Mechanic says new engine covers are a ticking time bomb for owners

@mechaniclink/TikTok Setta Sornnoi/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘This engineering is unacceptable’: Mechanic says new engine covers are a ticking time bomb for owners

'You want to know why people are quitting the automotive industry?'


Chad Swiatecki


Posted on May 12, 2024

We’ve all had that feeling of dread hang over us while we’re in an auto repair shop and the hours crawl by while we wait for the verdict on how much it’ll cost to get our car or truck running again.

You may imagine that the repair crews are moving slow to add on more labor time and up the repair bill, but a recent TikTok video explains that in at least one case there’s poor engineering and design to blame for the long wait.

TikTok creator MechanicLink (@mechaniclink), who is identified as Michael Griffin of Norfolk, Virginia, on his Instagram account, takes us under the hood of a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck to vent about the complicated and apparently pointless engine cover component that makes any repair work time consuming and tedious.

“You want to know why people are quitting the automotive industry? It’s because of [expletive] like this,” Griffin starts off while venting about the many pieces incorporated into an engine cover that can break off, requiring a complete replacement (at a cost of $150-$200 before installation). For context, the normal repair bill on a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado appears to be around $550.

He then shows his frustration over how difficult it is for even an expert mechanic like him to remove the engine cover to examine the single most important part of a vehicle.

And it gets worse from there.

The hidden dangers of the vehicle snorkel on newer cars

“You have to get to the hose clamp that’s buried as [expletive] in there. This engineering is unacceptable. If the snorkel rips or if the air tube that goes to the PCV valve breaks, then you have to replace the whole [expletive] thing,” he said.

Griffin goes on to explain that the vehicle is set up so that performing a test with the engine running requires the cover to be secured back in place, potentially requiring it to be removed and reinstalled several times to perform simple maintenance steps.

Griffin then devises a way to work around needing the engine cover in place at all by installing a new snorkel to the PCV valve—that being the only vital function built into the piece—so he could dispose of the engine cover entirely.

For the offended engineers claiming the unfriendly design and function was necessitated by business decisions of “bean counters”  to cut manufacturing costs, Griffin doesn’t let them off the hook.

“In some cases, I believe it, but not this time. This wasn’t created out of innovation. No, this was built out of fear. I’m willing to bet that there was a team of engineers who were looking at getting fired, so they designed this and told the bean counters ‘Hey, this is better.’”

Commenters on Griffin’s clip seemed to support his frustration, with some suggesting the design was intended to require all maintenance to be performed at costly dealership maintenance facilities.

“it’s cause domestic manufacturers are high key designing barriers to ‘right to self repair/maintenance’ so we are forced to take it in and pay $$$,” one noted.

@mechaniclink OOPS brain fart, I meant 3.6L V6. There are other designs with the snorkel built into the cover, but the cover skirt here is too wide to do any quick diags. #mechanic #technician #repair #auto #chevy ♬ original sound – MechanicLink

Others suggested that engineers need to be replaced with maintenance techs, many of whom seem to prefer the designs and function of ‘90s-era trucks to what’s offered today: “I think we need a bunch of mechanics to get together and design a solid truck that can be easily maintained,” another wrote.

DailyDot has reached out to Griffin via email for more information.

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*First Published: May 12, 2024, 9:07 am CDT