Car repair: A life or death situation?

Jun 7, 2013, 6:37 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2013, 8:24 pm

This past week, my church family lost a dear brother to what a news article called a “freak accident” while working on his car in his driveway. Saddened by the news, I couldn’t help but think about all the close calls I had while working on cars before I made a profession out of it.

With that thought, I realized “freak accident” was not the right terminology. People being seriously injured or killed when working on their car is more common than one might think. A simple tire change in the driveway or side of the road can become life threatening.

The tragedy of losing Sgt. Brad Piccirillo gives me the burden of reminding our community about the dangers of working on our cars.

Supporting Vehicles:

The number one most fatal mistake, as in Brad’s situation, is raising the vehicle to work under you. Always, always use good jack stands and good ramps with wheel chocks when working under the vehicle. A floor jack or the jack that came with the car is not sufficient if you’re getting under the car. Don’t be in a hurry getting under an improperly supported vehicle. If you’re at all unfamiliar with changing a tire, ask for help.

Fans & Belts:

A common way people are maimed when working on cars involves the engine cooling fan and fan belts: If the engine is running and the hood is up, don’t even consider putting any hand or limb anywhere near the engine compartment. Put the car keys in your pocket before reaching under a hood. I have personally seen seasoned technicians loose fingers because they were careless with this.

Radiator Caps:

It’s tempting, but one of the first mistakes people make when their car is overheating is taking the radiator cap off. This almost always results in getting badly scalded. Don’t do it! The car must be stone cold before removing a radiator cap. Again, if you’re not sure, get qualified help.

Batteries:

One of the easier items for the average do-it-yourselfer to handle on their own is a battery change. It’s generally not too hard but can be very dangerous. Again, I have personally seen seasoned technicians get seriously injured by this one. Given the right set of circumstances, batteries can blow up. When batteries off of gas hydrogen geet combined with a small spark – BOOM – you just got an acid bath. Always, always wear gloves and safety glasses when changing batteries or even jump-starting a car.

Be safe!!

To learn more information about Sgt Brad Piccirillo,
click here.


Join co-hosts Matt Allen and Dave Riccio on Bumper to Bumper Radio, Arizona’s top automotive show heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. right here on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. Call in with your questions at (602) 277-5827. You can also reach us 24/7 at bumpertobumperradio.com for the best partners, products and advice!

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Car repair: A life or death situation?