Every proud gearhead loves to share the story of how they replaced that busted universal joint in their 11-degree garage. But telling stories and living them are quite different, and when it’s blowing a gale outside, there are far more comfortable places to pass your time than on the frigid concrete floor of your garage.
Unfortunately, your car can’t understand when it’s a good time of year to make repairs and when you’d rather be warm and cozy indoors. If something goes wrong, you’ve got to fix it. Here’s how to do that without freezing.
1. Heat Your Workspace
Garages in colder parts of the country are sometimes insulated to keep heat in. If you’ve got the benefit of a well-insulated garage, you’ll be grateful when you have to wrench during the winter months.
Regardless of insulation, one or more space heaters are a must-have for working in the cold. They will help keep the space generally habitable. Still, even with space heaters there, it’s good to choose safe stopping points every few hours and head inside to make sure the cold doesn’t sneak up on you. You can get used to it quite easily and fail to notice the effects of a chill setting in.
2. Dress Warm
When you step into the shade or crawl beneath a vehicle, you’ll be happy to have some toasty clothes. Remember to wear close-fitting pieces you can work in without catching on sharp edges or that won’t hang down and create a fire hazard. Include a set of gloves with the right combination of insulation and dexterity to allow you to complete your tasks. Frosty fingers are not just uncomfortable — they move slow and you might not even feel a cut or burn.
Consider some long underwear and wool socks if you have them, too. A warm beanie or hat is another good way to trap heat since most heat leaves through your head.
3. Enjoy a Hot Beverage
Heating your insides is just as important as the warm clothes and space heaters. Keeping something warm to drink around such as a coffee, tea or hot chocolate is a great way to keep your core temperature up. That can help you avoid potentially dangerous conditions like hypothermia. While it’s not likely to occur, the harmful effects of the cold can become difficult to observe when you’re working alone. You should keep this in mind and ask your spouse or a friend to check on you if you stay out in the garage too long.
Keep your workspace warm and dry to ensure you work safely, and never stay out long in the cold if you don’t have the proper equipment. In a situation where you have to wait to fix the car, a little patience could be the difference between getting the car running and injuring yourself when conditions are nasty outside. You don’t want to have to go out to get treatment in bad weather any more than you want to work on the car.