This note can be modified to suit individual needs.
Car Repair Safety Precautions (when taking the car in for any work)
Would you please ensure that the enclosed notice is taped visibly to the driver’s side car window, and that anyone who works on the car is made aware of the precautions necessary to prevent an accidental use of products which would render the car unusable to me.
I have severe environmental and chemical sensitivities and allergies, etc. to a wide assortment of chemicals contained in cleaning and other petrochemical products.
In order to make sure the car remains safe for me to drive, can you please take the following precautions:
No-one with gas, oil, cologne, aftershave, scented soap or lotion residues on their hands should touch the car interior.
No smoking in the car, or anyone who has just been smoking.
Use clean disposeable gloves or paper towel to touch doorknobs, handles, steering wheel, etc.
Make sure the seat and steering wheel are fully covered before touching or sitting.
(I may provide a mylar emergency blanket to cover the seat with)
Do not use WD-40 or other products on door hinges or anywhere inside. If any interior lubrication is necessary, please advise and we will research a safe alternative product.
Do not, under any circumstances, use any cleaning or air “freshening” products in or near the car.
Please do call if there are any questions
Thank you for your co-operation.
Hi Linda, this is brilliant. Would you mind if I reproduce it as a helpsheet for our MCS support group members?
I don’t mind as long as it is available free to everyone, ie, people don’t have to pay a membership fee to be able to access it.
Thank you so much for these valuable posts
One thing I always request is when working on the car to keep the windows closed
Best to you and happy holidays
Sent from my iPhone
Another great tip Susan, thanks!
I would like to ad, I once worked as a Service Writer for a Car Dealer in a previous life. They often clean the car up after working on it and may even spray air freshener in the Heat/Air vents. Dad recently had an oil change done at Walmart and they filled the wiper washer tank with a SMELLY commercial fluid, that I had to run out of it, and then refil with a mix of 50/50 water/white vinegar to get the smell out of the heater system. They need to understand NOT to clean up, or use any form of cleaning products on the vehicle what so ever!
Thank you Bob!
This reminded me that the washer fluid they put in my car (without asking) WAS a problem.
I also know people who have had their cars detailed (cleaned) without being asked too, and that has made the cars so toxic as to be unusable.
So, it’s important to add
“PLEASE DO NOT DO ANYTHING, OR USE ANY PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT EXPLICITLY AGREED UPON IN ADVANCE”
That note is such a good idea. I always take my car to the same place but I always remind (nag) them not to wear any spray deodorant or aftershave when working on my car. They came up with the idea of putting garbage bags over my seats for when they have to get into the car just in case of something being on them anyway.
I’ve just had to put my computer in for repair and I’ve had to put a note onto asking them not to wear products; then when I gave it to them, they said that the manager said they can’t take the job because they can’t guarantee that someone may not walk past the computer while wearing something. I pointed out that it’s actually a breach of human rights for them to refuse access of services to me. They then agreed to do the job….
Great post. It’s so good for you to share these tips with us.
Yes, the sign helps remind them so they don’t forget when focusing on something else.
I forgot to note that I’ve also placed a small bag over the shift handle and a big clear bag over the steering wheel, just in case they forget…
Some garages do have seat and steering wheel covers, gloves etc, but they are more often than not, just as fragrance contaminated as everything we need to avoid, hence I find it best to provide my own.
Re computer… mine recently spent 24 hours away from home and came back so fragrance contaminated that wiping the surface down with vodka several times outside wasn’t enough, I couldn’t get under the keyboard or into the guts… so it made me sick for a week while the fumes released into the air. I had wrapped mylar around all the cords before, so at least they weren’t permanently ruined, as the soft plastic phthalates just suck up the phthalates from fragrances that are airborne everywhere they are used. The guy knew I needed to avoid them, he didn’t mention air “fresheners” (I didn’t ask) so I don’t know if it was that or laundry products or a combination of things, but it was heavy. I had it double bagged except for the time he spent working on it, for an hour or 3…
And thanks for sharing your tips on your blog!
We really need fragrance free, accessible services everywhere.
That’s okay. I’m happy to share. I feel that helping others, helps me and ‘we’ will make it better for the next person.
My other laptop just got water damaged, and I had to go through the same process. Now it’s come back with a new keyboard and other internal bits, so I’m back to outgassing it. But at least it came back without fragrance.(It’s an aluminium MacBook Pro, in case anyone is interested. I find it to be much better than the plastic laptops (esp the white MacBook, which I had to sell and could never use). I also have the MacBook AIr, which doesn’t heat up, therefore, makes minimal computer fumes (it’s the best yet).)
I’ve found the only way to secure help, is to put it in writing. This way it’s taken much more seriously.
And thanks again for the phthalates tips on that Mutaflor. Silly I did not pick that up, but so glad I’m aware now :)
I tried to get work done on my car at a licensed automotive repair shop,using similar procedural parameters outlined here. I was told that this could not be done as Petrochemicals are inherent in the repair process. What do I do ?? Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated
Sorry to hear that John. I think it’s easier in places where there’s some sort of “duty to accommodate” people with disabilities.
It also depends on the required repairs, as there may be some that are more problematic for us than others, ie getting a windshield replaced – the caulks/glues can be really toxic, although I have heard there are less toxic versions in use too.
I think that it is always possible to follow these parameters to make sure the interior is not contaminated.
I can’t remember now if I’ve ever mentioned that air vents under the hood should be covered, if possible, if using something under the hood… That would prevent those ducts from getting oily and then blowing it inside.
I do know that I’ve left the air on recirculate instead of outdoor for some days after work, and I have an air purifier for the car too (but that doesn’t help much if someone sits inside and leaves fabric softener or dryer sheet chemicals ground into the seat.
I think perhaps another service station might be more willing to accommodate you if your current one is not, it’s worth calling around a bit, or asking your local MCS/ES groups if they know any mechanics who have already been “trained”.
Maybe other readers have more ideas?
Hi John, I too, would find a different one. Some people are better able to understand the situation, and the precautions that need to be taken too. For me, it’s a matter of finding the right person, then explaining it well, and following up with something in writing.
Petrochemicals are inherent in the process, but a good mechanic will minimise them for you.
I hope you find someone to help you.