While a Honda VTEC solenoid rarely goes bad, problems with VTEC not engaging properly are extremely common. Most of the time incorrect wiring is to blame, but occasionally something even smaller is the culprit. A week ago, a buddy of ours mentioned that his S2K felt sluggish throughout the upper reaches of the powerband. A quick scan with an OBD II reader showed nothing out of the ordinary (an electrical failure in the VTEC system should show as a DTC1259 code), so we proceeded to inspect all electrical connectors on the ECU and VTEC solenoid to ensure they were secure-they were. Perplexed, we removed the VTEC solenoid, inspected the small screen filter mounted on a rubber seal behind the solenoid, and found the culprit: the screen was completely encased in a thick, spent oil/blowby residue, preventing oil pressure from entering the solenoid to trigger VTEC-a common condition for high-mileage Honda engines. The filter was removed, carefully cleaned with brake cleaner, and reinstalled. A quick drive around the street verified our problem had been fixed, and the car was once again singing to the tune of VTEC.