Car Culture & Entertainment

$#&@@!! Gearheads Share Their Most Painful Garage Lessons

Never trust a *cheap* engine stand while torqueing your balancer bolt. – Mike M. (Image/Facebook)

Most gearheads will say that the automotive hobby is one perpetual learning experience. And some of those lessons can be painful—yes, we mean that in the most literal sense.

So our dear friends over at Summit Racing posed a simple question on their Facebook page:

What is the most painful lesson you’ve ever learned in the garage?

Some responses were hilarious. Some responses were facepalms. While still others were downright terrifying. But they were all valuable, teachable moments—and we’re not talking about expanding your dictionary of four-letter words either.

Take a look at some of our favorite reader contributions below and file them away in your memory banks to avoid similar misfortune on your future projects.


  • “Don’t wear shorts when arc welding.” – Dave I.
  • “Pump up the brakes after changing pads, BEFORE driving out of the shop.” – Donald H.
  • “Never push a wrench/ratchet with a closed fist. Always open palm if you can.” – Vinnie K. 
  • “How not hold the flashlight while working with my dad!” – Brian S.
  • Always wear safety glasses.” – About 100 Different People
Never take your eyes off a 10mm socket. – Mark J. (Image/Facebook)
  • “Check that the torque converter is in the tranny BEFORE putting it in the car.” – Aaron R.
  • “Gasoline in your ear is the worst pain ever experienced.” – Gus G.
  • “Don’t use a screw driver as a pry bar.” – Sam B.
  • “Use something insulated when jumping a starter solenoid.” – David H.
  • Long hair and creepers don’t mix.” – Chad B.
  • Never trust your jack to hold the car. – Tom L.
  • “Check it’s still in neutral before you fire it up.” – Mike S.
“Don’t install fuel pumps in the dark.” – George B. (Image/Facebook)
  • “Never say it’s a five minute job!” – Lowell A.
  • “ATF tastes bad. So does brake fluid.” – Joey R.
  • “Have the right tools to do the job.” – Andy B.
  • “Unhook the battery when working with fuel lines.” – Jared A.
  • “Remove your thumb before striking a ball joint!” – Albert W.
  • “That breaker bar is just what it means.” – Michael M.
  • “Too many ugga duggas will turn righty-tighty into righty-loosey.” – Luke M.


There were hundreds of additional painful responses to the question on Summit Racing’s Facebook page, and you can see them all here.

Got any more garage tips and lessons you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below.

And be safe out there!

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  1. Ty Gross says:

    One day in the shop I had a real pain in the a$$ customer who was really getting on my Nerves (The thing that wouldn’t leave?) I grabbed a 2 1/2 Ton floor Jack which my friend borrowed the day before & returned that morning,,,,I grabbed the Handle and yanked it. Much to my surprise my friend didn’t secure the Handle with thumb screw!
    And yes being aggravated I used excessive force and SMACKED myself in the Cheekbone at about 80 mph!
    Talk about seeing STARS!!!!Knocked me for a loop. And this jerk is laughing his a$$ off.
    I learned 3 very important lessons that day,#1. Keep customers outside the work area. #2. Don’t ever lend tools to someone that’s an irresponsible MORON.And most important NEVER YANK ON A JACK HANDLE AGAIN!

  2. Wayne Keith says:

    Never put ANY of your tools away until the job is completely done. It’s bad luck!

  3. Chris Londish says:

    Don’t bench press a gearbox into the vehicle by yourself especially if it won’t line up with the clutch plate you can end up with the tranny testing on your chest and unable to get it off

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