This is one area that is extremely important, but everyone seems to forget.
Remember, as with everything with this site, these pages are only to be used as guides, not absolutes. Use common sense and consult the appropriate service manuals for your vehicle and use the directions and follow them for your tools. This is only a small part of a long list that can be made for safety. Before beginning, it would be good to read our DISCLAIMER page.
Before you start working on your vehicle.
Anytime you work on the vehicle, DISCONNECT THE BATTERY. Remember to have any radio or alarm codes ready before you disconnect the battery.
Here is a list of things you should have or precautions to take.
- Safety glasses
- Fire extinguisher
- Jack stands (When working on a vehicle that is off the ground.)
- Hearing protection (when using air tools)
- Boots with steel toe protection is a good idea when working with anything that could end up on your toes.
- When using a welder or cutting torch, wear proper welding/cutting lens and gloves.
Use only in ventilated areas. Make sure all flammables are away from welding or using torches.
- Use only sockets designated for impact wrenches on impact wrenches, other sockets can shatter.
- Remove all rings or jewelry, they are great electrical conductors.
- Study the job before you start and make a plan. Have the manual or copy of the information on hand.
- Read ALL directions and warnings of the repair BEFORE you start.
- Horseplay should be a No-No. Throwing tools in a fit can often result in the tool bouncing back at you.
Jacking up the vehicle.
- If you have to lift the vehicle and work on it, make sure the jack that you are using is in good condition and rated for the vehicle you are jacking up.
- Once the vehicle is jacked up, do not rely on the jack to support the vehicle.
- Always use jack stands or appropriate supports to support the weight of the vehicle.
Jackstands will sink into asphalt, so be sure to use them on a solid area, such as concrete.
- Make sure to chock the wheels before jacking it up, setting the park/emergency brake alone is not enough.
- It is strongly advised to where a dust mask anytime you are working around brake dust.
- Work to create as little dust as possible.
- When working with brake cleaner, use only in a well ventilated area.
- Contaminates and brake dust residue should be disposed of properly and the floor thoroughly cleaned when finished.
- NEVER use compressed air to blow brakes clean. Not only does it dispense nasty brake fibers into the air and into your lungs, it can also blow particles into your skin or eyes.
- Wheels, lug nuts, rotors and drums can be extremely hot, use CAUTION when working on brake systems after the vehicle has been driven.
- After any brake work, ALWAYS slowly pump the brake pedal to make sure the pedal is up, especially after replacing pads on disk brakes.
Working on an engine that is hot or running.
- Use Extreme CAUTION when working on a hot or running engine.
Moving parts can quickly remove body parts.
- When working around hot engine parts, use CAUTION as hot parts can easily burn.
- Use care to secure all loose clothing, that any loose clothing can not get caught up in moving parts.
- Never open a radiator/heater hose while engine is hot. If it must be opened, USE EXTREME CAUTION!
- Be aware that electric fans can start at any time, usually when your hand is closest to it.
Working around the battery.
- Be careful with tools around the battery, steel tools love to find their way between the posts of top post batteries.
- NO SMOKING around batteries.
- Batteries are explosive, use extreme care when working around them. Follow the warnings on the battery.
Working around Fuel.
- When disconnecting fuel lines, use CAUTION. Fuel can easily ignite by any ignition source.
- No smoking while working on your vehicle (gas fumes/battery gases).
- Use rags to catch fuel drops when opening lines. Store rags or soiled paper towels in a non-flammable container and away from any flammable source.
- Always work in a well-ventilated area, ESPECIALLY when working around gas fumes or a running engine.
- When disconnecting fuel lines, make sure the fuel system has been relieved of pressure.
(see appropriate repair manual for the correct procedure)
- If you have a gas water heater, be sure the pilot is out and it is turned off, before working on any fuel system.
Chemicals, working with them.
- Always Follow the manufacturer's directions on the container.
- Eye and skin protection from chemicals is a MUST.
- Airbags/SRS systems should ONLY be repaired by a competent, trained mechanic. PERIOD!Some other words of caution.
- Clean up any spills right away, oils become hazards that you can slip on, coolant becomes a desirable poison to animals and fuels can ignite. (Cat litter is a fair substitute for floor sweep or absorbent)
- ALWAYS know where your fingers are. They have a habit of getting in areas of moving parts and between heavy steel objects. Pain usually quickly follows. be aware of pinch points and knuckle busters.
- When working on the engine, remove the keys from the ignition and place them in your pocket, so no one can turn the ignition while you have your fingers in there.
- O2 and oil are a flammable mixture, never operate air tools with O2.
(Using compressed oxygen is extremely dangerous. DO NOT DO IT!)
- Ignition systems of today's vehicles are extremely HIGH VOLTAGE use extreme caution when working around the ignition system. The voltage can jump over a considerable gap.
- Do NOT use compressed air to blow parts clean or to blow dust off of you, as compressed air can quickly pierce the skin and send compressed air into the blood stream. NOT a good idea.
- NEVER stand in front of the vehicle when it is being started, especially after brake or transmission work.
There is the possibility the vehicle could lurch forward or backward.
- A/C systems should only be worked on by a qualified mechanic. Do not open the A/C system, as the chemicals can be harmful. Proper equipment is required to do A/C work and should be used.
- Know your limitations!! Know what you are and are not capable of. Getting in over your head can quickly cause you injury. If you do not fully understand the system or the procedure, it is best to have someone who is familiar with it, do the repair.
Please, remember that safety should always come first, especially if you are working in an area where your family or children may be around. As parents, we know our children love to come and help, so it is our responsibility to enforce the idea that safety should come first.
Folks, we would like you to know that this page was a combined effort of all of the mechanics to help you work safe and keep from harm.