Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Thanks for sharing. It is good to be reminded that working under an unsecured car can be a very dangerous thing. And there is nothing like a close-call to make you think about what could have happened and how you should do things differently going forward.
I've been working on cars for a long time, too, and I have a healthy respect for them and a genuine fear working underneath them. That fear has manifested itself in the form of a double-safety system whenever working under a car or truck. I'll write here what I tell my friends and neighbors when we discuss working under cars. Many of us know this. The key is in doing it.
If you have a floor jack, you should also have at least 4 good quality jack stands that are rated for at least 1/2 the weight of your vehicle. They are as important as any tool in your garage. Not just 2! At least 4! Even if you don't plan on jacking up your whole car, buy 4. Buy some chocks to put under wheels that remain on the ground. Never mix ramps and jack stands or ramps and a floor jack. Wheels are made to roll and that's what they want to do. If you will be working on the front end and must use ramps, be sure to put the car into park or gear (assuming you won't need to start the car), set the emergency brake AND chock the rear wheels as they sit firmly on the ground. Never assume that a car on a ramp or jack stand will only roll backwards. They don't. Chock wheels on both sides.
The geometry of a car changes as you jack it up. Make sure your floor jack can move in the correct direction so that it doesn't pull the car off of the jack stands you have already set.
Always have a backup under the car that is at least the height of your head or chest. If I'm working on brakes, I will push the removed tire under the car so the rim is under the frame (even though I'm not working under the car) to avoid the possibility of pinning an arm or leg. This is in addition to at least one jack stand in the corner I'm working on. If I've got one end of the car up, I'll push an extra jack stand under the car so it is just in contact with the frame at a solid support point.
Give the car a moderate push once you have it off the ground to make sure it is solid. If your jack stands are on hard points, it should not move at all. if it does, figure out why and fix it before crawling underneath. Don't forget an extra safety stand.
We are all here because we love cars. But more than once I've noticed that the Alfa Romeo logo includes a snake eating a man. Let's make sure our Alfas don't consume anything more from us than our passion...well...and maybe our wallets.
Alfa-current: '66 Duetto, '69 Spider
Past: '74 Spider, '76 spider, '80 GTV 6
Other-Current: 11 BMWs, Ram 1500
Other-past: 16 BMWs, MGs, Triumphs, other stuff that doesn't count.
Last edited by Hodgepodge; 05-02-2017 at 04:27 AM.