10 health & safety tips for anyone working with cars

Repairing a motor vehicle can involve a variety of dangers but following the correct Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines will help prevent accidents. Here are ten very useful tips for anyone working with cars.

1. Protecting your hands

When working on a motor vehicle it is always advisable you wear the correct gloves – to find the most appropriate type you should click here for more advice. While repairing an engine the chances of getting chemicals, or grease, on your hands is highly likely so protection is important.

2. Using a jack

There are many different types of lifting gear available, from industrial hydraulic jacks to the type supplied with the vehicle for changing tyres. The latter of these is not safe enough for a person to work under and can give way, causing serious injury or worse.

3. Prop up the car

If you are attempting to carry out work on the underside of a car or its engine you should always prop it up with something that you know is not going to slip or fall. Using strong wooden blocks and not a pile of bricks is probably safer for you or anyone else working underneath.

4. Safety precautions and fuel

According to the UK Fire Service there are an estimated 100,000 car fires each year in the UK and around 100 deaths. Many of these are started accidentally with people working on engines without the correct knowledge or experience.

5. Switch off your engine

If you are ever in any doubt about the safety of your car and see smoke coming from any part of the vehicle, you should always turn off the ignition before getting out and standing at a safe distance. Then call the emergency services.

6. Wear protective clothing

Wearing the correct clothing will prevent you from not only ruining your own clothes, but will also protect you from dangerous chemicals or fluids from brake pipes or the battery.

7. Changing a tyre

If you get a flat tyre while driving you should try to pull over so that you don’t obstruct the road. Once you have done this, and you decide to change the wheel yourself, make sure that you are well away from any passing traffic. Don’t ever change a wheel on the motorway.

8. Welding 

You should not attempt to carry out any welding on a car unless you have the correct training and experience. There have been many cases where people have started to weld a broken seal and ended up causing a fire by setting light to wiring and fuel lines.

9. Don’t attempt something you don’t understand

There are lots of reasons people attempt to repair their own cars, most of which are financial. The cost of taking your car to a garage can be eye watering, but it’s better than trying to carry out the work yourself and making it worse.

10. Use the correct tools

If you are going to carry out work on your car and feel confident that you can do a good job, then make sure you have the right tools for the job. You can cause yourself a lot of damage by using the wrong spanners or screwdrivers.