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When doing any sort of work or inspection on your vehicle it is very important to insure your safety, and that of others at all times. If done correctly working on a car or other vehicle is not necessarily dangerous, but by taking risks or trying to cut corners you can be putting yourself into un-necessary  danger.

Safely working on cars

Your working conditions

When working on a car it is important to make sure your working environment is safe. Ideally you should work in a warm dry place with adequate ventilation. A typical home garage can be the perfect place for any DIY mechanic.

The floor of your working area should be inspected prior to undertaking any work. Make sure it is clean, dry and contain no debris or sharp objects. You should ensure you brush the area properly before you drive the car into your working area. If you are going to be carrying out any work that involved running the vehicles engine (even for a short time) is it vitally important to ensure you have suitable ventilation. In a typical home garage I suggest leaving the door fully open and drive the car in, as opposed to reversing. This is to ensure that exhaust gasses can escape. 

Exhaust gasses are extremely dangerous. Never work in an environment where you are being exposed to excess exhaust gas. If you feel unwell at any point stop what you are doing and get out of your working area right away. Car exhaust fumes contain fairly high levels of carbon monoxide. This can, and has proved fatal.

Do not take any chances.


Your clothing

When ever you are working on a vehicle it is important to wear clothing that both keeps you warm and offers protection. Ideally you should wear a boiler suit or other type of overall. Don't wear your good clothes. It is very easy to damage or destroy clothing when working on a car or other vehicle.

Never wear loose fitting clothing. try and wear clothes that fits fairly tightly. If you are going to purchase a boiler suit, try and choose one that has elastic inserts at the waste and neck. these help keep the suit tight but still retain it's comfort. The reason for avoiding loose fitting garments, is because they can get caught on  parts or components. It has been known for mechanics to be injured as a result of clothing getting caught in machinery or moving parts.

You should also wear strong foot wear. Shoes or boots with a steel or re-enforced toe area are always preferred. You should not work on a vehicle wearing soft shoes or trainers.


When working on, or inspecting a car you should remove all jewellery. Not only can they easily become damaged, but they can be a source of personal injury. There are various electrical components on a vehicle. If an item of jewellery comes into contact with a live component it can result in serous burns. you should remove all neck jewellery and earrings. You should also remove your watch and any rings. If you have rings that cannot be removed you should tape them up with masking tape.


Your personal hygiene is very important in all aspects of  life. This is even more important when you are working on or inspecting a vehicle. Not only can your skin become dirty, it can also become infected with various chemicals.

Chemicals such as engine oil, anti-freeze and brake fluid can all be very damaging to the skin. You should take measures to project your self from such dangers. You may want to wear a pair of gloves when working on your vehicle. Thin latex gloves are the best option. because they do not impair your sense of touch as much as thicker gloves would, and thus they do not effect your dexterity as much. 

When working your gloves will very likely become damaged, but they will offer some level of protection. For further protection you may wish to use barrier cream. Barrier cream works by placing a waxy layer between your skin and the contaminant. This helps to protect your skin.

You should always  wash well after you have been working on your car, or at any time when you have been exposed to a lot of dirt or contaminant. For bets results you should use a hand wash that has been designed for  this purpose. An abrasive cleaner such as Swarfega will be your best bet.

Next: Safely jacking a car



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