10 Mistakes People Make Working on their Cars

By: Sean B. | 07/13/2012 < Back to Motor Life Home
To err is human, to avoid messing up your car is divine. Make sure you aren't making these ten common mistakes when working on your car to avoid damage and possibly injury.

1. Not Disconnecting Your Battery

Before working on your car, disconnect your battery to avoid a tool like a wrench shorting out the battery terminal. Always disconnect your battery before welding, because you could back-feed high voltage and damage electronics.

2. Not Using Spark Plug Wire Markers

This is an easy mistake to fix. Use our Spark Plug Wire Markers and always connect your wires to the right cylinder.

3. Not Using Anti-seize Compound

Use anti-seize compound when you are connecting steel and aluminum to allow for easy removal in the future. This will protect you from harmful corrosion.

4. Having Left Over Parts

Oops. You forgot something. This might not be quite as important when assembling that coffee table you just bought, but when you're racing your newly assembled engine over 100mph, you'll want to have included all the parts.

5. Leaving Old Gasket Material on Mating Surfaces

Scrape all that leftover gasket material off of your mating surfaces to ensure a tight seal with your next gasket. You can avoid the problem of leftover gasket material by using our Ultra-Seal, Multi-Layered Steel, Copper and Aluminum Gaskets which have coating to protect from sticking.

6. Not Using the Right Sealer When Needed

In some cases you might need to apply sealer to your gaskets. Be prepared with the right kind, like Blue silicone sealer for oil pans and valve covers, good for temperatures from -65° to 500°F.

7. Not Running Through a Full Heat Cycle to Check Fasteners

Recheck the torquing of your fasteners after a full heat cycle to ensure proper seal and compression.

8. Over/Under-torquing a Fastener

Over torquing could stretch or snap the fastener. A stretched fastener causes incorrect compression which may result in leaks. Always use the manufacturers specifications for torquing and a proper torquing wrench..

9. Forgetting to Relieve Fuel Pressure Before Service

Otherwise when you pull the filter off you'll get a face full of gasoline.

10. Ignoring Safety Procedures

This may sound like a cheesy public service announcement, but ignoring safety procedures is dangerous and could cost you a lot of time in the long run. Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves. When using a jack, please use jack stands; we do not want to see you all getting hurt out there.
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