So you've decided to tackle some basic maintenance jobs on your car but where is the best place to carry out the work?
Working On Your Car At Home
If you're lucky enough to have a garage, then that's the obvious place. No matter what you are working on, always make sure you have your phone handy in case of emergency - if your hand or foot gets trapped somewhere, you'll want to be able to call for help. Be cautious when dealing with flammable liquids or gasses, and have plenty of ventilation if you are using chemicals or running the engine.
If you have a paved driveway, then as long as it's level, it's ideal. Never try to jack up a car that is sitting on a slope! You also should never jack the car up on gravel – plus dropped bolts in gravel quickly become infuriating!
Remember, be careful while working in the sun and weather that you don't get sunburn, or fatigued, which can cause you to make mistakes
Make sure you make provisions for catching spilled fluids, as they can damage the surface. Kitty litter is great for soaking up oil and other fluids if you do spill something.
If you live in a rented house or apartment, check that you are allowed to work on your car there. Most leases and landlords are against it.
Not everyone is understanding when it comes to DIY car maintenance so bear that in mind.
Working On Your Car On the Side Of the Road
Within the confines of the law, in most places, you are perfectly entitled to work on your car at the side of the road. But it is far from ideal and can be downright dangerous!
It goes without saying that working on the side of a busy main road is never advisable, though sometimes it is unavoidable - flat tires for instance. You should always try to work as far away from traffic as possible.
Take into account your neighbors, and try not to make a lot of noise, or leave a mess on the pavement.
It's also worth taking into consideration that you don't want to leave an immobile vehicle on the side of the road if you find you're in too deep and need the help of a professional. So never attempt a project unless you're certain you know what you're doing.
Some people have been known to use public parking lots – but again, this is not a wise idea. It is likely not legal to do without the permission of the owner of the lot, and you may find your half finished project on the end of a tow hook when they find out what you are up to.
Renting Shop Space
One other option if you don't want to be lying on cold pavement is to seek out the services of a rental garage. They're becoming increasingly popular and are springing up around the country. They can easily be Googled to see if there's one in your area, or see if your city is listed here, or on Garagetime.
They allow you to rent a garage and often a professional quality lift for an hourly or daily rate. Many also rent out a selection of useful tools too.
Be aware that since you're charged for all the time you spend there, it can end up being quite costly if you need to work on the car over the course of several days.
But using a lift makes working under the car much quicker, not to mention safer, so most jobs are worth it. And if you don't have a garage or even a driveway, they can be a life saver.