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Greetings auto enthusiasts!

Help out a dude who’s just getting started in car repair and maintenance. I’ve abused my body enough already you know and I need to protect myself in the future, so I’m wonderin what personal protective equipment do you use when you are working on cars? The stuff you recommend is maybe going in my kit.

Aside from supporting the vehicle safely, the #1 as far as safety equipment is eye protection. It doesn’t take much for anything to get into the eyes and shut down the whole operation completely. And if you’re old like me, you can get bifocal safety glasses so you can look up or down and be in focus.

Safety glasses.


tight fitting gloves can help prevent scraped knuckles, and they’ll prevent the oil on your hands from getting on the lightbulbs when you change them out.

full face shields can mean the difference between seeing/breathing/eating and a face full of hot oil.

I am very cautious about securing the car. Use stands, keep the jack just a finger bellow the car, if the tires are off I throw them under the car too. I have known to use the kitchen sink too.

Then it is the eye shield, I have work glasses that I wear on my prescription glasses.

I use disposable gloves but should probably be wearing something thicker.

I also keep my cell phone on me. I know my wife would not call 911 for me:)

This is a rather strange question…but a good one nonetheless… I guess as far as protection…the most common things you will find me using is…

  1. Nitrile Gloves…I use them religiously…I NEVER used to until about 10yrs ago…and now its all the time… I used to get my hands so unbelievably filthy it would sometimes literally take DAYS to get them looking normal again. Also some of the fluids we come across are VERY BAD for us. I was once told that if you measured the amount of gasoline it takes to fully soak your hands…its the same as just putting that in a shot glass and drinking it…bec that much can go thru your skin and into your bloodstream…not sure about that but its scary enough. Also for some reason I CANNOT remember what I am thinking about but it had to do with using a fluid of some type under high pressure…and injecting it into your skin! It is DEADLY…but for the life of me I CANT RECALL what procedure it is that I am talking about…LOL…Help me guys what the hell am I thinking of…Damnit…I was recently doing it too…lol. Was it the high pressure end of the Power Steering? Getting PS fluid injected und my skin? I STILL cant recall

All of the stuff below I use when appropriate:
3. EAR Protection
4. JACK STANDS…if you dont have a lift
5. If you weld…welding helmet!!! and some leathers
6. GOOD BOOTS…DO NOT WEAR your feather light Nike running sneaks to work around this stuff…for me the jury is still out on Steel Toes though…seen them work both ways.

I think thats about it…

That is a guarantee!
I had to have an MRI on my knee after trying to use figure skates when we had our daughter in skating lessons, and afterwords going to the rink for fun in open skate. I was used to the swirl around 180 in hockey skates after she fell, those dang teeth in the figure skates stuck in the ice and messed up my knee royally. Naturally after I healed I bought a pair of hockey skates to not suffer a re occurrence.

The gist of the story is I had to sign a waiver that I had no metal splinters or shavings in my eye. They said you could have one and not even know it. Thinking back about crud falling in my eye or going in my eye from years of drilling shaving or whatever necessary I said no, I cannot guarantee I have nothing in my eye. I had to have an xray to determine for sure there were no metal substances in my eye, for an MRI on my knee. That is the small side.

I am blind in one eye, never had any depth perception and been ok, but do you feel lucky? is that a risk you are willing to take. Basically left with one eye, I am extremely protective of it and would recommend safety glasses even if you have 2 eyes!

The best safety device is a careful worker!

I do this for a living. I wear latex gloves to keep my hands clean as I’m in and out of the front office all day long. I (usually) wear safety glasses when grinding or cutting. Throw out any incandescent drop lights you have. Other than that, I recommend a big helping of common sense. Pay attention. Keep your hands out of dangerous places. Pay attention. Watch what you’re doing. Don’t torch off that old exhaust when the guy in the next stall has an open gas tank on the floor. And did I mention pay attention?

If you’re a mechanic, you’re going to get dirty, you’re going to twist your back working under a dash for 2 hours, you’re going to lift something that’s too heavy. You’ll bleed, strain, and get a shot of brakeclean in the eye once in a while. You’ll experience what a broken spark plug wire feels like. As much as cars are fixed with scan tools and software, a lot of the work is still physical. But none of it will kill you. And you’ll be a better mechanic for having done it.

Not really a safety issue, more of a work habits thing. Decide if you are going to be an inside the car mechanic or someone that deals in brake dust. Try not to use the same tools that get impacted with grease for interior trim work. Don’t be the last mechanic on earth that still blows brake dust around the shop and empty the oil drains,change the bottle on the A/C charge machine and when you break a shop tool tell someone about it now. Find a shop that pays for your gloves, it is very easy to go through 20 pairs a day, espically if you deal with battery acid.Try not to lose any keys (very common to leave the keys for one car in another car).It you find bars of soap or cans of deodarant on your box, the people that left them are not joking, it is amazing how many people cannot smell themselves,must be some kind of science behind that one.

My vote is with Tester on eye protection. While this has nothing to do with auto repair, about 5 or so years ago I was outside one day and something stuck in my eye just out of nowhere. It became progressively more irritating and no amount of inspection showed anything at all. Repeated washing accomplished nothing. Finally, the next week I broke down and went to the eye doc where he found a microscopic piece of well rusted steel.

At the time I had no idea where it came from and then it dawned on me. The day I was outside a neighbor of mine was on his roof about 150 feet away and was cutting off an old breakover pole that at one time had been used to mount a TV antenna. The wind was blowing towards me from that direction and this incident happened at the exact moment he was cutting away on the rusty pole.
This shows how easy it is for the tiniest of particles to become a very aggravating, and expensive, problem.

A good set of heavy jack stands is a must. This means good solid ones, not those stamped steel stands. I think more people are killed from non-supported falling cars than any other reason.

My top three include:

1: Eye protection.
Looking back at all the rust and crud that landed in my eyes over the years,
along with a battery that exploded in my face, I’m lucky to have my eyesight.

2: Properly securing a vehicle before getting under it.
While I never had one fall on me, I’m aware how much of a reality this can be,
especially for backyard mechanics. It may rarely happen, but the consequences
are brutal.

3: As asemaster said, be a careful worker. Never stop asking yourself if you’re
in a situation that could hurt you.

  1. I wear goggles to protect my eyes. Glasses are better than nothing, but don’t keep as much out.
  2. Foam earplugs are good hearing protection. Custom ear plugs are expensive, but a little more comfortable.
  3. I use disposable nitrile gloves to keep chemicals off of my hands, and mechanics gloves to protect against cuts and scrapes. I also take off my rings and watch.
  4. Sometimes I wear steel toe shoes.
  5. I use a tyvek suit and respirator for painting. The respirator can be handy at other times as well.

That’s about it for ppe. Adequate vehicle support, good ventilation, a first aid kit (with eye wash), fire extinguisher, and telephone are important too.

Along with safety glasses, Nitrile Gloves, Cut resistance Kevlar gloves, proper car jacks. etc…

Having the proper tool for the job is also very important for working safe. A example may be using a 3/8" 12 point socket set on highly torqued bolt instead of a 1/2" six point socket with breaker bar. The 3/8 socket could slip or break loose while your putting all your force into it, and your hand could go flying into a sharp object severing tendons, and causing a big bloody mess.