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Automotive Emergencies: Part 1

    We all know how important it is to have a basic knowledge of first aid in an emergency, but how many of you know first aid for an automotive emergency?
» Part 1: Automotive First Aid
» Part 2: Safety Rules
» Part 3: More Safety Rules
Part 4: More Safety Rules


  1. There are a lot of things on the engine that get very, very hot. Exhaust pipes, mufflers, manifolds and radiator hoses can all cause severe burns. If you have to work on a hot engine be very careful and wear heavy gloves to prevent burns. 

NEVER EVER remove the radiator cap from a hot engine all in one turn. Place a heavy cloth over the radiator cap, wear your heavy gloves and SLOWLY open the cap to the first indent. When the steam and fluid have stopped, wait another minute and remove the cap completely. When you do this look anywhere except directly at the radiator cap.

I had to take my neighbor from across the street to the hospital when he came running into my garage, blinded by a face full of hot engine coolant. He still has the scars on his face from it. 

  1. Do not wear any loose clothing while working on an engine. Neck ties, necklaces, loose shirt cuffs, jewelry frilly blouses and long hair can get caught in moving parts and pull you in. Men, take off your jackets, ties and roll up your sleeves. Ladies, well… do the best you can. It's also a good idea to wear a good pair of heavy steel-toed boots. As for hats, ones with no brim are much safer then hats with brims.


  2. NEVER EVER go under a car that is supported by a jack alone. There is a good chance the jack will fall, crushing you under the car. If you need to go under the vehicle, make sure you support it with jack stands or ramps that are rated for the weight of your vehicle.


    Do not use cinder or cement blocks. I have seen cement blocks break under the weight of a car. I have seen guys put plastic 5 gallon buckets under a car to support them. How stupid is that? Metal drums, bricks and 2x4's can slip and slide, causing the vehicle to come down. 

  3. Wipe up all spills as soon as possible. This will prevent you, or someone you love, from slipping and falling Oil, gas or some other leaking fluid can be very slippery, especially on asphalt.


  4. Before trying to replace a flat tire, the vehicle must be as stable as possible. Try to get your vehicle on a hard, flat surface well away from traffic. Put an automatic transmission into PARK or a manual transmission into REVERSE.


    Prior to jacking up the vehicle, put a 2x4, large rock, a brick or cheating boyfriends' head, whatever is handy, in front of one of the front wheels and in back of a rear wheel that is going to stay on the ground. This will keep the car from rolling away.

    A good tip; remove the spare tire before jacking up the car. The less you jostle the vehicle, the less chance there is of it falling. Be even more careful on roads with a lot of tractor-trailer traffic. The air current created as they pass can have enough force to knock a vehicle off the jack.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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