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Auto Repair Safety

My Automatic TransmissionPLEASE - When working on and around any vehicle, make safety your #1 priority.  Serious and even fatal injuries can and do occur.

Seriously, READ THIS SAFETY INFORMATION - It Could Save Your From Serious Injury or Worse!


Is Working on My Car Really Dangerous

Working on or around vehicles can be dangerous if you fail to take basic safety precautions.  Fortunately, the most common injuries are not serious or life threatening, but fatal accidents do occur.  For the DIY mechanic, working underneath a raised vehicle that is not properly secured presents the greatest risk for serious injury or death.

Most Common Injuries:

My Automatic TransmissionBruises and cuts to the hands, fingers and arms.  These injuries are primarily caused by hands slipping off a wrench (or the wrench slipping off a difficult to remove nut and bolt) and then making hard contact with another part of the vehicle.

Burns to the hands, fingers and arms.  These injuries are primarily caused by contact with hot parts and equipment.

Muscle strains.  Overexertion and lifting heavy and cumbersome parts and equipment is the source for back and other muscle strains.  Awkward body positions are also a source of muscle strains.

Slips and falls.  A variety of different injuries are the result of slips and falls due to oil and other substances being spilled on the floor.  Tools left out is another source for slips and falls.

Burns to the face and other parts of the body.  These burns are primarily caused by battery explosions, hot engine fluids and scalding hot coolant.

Eye discomfort and damage.  Dirt and grease getting into the eyes cause discomfort.  Being hit by parts and tools in or near the eye is a source for eye injuries.

Broken bones.  Falling car parts such as a transmission, engine, subframe, suspension and brake parts can break bones.

Skin punctures. The slip of a screwdriver, sharp nosed pliers, a drill, etc. can cause punctures to the bands and fingers.

More Serious and Fatal Injuries:

Being struck by a flying or falling part can cause a multitude of serious injuries.  A vehicle falling of a lift, rack or jack can be fatal.  But, the good news is that the vast majority of injuries can be avoided - here's how.

  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Auto mechanics are more likely than the average worker to be injured or killed on the job.  Source:      

Basic Safety Tips and Precautions

 To reduce your chances of being injured, study and adhere to these simple and straightforward safety precautions.  Seriously, just do it!  

ALWAYS... Let someone know you are working on a vehicle, especially if you plan to raise the vehicle and work underneath it. Ask them to check on your occasionally.

ALWAYS... For added safety, place a large rag or towel over the radiator cap before loosening. 

ALWAYS... Remove jewelry before working underneath the hood.  Jewelry can bridge electrical connections, which will cause a spark and possible fire. 

ALWAYS... Tie back long hair or wear a cap with hair tucked inside when working under the hood with the engine running.

ALWAYS... Keep a fire extinguisher close by.

ALWAYS... Place shifter in "P" Park (or 1st gear if manual transmission), set the emergency brake, and chock/block one of the wheels when working on a vehicle.

ALWAYS... Pull to loosen nuts and bolts when possible.  When pushing, there is a greater risk of injury if the wrench slips.  Routinely check condition of wrenches and sockets.     

ALWAYS... Wear safety glasses when working underneath a raised vehicle.

ALWAYS...  Wear safety glasses when charging, removing or replacing a car battery and when working with the fuel system or air conditioning system.

ALWAYS... Wear safety glasses when using a drill, grinder and other power tools.

ALWAYS...  Clean up oil and other spills immediately.

NEVER... Start the engine in an enclosed area.  Open a garage door or multiple windows for ventilation before starting the engine.  Exhaust fumes can kill you!

NEVER... Work underneath a vehicle that is supported by a jack only. Jack stands must be used or use car ramps.  See how to correctly raise and support a vehicle.

NEVER... Work on a hot engine or brakes.

NEVER...  Loosening or remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot.

NEVER... Use a grinding wheel that is cracked, grooved or chipped.

NEVER...  Hold or pull on a spark plug wire or any other electrical wiring when the engine is running.  Electrical shock can occur.

NEVER... Wear loose fitting clothing when working under the hood with the engine running.

NEVER...  Stand directly in front of the vehicle when working under the hood with the engine running.  Stand on one side or the other.

NEVER... Smoke when working under the hood or underneath a raised vehicle.

NEVER...  Work underneath a car with the engine running.

Additional Safety Precautions for Transmission/Transaxle Removal
and Installation

In addition to other auto repair safety precautions, there are additional safety precautions you need to be aware of that are specific to transmission and transaxle removal and installation.

> A transmission jack should be used when removing and installing an automatic transmission.  A floor jack will work also, but you must be very careful as the transmission can easily fall off a regular floor jack. 

> Transmissions and transaxles are both heavy and cumbersome.  Do not attempt to remove a transmission without a helper.

> Regardless of the type of jack you use to lower and raise the transmission, do your best to position the jack so the weight of the transmission is evenly distributed on the jack.  With two people, hold the transmission on the jack while lowering or raising the jack.  jack holding transmission

> If using a hydraulic floor jack for lowering/raising the transmission, be sure the jack extends high enough to reach the transmission once the vehicle is raised.  If necessary, place a wooden block on the jack (between the jack and transmission) to increase the lift.  When doing this, please note that the wooden block can cause the transmission to become less stable so proceed with extra caution.

> When lowering and raising the transmission/transaxle, keep the rear of the transmission slightly lower than the front so that the torque converter does not slide forward and fall out. The torque converter is heavy - if it falls, you could be injured.

> Be keenly aware of where you place your hands and fingers when removing and installing an automatic transmission.  One slip-up can seriously injure your hand or finger(s).

> Before removing a cross member, an engine mount or transmission mount, or in some cases the sub-frame in order to remove the transmission, you must secure the engine and transmission from falling by the use of a jack from underneath the vehicle or an engine hoist from the top.

> When disconnecting oil cooler lines wear eye protection and do not position yourself directly beneath where the line is being disconnected, as fluid will drain from the line even though you've already drained fluid from the oil pan.


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