Whether you're a DIY veteran and have worked on your car for many years now or you're about to embark on your first oil change, there are best practices to make sure you, your vehicle, and the environment are taken care of during the repairs.
Protect the Environment
Protecting yourself and your vehicle is a top priority, but the environment deserves the same level of care, as well! The first thing I want to bring to your attention is this:
Do not let anything liquid or solid wash into roads, landscaping, and storm drains!
Quickly clean up all spills to prevent hazardous chemicals from contaminating roads, soil, and waterways. Placing pans, containers, or rags under your work area can catch liquids and debris.
Make sure you properly dispose of all wastes generated by your repair. Check with your local landfill and/or recycling center to find out what wastes they accept and how you should collect it.
Protect Yourself and Your Vehicle
First things first, make sure you are familiar with the work you are about to do. If you are about to do something you have never done before, watch/read tutorials posted online. Look for tutorials for your vehicle's make, model, and year. YouTube and online forums contain a wealth of information for vehicle repairs. If someone you know has successfully performed the same repair before, having them around can be very helpful, as well.
During COVID-19 pandemic times, take extra precautions while working with people outside your household: wear a face covering at all times, maintain physical distance of 6ft or more whenever possible, and avoid sharing tools if possible.
We can't possibly cover all vehicle repair scenarios, but here are some best practices that can apply to many (or most) repairs:
Make sure you have the proper tools and parts for the repair
Allow the vehicle to cool before working on the engine, brakes, and other components that heat up while driving
Park your vehicle on flat ground before lifting it
Use wheel chocks and jack stands when lifting your vehicle
Loosen wheel lug nuts before lifting your vehicle
Avoid resting tools near and on the battery
Disconnect the battery when working on electrical components
Use a magnet and/or pan to collect loose screws, bolts, and parts
Follow instructions on tightening screws, bolts, etc. and avoid overtightening
Follow warning labels on engine bay - there will be hot surfaces (e.g., radiator, engine block) after driving
Follow instructions when filling fluids and avoid overfilling
Wear cotton or work gloves to protect your hands. Wear chemical-resistant (e.g., nitrile) gloves if you will be handling chemicals
Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes for incidental splashes and flying debris (prescription glasses and reader glasses are not safety glasses)