Safety Tips You Must Follow When Working On Your Vehicle

Don’t Do These Mistakes When Working On Your Car

No matter how many times before you have done that oil filter change or control arm replacement, there is always the chance of you severely injuring yourself. Experience only makes your job easier, not any safer. So remember to use all the right precautions when working on your vehicle. Safety should always be the first priority in any work environment. Here are a few safety precautions that you may already follow or should start following right away. 

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What You Should Wear When Working On Your Vehicle

Wear The Right Safety Gloves

Wear The Right Safety Gloves

Undercarriage, the engine bay, and in fact most of the vehicle components are crammed together in tight spaces. When you are loosening that tight bolt, once it breaks loose, it is going to send your hand crashing into the nearest part. Which of course will bruise your knuckles, break fingers or worse. This is easily avoided by using larger extensions to avoid jamming your hand into the tight space, but you won't always have that space. So your only option is automotive gloves that have reinforced rubber backing which absorbs the impact so your knuckles don’t have to. If your hands are dirty, sweaty or greasy, they are more likely to slip. Such gloves protect your delicate fingers in case your hands slip. These have a better grip to hold on to things firmly preventing accidental slipping of your wrists. 

Similarly, if you are working in slippery conditions with tons of liquid around, then you need rubberized or latex gloves which maintain grip in slippery situations. Since you are working with your hands, and need them if you want to keep working on your vehicle, make sure you get the right set of gloves before you start. 

Put On Safety Glasses

What's more delicate than your fingers? I think we’d all agree it's our eyes. While our eyes provide us with the miracle of vision, we do little to ensure their safety. There are countless hazards in the garage that can cause serious eye issues like flying metal debris from grinding, welding sparks, airborne dust particles, etc. So keep your eyes safe and always wear safety glasses. Don't rely on your prescription glasses to provide safety, wear safety glasses on top of prescription glasses for maximum protection. Make sure you use a welding mask when welding to protect your sensitive eyes from harmful rays and sparks. 

Protective Clothing Is Necessary

In addition to protecting your eyes and hands, you should also wear protective gear to safeguard your arms, feet and the rest of your body. Cover the entire length of your arms and legs. And make sure the clothing is not too loose and you are not wearing any exposed jewellery or it can interfere with the machinery, causing serious accidents. Closed-toed shoes are also a necessity. 

Wear Masks And Respirators

Dust masks are something you should wear every time you’re in the garage. There are contaminants, debris, and other airborne particles like brake dust that can enter your system and cause breathing problems, trigger an allergy or something much worse. When working with solvents, paints, fibreglass, etc., make sure you use appropriate respirators to prevent inhalation of such substances. Keep the garage door open because staying in an enclosed region for too long with the engine running can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Protect Your Ears

Wear hearing protection when working with impact tools, grinders or other loud machinery regularly. The noise can eventually add up to a point when it can damage your ears. 

Jacking Up The Vehicle The Right Way

Most jobs will involve lifting the vehicle. So it is important this step is done right. Here are few things to keep in mind:

  • Always place the jack on chassis jacking points as mentioned in the vehicle manual. The last thing you want is the jack making a hole through the cabin floor pan. 
  • If you’re going to be working under the vehicle then you can not just rely on the floor jacks or car racks. You also need to use jack stands, aka axle stands on both sides of the vehicle to prevent accidental drops. So use jack stands to support the vehicle after it’s been lifted with a floor jack or vehicle rack.
  • Always jack the vehicle on a flat, level and solid surface like a concrete floor or asphalt. Do not jack the vehicle on grass, slant or slippery surfaces. 
  • Chock the wheels on the car when the vehicle is jacked up from one end. 
  • Make sure the jacks you use are rated to carry more than the weight of your vehicle. 

Basic Safety Tips Everyone Should Follow

Make sure you have checked these things before off your list before you start work on your vehicle. 

  • You must work within your limit. Some jobs are too tricky, precise, daunting or simply require the right tools and equipment to be carried out successfully. So before you start working understand the complexity of the task and proceed accordingly. Feel free to get help from a professional if you are stuck. Remember there are some jobs outside the scope of the average DIY mechanic which are best left to the pros. 
  • According to the job at hand, wear the appropriate safety equipment.
  • Disconnect the battery before you start working on the vehicle. 
  • Mind the temperature of the vehicle and the various components before you start. For example, undoing the radiator cap on a hot engine is very dangerous. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit handy at all times. 
  • Keep your workbench and area organized. Neat working space will increase productivity and reduce the chances of accidental damages. Ensure the work bay is clean and free from spilled liquids and oils. 
  • Use proper high-quality tools and equipment. A good set of tools will pretty much pay for themselves after a few work sessions. Remember this when purchasing DIY mechanic tools for your shop or garage and buy quality tools that are the right for the job. For example, don’t use pliers instead of a wrench or a screwdriver as a pry bar.
  • Properly contain and dispose the fluids. Oils and fluids drained from the vehicle need to be returned to a professional garage, recycling center or service stations to be disposed of properly.  
  • The owner’s manual is your best friend and has pretty much all the information you would need for most common jobs. Refer to it before you start.
  • Work with a friend or family member. If you prefer to work alone, make sure someone knows where you are and keep your phone close by. 
  • Fire hazard is no joke. Keep flammable substances away from running engines and do not smoke near any flammable liquids or in the garage period. 

You don’t have to be a professional to work on your vehicle but you still need to take just as many precautions as one. Not adhering to safety standards or following the right safety procedures when working on your vehicle at home is a recipe for disaster. Working on your beloved car can be a rewarding experience given that its ends happily. But for it to end happily, you need to start with safety. Keep that in mind the next time you enter your garage. 

While we are on the subject of safety and precautions, here are few things that should not do in your vehicle as it can cause major damage to you or the vehicle. 

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