Working on your car is a great hobby — and a great way to save money on car repairs — but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Here are three tips and tricks to help you stay safe while you’re working on your BMW.
- Invest in Jack Stands
Your car probably came with a spare tire, a lug wrench and a half-way decent jack to get it off the ground — but that isn’t all you need to stay safe.
If you’re going to be working on your car regularly, invest in a good set of jack stands or blocks, and don’t ever get under your BMW if it is just up on a jack. It doesn’t take much to knock a car off a single jack, and you don’t want 2000+ pounds dropping on your head while you’re trying to change your oil or swap out your starter.
Invest in jack stands — they could save your life.
- Make Your Garage Safer
If you’re working on a car, chances are you’re either in your garage or driveway. Working in a garage can present its own hazards, so it’s important to be aware of them.
First, get your garage door inspected and repaired if necessary. Garage doors are involved in more than 30,000 injuries every year, so having it checked by a professional can help to prevent injuries. It also helps to ensure your door will open and close properly, so you don’t end up with your project car stuck in the garage.
Don’t ever start your car — even for just a few minutes — with the garage door closed. It might be tempting, especially if it’s excessively cold or hot outside, but it puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you expect to have to run your car with the door closed, invest in a high-end ventilation system to ensure no car exhaust gets a chance to build up in your garage.
Keep your tools organized and your floor clear. Get rid of any potential trip hazards you might not see if you’re focused on your repair job.
- Be Aware
Even if your car is off, under the hood can be a dangerous place. Be aware of other potential dangers, including:
- Spinning Fans: Your radiator fans can keep spinning for 15 to 20 minutes after the engine is shut off to facilitate cooling, and a swiftly spinning fan can easily cause lacerations. Be cautious when working with these fans or pull their relay to ensure that they won’t be spinning while you’re working.
- Radiator Caps: Coolant gets hot when your engine is running — sometimes upwards of 230 degrees F — and the system is under high pressure while the engine is running and for some time after you shut it off. Don’t crack the radiator cap when the engine is hot if you can avoid it.
- Fuel Lines: Fuel lines are pressurized, so if you need to remove them for whatever reason, make sure you release the pressure before you start disconnecting things. Spilled fuel is a fire hazard, especially if you’re working with electricity or anything else that generates sparks.
Take the time to be aware of the hazards that come with working on your car. Even something as simple as a spinning radiator fan could send you to the hospital for stitches if you’re not careful.
We all love working on our cars, but no one likes having to spend time in the hospital because we’ve injured ourselves while trying to repair a project car. Stay safe and enjoy working on your BMW. A busted knuckle is a badge of honor, but a hospital bill because you couldn’t be bothered to invest in jack stands is not.