Questions relating to the safe use of tools, safety procedures, use of safety equipment and other methods of avoiding harm to yourself or others.

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57
votes
14answers
11k views

Are classic cars safe?

Are classic cars safe? I am interested to know the differences between modern vehicles and vehicles of old from the 1960s. In the event of an accident, how does a classic vehicle compare to a ...
40
votes
6answers
10k views

Why don't rally cars have airbags?

Why don't rally cars have airbags? Other competition cars, including Ken Block's don't have airbags either. Is it just for weight reduction, are they redundant or is there another (major) reason?
39
votes
14answers
9k views

How do I save myself from a sinking vehicle?

Every year in Arizona there are monsoon storms and somebody inevitably get's killed in a car that is sinking in water. It appears the primary issue is getting free from the vehicle. After that, ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How to raise the car higher than the jack stands will allow?

So it's time to raise the car onto jack stands, but for whatever reason it needs to go higher than the stand height allows. How can I safely raise the height of the car? What I have done in the past ...
16
votes
2answers
212 views

Is it safe to drive in race conditions with missing lug nuts?

You know sometimes you read something and think "What?" Well, would you be happy to drive a 900 BHP car in a competition with lug nuts missing? Apparently NASCAR has introduced a rule change so that ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Is downshifting on hills harmful for non-trucks? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear? Since the days of taking drivers ed (many years back). I was told that when you encounter a steep or extended ...
14
votes
6answers
640 views

How to keep wheel ramps from sliding?

I have a very smooth garage floor. When I try to use my wheel ramps for the quick and easy way to raise a vehicle, they will often slide, sometimes just one, but other times both. They will sometimes ...
14
votes
5answers
78k views

Is it possible to harm your car by giving someone a boost?

This post explains why it's a potential hazard to clip to the negative post on the dead battery when giving a boost. But I've also been told that I could damage the electronics in my own car if I give ...
14
votes
2answers
346 views

What factors affect the maximum air pressure that should be put in a vehicle's tires?

For just about every car, there's at least two different "maximum tire pressure" ratings. The vehicle manufacturer's rating. This is usually found on a sticker attached to the driver's door. The ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Is a tire with exposed wire safe to drive on?

This is my front passenger tire. As you can see, there is a large crack where you can see wire underneath. I ordered new tires that are supposed to arrive on Friday, however, I still need to get to &...
13
votes
4answers
22k views

I drove with my Parking Brake on for 30 mins: should I be worried?

Yesterday, I was driving my car for about 30 minutes on the highway at speeds of up to 60 mph. I felt my brakes weren't really working and looked down to notice my emergency brake had been on the ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

How much air should a tire lose each month?

How much air does a tire typically lose each month? Do nitrogen-filled tires actually lose less air (well, nitrogen) each month? If so, what's normal for them? According to a tire store manager I ...
11
votes
5answers
40k views

Differences and Recommendation between Steel and Alloy Wheels for Winter?

There are many discussions regarding steel vs. alloy wheels in Winter on multiple forums. It would be good if someone could lay out full facts and help scale these differences (questions below). For ...
11
votes
2answers
9k views

Muffler off car. Safe to drive with exhaust open underneath?

So leaving work yesterday I heard a clang! - the muffler simply fell off. Further inspection revealed a lot of rust in one particular area on the pipe. Thankfully the forward muffler is still intact ...
10
votes
2answers
527 views

Is it safe to fix a bent motorbike wheel?

Long story short my front wheel took a hit and the rim is now slightly bent. Now, since this is a forged aluminium wheel, replacing it costs the best part of 1500EUR. Being on a budget I thought of ...
10
votes
3answers
335 views

How is this pavement optimized to suppress water splashing?

In my experience driving through the rain at speeds above 100 km/h results in a cloud of sprayed water behind the car, like so: However, I encounter more and more recently repaired road sections ...
10
votes
2answers
109 views

How Important Are the Rear Shocks / Struts

When people talk about changing the shocks or struts, it's usually the front ones due to comfort, handling and safety reasons. But what about the rear ones? How much of a problem are worn out rear ...
9
votes
2answers
502 views

What are some good options for bumper pushing

What is a good way to push with your bumper without ruining the body of the car you are pushing (paint scratches do not matter.
8
votes
3answers
262 views

Is it safe to place wood between a car and a jack stand?

I have a 2013 2LS Camaro and I am looking to change the rear differential fluid and need to jack up the rear end of my vehicle. Based on videos and enthusiast forums, people achieve this by putting a ...
8
votes
2answers
86 views

What's the best place to safely store a life hammer?

This is not really a maintenance question, but I figured this would be a good place to ask. I have a life hammer in the glove compartment, but I'm having doubts about where to store it. I figure that ...
7
votes
3answers
920 views

Car enthusiast beginner kit

What is a good place to begin building a kit/set up for performing your own service? For ex: oil changes waxing detailing What is the best starting equipment one can start on?
7
votes
4answers
128 views

Do no-name tires go through thorough testing?

Tire (tyre) brands come in three categories: Major brands that advertise extensively Relatively unknown brands that are actually made by the major brands Relatively unknown brands that are ...
7
votes
5answers
27k views

Can this tire sidewall damage be repaired or should I replace the tire?

I* hit a curb and got a small tear in the front passenger side tire. The tear is about 1" long and goes mostly across the surface of the tire but also a little bit, maybe 1/4", toward the inside of ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What are reverse lights used for besides showing intention to reverse?

Recently I have noticed cars in parking lots with their reverse lights on even when the driver is not behind the wheel. I stop to let the drivers back out, and then realize they have no such intention....
7
votes
1answer
99 views

How to test gas station air compressors before use?

