Suzanne Keane gives some advice on how to safely maintain your car
When you’re working on your own car it’s always easier to just jump right in and get going. Unfortunately accidents happen so you should always take the necessary precautions to stop your car from injuring you or someone else.
At the side of the road –
Always carry a warning triangle! If you have to pull in, get as far off the road as possible. If you need to change a tyre find a safe place to pull in far enough so that you will be out of the way of oncoming traffic. If you’re on the motorway get out of the car and step well inside the crash barrier. If you’re jacking up the car to change a wheel put the old wheel underneath the sill until the new wheel is on – this will stop the car falling on the ground, and you, if the jack fails.
At home –
If you’re doing any engine work be wary of boiling hot pipes, steam and keep your hands away from any moving parts – even if they aren’t moving right now! (I spoke to a mechanic at the weekend who said he was one of the few who still had all his fingers after 40 years)
When jacking up a car, make sure you jack on a solid surface. Use a trolley jack if you can – scissor jacks are known as widow makers for a reason!
If you, or any part of you (legs, hands etc) will be underneath the car – use Axle stands and always make sure the car is in gear and handbrake on before you start.
Never work alone – even if it means dragging a neighbour outside to drink coffee and chat while you’re working – and most importantly if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, leave it to someone who knows!
11th March, 2013