groups, while a continuous strip magnet adds another convenience: drag your screwdriver bit across the strip, and enough residual magnetism can be applied to the bit to hold those tiny screws in place while you’re jammed in a dark place.

Those small button magnets can also be epoxied to the top of the handle of small screwdrivers to create an instant pick-up just by flipping the tool in your hand. Another trick is to glue or screw alligator clips to disc magnets to act as a third hand when pulling apart wiring harnesses. Use a reasonably strong magnet, for example, place it on the firewall or fender apron, and it can hold individual wires away from an open harness for easier troubleshooting. There are lots of ways to use low cost magnets to make your life a little easier, so pick up a few at your local hardware or building supply centre and experiment. Just remember that computers and relays don’t take kindly to stray magnetic fields, so use your judgement around these devices.


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