Beware of DIY repair danger

RACQ has thrown its support behind a new safety initiative warning of the risks of do-it-yourself (DIY) car maintenance.

ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) campaign aimed to raise awareness about the associated dangers after 120 Australians died as a result of DIY car maintenance incidents since 2000.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said it was important car owners took extra care when they worked on their vehicles.

“While repairing your own car might seem like a good way to save a few dollars, if you’re not an expert you could be putting your safety at risk and unfortunately, we’ve seen some people lose their lives,” Mr Spalding said.

“If you’re going to attempt some DIY repairs, ensure that you’re following correct safety procedures and if you’re under a vehicle it’s not only supported by a jack, but also supported by stands or ramps.”

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Mr Spalding said DIY repairs could end up costing more in the long run.

“Cars are made up of thousands of parts and determining the cause of a problem isn’t always straight forward. You could actually end up doing more harm than good if you misdiagnose an issue or buy the wrong parts.

“Motorists should never attempt DIY on the vehicle’s safety systems, such as brakes and steering, unless they have the necessary level of skill, correct tools and repair information. If in doubt, refer to your local mechanic and remove the risk of a simple mistake causing a serious crash.”

Common unsafe DIY practices included:

  • Performing vehicle maintenance on unsteady ground, sand or a sloped surface;
  • Using makeshift support stands such as logs or rocks;
  • Not applying the handbrake and not putting the vehicle in gear or in park;
  • Failing to “chock” the wheels on a raised vehicle;
  • Incorrectly using a vehicle jack or using a jack with a known fault.

Drivers were reminded they could contact RACQ’s Motoring Advice team for more information on owning and maintaining a car in Queensland.