Yesterday I was with my wife and three children in the car, 300 KM from home just after sunset. I pulled into a gas station and as before all long trips, I dialed 31 PSI on the gas station's air ...
7
votes
1answer
175 views

Is the smoke or powder produced from an airbag detonation dangerous/toxic?

When the airbag has gone off, you often see a lot of smoke and stuff and there is a load of dust and powder all over the car What is this powder and smoke normally (obviously all air bags are ...
7
votes
0answers
76 views

Jack stand placement on frame rail for 2000 Toyota Camry

I did search "jack stand" and there are lots of posts that get close, but nothing that really covers the specifics of what I'm looking for here. I have a 2000 Toyota Camry with 143k mile on it. My ...
6
votes
4answers
431 views

Is it safe to overload the roof rails?

According to the manual, the "permissible" load for the standard rails is 35kg. I need to take two Kayaks around with me, which in total weight is about 40-45kg. Would I unintentionally turn my 2003 ...
6
votes
4answers
23k views

If my brakes overheat, do they need to be replaced?

Let's say I take my car track racing, and during it, the hard braking leads my brakes to massively losing stopping power due to them overheating (a likely outcome on stock brakes). Or likewise, I take ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it dangerous to drive with partially torn control arm bushings?

My 2008 Acura TSX had developed a violent shake when accelerating. Upon a brief inspection, I noticed the control arm/compliance bushings were partially torn (completely at one point, partially at two ...
6
votes
3answers
897 views

Is it safe to dig a trench under a car to work on it?

Assuming that pushing, towing, and jacking are all out of the question—how safe is it to dig a trench under a car that's stuck on a lawn to gain access to change out a part? Are there risks of sliding ...
6
votes
3answers
43 views

Safe jack / jack stand points for 2002 Ford Focus

I have a 2002 Ford Focus SE wagon. I want to place jack stands on the welds on the side of the car beneath the front and rear doors, but cannot fit both the jack and stands there. So I want to jack ...
6
votes
2answers
483 views

Finding alternate jack points in a Honda Insight

I'm trying to locate an alternate jack and lift point for my Honda Insight. I'm trying to lift the entire front end of the vehicle so I can put the stands under the pinch welds near the wheels. I can'...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do LED running lights turn off while the turn signal is blinking?

I've noticed in several new vehicles the following scenario: Vehicle is traveling with LED day-time running lights around/adjacent to the headlights Vehicle activates turn signal indicator Vehicle ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the side effects of using the wrong tires?

Last time I got new tyres I was advised that as they were out of stock of the particular size I was after (195/60/R15) and since they were part used tyres, I should be OK going with a slightly ...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

Leaving vehicle on 4 jack stands several days

I was wondering if it is bad (for the frame or the drive train) to leave my 4WD V6 Tacoma on 4 jack stands for several days while I work on the transmission. I could certainly lower it down after ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it recommended/necessary to wear rubber gloves while replacing a car battery?

I'm not too car-savvy but I want to start working on my car on my own. My first challenge has arisen: replace battery. Do I need to concern myself with being shocked while trying to change the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you set side mirrors?

In a passenger car with 3 mirrors (rear-view and 2 side mirrors), how do you set your side mirrors so as to see as much as possible?
5
votes
2answers
39 views

How do I inspect a used tire?

Used tires, how can I be sure that they are roadworthy? Aside from looking at the general appearance, how do I properly inspect the tire(s)? Are there any scenarios, (damage has occurred), where I ...
5
votes
1answer
39 views

What would be the need for more than 2 ground wires in any car, truck, suv, van?

With the understanding that most all vehicles have at least 2 grounds wires, what items would add to the list of minimum requirements for a safe grounding system. An 'item' is defined as an object ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Car battery ground appears to have severed, is it safe to jump?

I tried to start my car today but after a few splutters, the ignition quit (i.e. turning it does nothing now). The inside lights / brake lights don't go on anymore, so I assume the battery's dead. But ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

How do seat belt pretensioners work?

I was reading another post that had mentioned seat belt pretensioners with no explanation of how they function and are activated. From what I understand seat belt pretensioners are a one time use ...
4
votes
4answers
499 views

Driving a car with four out of five studs tight on one wheel

While prepping for a drive tomorrow I noticed the far side front wheel of my car has one stud out of five that is somehow loose. All other four studs are secured and tightened. By "somehow" I mean ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What's happening when you give someone a boost?

While I've given and received boosts before I've always been following instructions by rote and never really understood what's happening. The procedure I've been told is: Attach red clamp to the ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Euro NCAP rating during time

Does the rating scale change in time? I mean if X stars from for example 2000 are less safe car than X stars from 2013? I am mostly interested in adult safety within frontal (and side) impact and the ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

How to conduct an at-home winter safety check?

I have an '09 Honda Fit. It's a manual transmission. I bought it in the summer of 2013 and there are no warranties left on it. Other than regular oil changes, tire rotations, and having the battery ...
4
votes
2answers
89 views

How do I responsibly dispose of empty aerosol cans?

I've gone through several cans of brake cleaner lately and need to get rid of the used cans. The cans don't seem to indicate any special instructions for disposal. Aside from depressurizing the cans ...
4
votes
1answer
52 views

When should you replace plastic constructed ramps?

Is there a recommendation on how often you should replace plastic ramps? If the ramps look visibly damaged or warped it would make sense to buy a new pair, but I'm curious if the structural integrity ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

Toyota Corolla '70-'73

I am seriously thinking about acquiring a Toyota Corolla from the E20 or 30 series (1970-1973, 1974-1979),but I have some concerns I would like to discuss and clarify if possible: The car does not ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

2011 Mazda3 airbag disabled for light passenger

I recently bought a new 2011 Mazda3. Everything about it has been great so far, except one glaring detail. When my 87 pound girlfriend rides in the passenger seat, the "pass airbag off" light comes on....