Fixing something broken is fulfilling. Whether you’re fixing something as big as your car or as small as your child’s game console, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction you won’t be able to easily replicate. And in the case of a broken car, taking it on and actually succeeding is a feeling like no other. Especially if you’re someone who likes getting their hands dirty and finds that a Saturday afternoon spent tinkering and fixing something is an afternoon well-spent.
However, DIY car repair shouldn’t be treated lightly. Whenever you take a crack at fixing something as large as a car, it’s best to prioritize safety. You and your car’s safety, of course. You need to respect the dangers of repairing a car- they’re a hunk of metal that definitely weighs more than you. While DIY repairs shouldn’t be too dangerous, it’s still better to take care of yourself. Prevention is always better than cure, and here’s a small list of things to keep in mind to keep your DIY repairs as safe as possible.
Know Your Tools
Before you even start, know if your tools will be up to the task. You might not have all the tools needed to fix the job, and if that’s the case you should head off to purchase the tools needed rather than pressing on. Excitement can make us go ahead without the proper tools and that normally results in disaster. You don’t want to open up your car just to realize that you don’t have the tools necessary halfway through.
After making sure you have the proper tools, make sure also you’re wearing the adequate clothing for the job. This means no accessories like necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. You should also avoid wearing loose clothing as they can snag inside the machine and other moving parts. Eye protection is also a must since there might be fragments that can get in your eye and cause terrible discomfort. You can also wear safety gloves and construction boots to keep your hands and feet safe.
It’s well-known that automotive vehicles contain potential fire hazards, thus having fire prevention equipment nearby is crucial. Working with the fuel lines, fuel tanks, or the engine always has a chance of causing a fire so keep a fire extinguisher nearby to properly address the situation should it ever come up. Make sure that your fire extinguisher can take on gasoline or electrical fire as well, as different sources of flame react to different fire retardant chemicals.
As a footnote, it’s best to avoid smoking when repairing your car as the embers from a cigarette can cause spark a fire as well.
Disconnect from Power Sources
Never forget to disconnect power fuses and battery cables if you’re doing repair work on parts that require electricity(like repairing a starter, broken wiring or switch, and installing a radio). This is important as it can result in both injury and damage to your car. There is a danger of an electrical short circuit that can injure you, or you might accidentally trigger the airbag (which can be dangerous and costly to have replaced).
Properly Support Your Vehicle
Working underneath a car is as dangerous as it sounds. You should not fully trust a jack to hold your vehicle up- especially if you’re planning to crawl under it. Always make sure that you have a pair of proper support stands positioned underneath to keep it aloft. Another thing to consider is that your support stands should be rated equal or more than your vehicle’s weight to ensure that they won’t give on you. Don’t use paint cans, wheels, chunks of wood or anything other than the support stands because they might slip and the vehicle might collapse on you.
Know What You Can and Cannot Do
It’s frustrating and disappointing when you can’t troubleshoot the problem, but that’s the nature of DIY repairs. There will be instances when the problem is too great for you and needs professional help to properly address- and that’s okay. Knowing your limits and staying within them will keep you from punching above your own weight. The last thing you want is breaking something else- or worse, hurting yourself. Don’t be too tough on yourself when you find DIY repairs too hard, sometimes it’s easier to let a professional do it for you.
Repairing your own car can be a very fulfilling experience. But there are a lot of things to take into consideration to make sure that you and your care are safe. Take the necessary precautions, and have fun fixing your car.