Swarfega takes a look at how changes in vehicle powertrains might affect day-to-day skin care in the garage.
For as long as we’ve been working on cars, we’ve been getting our hands dirty, which means that a good scrub at the sink has probably always been part of your routine. Industrial hand cleaners have been in the workshop, on the garage shelf and under the kitchen sink for years, and a tin or tub of Swarfega is iconic to many people. But will this be the case when we start to see more EVs on the road?
Mick, a mechanic from Manchester Hybrids, said, “electric cars are a different ball game. There are no oil changes, reduced brake maintenance frequency due to regenerative braking, and tools tend to stay cleaner – the industry will totally change as we see more and more EVs on the road. When it comes to battery repairs, we use safety gloves, which also means less mess, as no skin touches the vehicle.”
Andy, a mechanic from Sandy Lane Garage in Surrey, added, “with electric cars, you don’t get dirty with engine and gear box lubrication at all, but maintaining the rest of the vehicle can be a different story.”
So, does this mean waving goodbye to heavy duty hand cleaners?
According to Chris Brooks, Technical Product Manager at Swarfega, it’s not that simple. “Despite the lack of internal combustion engines, mechanics will still be dealing with plenty of workplace contaminants such as grease, brake fluids and degreasing products used for maintaining moving parts. Just because contaminants in the workshop are changing, it doesn’t mean that your skin care should be neglected.”
With the news that hybrid vehicles will be exempt from the eventual ban of petrol and diesel vehicles, it looks like these fuels will still be present in the workshop for now. Mick from Manchester Hybrids went on to say, “with hybrid cars, there is no difference repair-wise. Grease and oil are still there – the vehicles still have brakes, batteries, an engine and petrol.
“There will also still be plenty of brake dust and road dirt to deal with in EVs and hybrid cars. You would treat your hand care in the same way.”
Andy from Sandy Lane added, “we will still need hand cleaners – this is not something that’s going to change overnight.”
Work-related skin problems are rife among mechanics, and are the second most common work-related health issue in Europe. Contact with contaminants and irritants can exacerbate skin disorders, but choosing incorrect hand cleaners could also make the problem worse. More often than not, heavier hand cleaners are used, when a lighter one would do the trick.
“With the introduction of EVs and hybrids, the types of soiling will differ, and we think there may be less oil and grease,” Chris Brooks said. “Many mechanics, however, may continue to use the same hand cleaners they always have, keeping their skin care routine exactly the same.
“Within the Swarfega range, there are hand cleaners of varying strength that are targeted at different types of grease and grime. As a rule, you should always choose the most appropriate strength hand cleaner that’ll do the job to avoid stripping the important natural oils from your skin. Choosing the right cleaner will minimise the loss of these oils and will help your skin stay healthy.”