4 DIY auto repair safety tips for the at-home gearhead

So, you want to save a few bucks and get your hands a little dirty. Good for you! But before you grab...

So, you want to save a few bucks and get your hands a little dirty. Good for you! But before you grab a wrench and tackle some routine auto repair tasks, think safety first. Take a few minutes to run through this checklist.

1. Stabilize the car
So many DIY tasks require jacking the car up a bit. If you're changing the oil or replacing tires, remember to use blocks behind the tires so they can't roll, engage the parking break and keep the engine turned off. You don't want the car to move even an inch when you're tucked underneath!

2. Increase ventilation
Sure, working in your cozy suburban Atlanta garage is convenient, but remember to keep the garage door open, even in cool weather. A buildup of fumes from gasoline, coolant or chemical cleansers can make you feel dizzy or cause you to pass out without much warning. And, never smoke or burn candles while performing any kind of auto repair. Combining liquids from the car and a flame is a recipe for disaster.

3. Dress properly
Dressing for a day of car repairs requires more than slipping into an old pair of jeans and work shirt. Remove all rings, bracelets, necklaces and any other accessories that can become tangled in moving belts or the creeper casters. If you have long hair, pull it back into a ponytail. If you must wear long sleeves, choose a shirt with tapered cuffs to keep loose fabric from getting in the way. Keep safety goggles and a welding mask nearby.

4. Have a buddy
The biggest safety rule for any auto project is to have a helper. An extra set of hands not only makes the task easier, but if anything should go wrong, someone can call for help. Keep a cell phone handy and let family members in the home know that you're working on the car.

Is your DIY auto maintenance getting to be a little more work than you expected? It's ok. Give a local auto repair shop in Atlanta a call. Ask if they offer free estimates and towing to the shop.

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