Top 10 Safety Tips For Car Repairs
Almost all car repair and servicing procedures require basic safety precautions to prevent serious personal injury, and even death, so to help you work on your car safely, we have compiled this list of safety precautions and considerations to keep you safe, and out of harm’s way.
Always use a proper trolley jack
The jack that came with your car is intended for emergency use only, such as when you need to change a flat tire at the roadside. It should never be used to jack up a car for any other reason, including routine maintenance and repairs, since it is not designed to support the weight of a car for extended periods of time.
Always use a proper, industry-standard wheeled jack that is rated at a minimum of three tons, and five tones if you are going to use to lift anything heavier than a medium-sized family car. In addition, only jack up a car on hard, LEVEL surfaces, to ensure the safety of all persons concerned.
Moreover, safe jacking points differ from car to car, so familiarize yourself with the correct jacking points for your car to prevent the car slipping of the jack.
Always use proper jack stands
The only safe way to support a vehicle is with properly constructed and rated jack stands that are inserted under suitable strong points, and then only on a hard, LEVEL surface. Many people have been seriously injured, and even killed because they used tree stumps, bricks, plastic crates, and other unsuitable items to support a car they were working on.
Jack stands should also only ever be used in pairs. If you need to work on front wheel, jack up and support the entire front end of the car to ensure it cannot slip off a single stand, and possibly kill you because it was not supported in safe manner.
Always wear eye protection
If you are going to be working under a car, always wear suitable eye protection to prevent sand, dust, or even fuel and oil falling into your eyes. Serious eye injuries can result through contact with fuel and oil, and there are many one-eyed amateur mechanics in the world today to prove it.
Wear full-face protection when working with batteries
Batteries contain highly corrosive acids and an explosive gas, which together, pose real dangers. Even the dust that collects on top of a battery can contain sulfuric acid that can cause blindness if it comes into contact with your eyes. Apart from cleaning, or possibly replacing your battery, the better option is to leave all other operations that involve battery acid for trained persons to deal with.
Wear a dust mask when working with brakes
Although asbestos has been banned as an ingredient in brake friction material, brake dust contains several other harmful substances, so to avoid inhaling the dust, always wear a dust mask, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Never use compressed air to remove brake dust, since it exposes innocent bystanders to the dust, which can be carcinogenic if it contains asbestos.
Wear gloves when working with oil
Skin contact with used engine oil can cause serious skin conditions, such as dermatitis, so be sure to always wear thick nitrite rubber gloves when you change oil. Disposable surgical gloves are useless as protection against used oil, so do not wear them.
Use the right tool for the job
Many injuries during car repair procedures occur because the wrong tool was used at the wrong time. Always use the tools of the highest quality to prevent them slipping and skinning your knuckles, and do not use screw drivers as small crowbars, because they can break, which can break your fingers, or even a wrist.
Disconnect the battery
We realize that you need electric current to test electrical circuits, but if you work on other components where the danger of short circuiting the electrical system exists, such as near te alternator, starter, or battery poles, disconnect the battery to prevent damage to the system should you accidentally touch a live connection.
Do not open the radiator cap
If the engine is hot, the cooling system is highly pressurized, and you have no way to contain this pressure should you open the radiator cap. The escaping coolant and steam is hot enough to cause third degree burns over much of your body, so NEVER open the cooling system unless the engine is COLD.
Never smoke while working on a car
Smoking is not only bad for your health; it is also dangerous when you are working under the hood of a car. Burning cigarettes are excellent ignition sources, and many cars have been set alight when cigarettes have ignited fuel vapors.
Charging batteries generate highly explosive hydrogen gas, which is vented into the engine compartment, so if you smoke when working on a running engine you run the very real risk of igniting the gas, which can cause the battery to explode like a bomb, which makes smoking while working on a car a really bad idea.