Safety First: Pay Attention to Warnings & Cautions

warning and caution symbols in your truck repair information

Technicians know there can be many risks when working on vehicles. Especially when it comes to medium and heavy trucks, it doesn’t take much to figure out that all those big, heavy parts have the capacity to make your day less than enjoyable.

Knowing this, one of the best ways to stay safe is to read the Warnings and Cautions found in service information. Yes, I know, there seem to be lots of them. And sometimes — well maybe often — they get skipped over in order to get right to the service information. Granted, many warnings are well known, and it just takes a quick glance to be reminded of a potential danger. However, every once in a while there will be a warning that comes as a surprise. Take seals for example.

To say moving parts get burning hot when they run out of lubrication is an understatement. When a seal is near, this heat typically becomes a toasted mess. Seeing such a disaster, the unsuspecting technician may be tempted to start picking away the roasted parts to see just how bad it may be. Whether or not the problem may be fixed doesn’t matter;’ additional damage to the technician may have already happened….

As it turns out, in some cases where high-temperature seals are needed, manufacturers will use seals made of Fluoroelastomer. When this material reaches a temperature of 600 degrees, it begins to decay, taking on a charring or sticky mass and producing hydrofluoric acid. Reading the warning in the service information informs the technician to wear protective gloves as this hydrofluoric acid may cause severe burns. To add insult to injury, the symptoms from the acid may not appear for several hours! Knowing that, it would also be wise to use caution when getting the damaged seal residue on clothes.

Seals are just one potential hazard in the shop. Being aware of the dangers will hopefully get you home safely at the end of the day. The Warnings and Cautions will help, so take the time to read them. Be sure to look for the yellow caution and red warning symbols in the TruckSeries truck repair information software that bring immediate attention to warning and caution details related to the vehicle you are servicing. A few seconds of reading often mundane material is a small pay off for not getting injured.

Posted in:
About the Author

Jake Schell

Jake Schell is an editorial consultant with Mitchell 1. Previously, he served as Product Manager for the Commercial Vehicle Group from 2002 to 2023. Prior to joining Mitchell 1, Jake spent 20 years as a technician. He holds a Chevrolet Master certification in the transmission category as well as ASE certifications in both cars and trucks.