Mechanics use tools to maintain and repair machinery. This can be messy and dangerous, and because of that, there are specific types of clothing that mechanics wear to help minimize mess and maximize safety. In this article, let’s take a closer look at what mechanics wear on the job, and how this gear helps them.
What Do Mechanics Wear?
Mechanics wear specialized clothing designed to be durable and to offer protection from the elements involved in the work they do. Mechanics often wear many, if not all, of these items:
- Long or short-sleeved button-down shirt
- Durable Ripstop Pants
- Safety glasses
- Ear protection
- Head protection
Read on for more information about the clothes a mechanic wears and how they protect a mechanic from the hazards they face.
Coveralls, also known as jumpsuits, are one-piece garments that offer shoulder-to-ankle protection. They are loose-fitting and usually long-sleeved. Coveralls are made out of durable material to withstand the abuse they will take on a worksite.
Coveralls are usually worn over the top of a mechanic’s shirt and pants (coveralls vs mechanic work clothes). For mechanic’s who frequently work outside during the cold winter months, insulated coveralls may be needed.
Even indoor mechanic shops can get cold in the winter months from the overhead doors going up and down constantly. Many mechanics prefer to use insulated coveralls or specific jackets for mechanics.
Some mechanic shops may require flame resistant coveralls for safety. Some shops may provide disposable coveralls for certain jobs, like painting.
To read about some of the most popular options, visit our article about jumpsuits for mechanics. To read more about what to consider, visit our article about the best things to consider when buying mechanic coveralls.
How Do Coveralls Help Mechanics?
Should the mechanic choose to wear coveralls over his regular clothes, the coveralls offer protection in several ways. Coveralls protect:
- Clothes and skin from oil, grease, and dirt
- Skin from harsh chemicals that may be found in the shop
- Arms and body when crawling and working on the ground
And again, some mechanics may choose to wear flame-resistant coveralls to help protect from sparks.
Coveralls have an abundance of pockets to allow a mechanic to keep tools and gear handy. Two-way zippers on pockets allow access to your street clothes underneath should you need something in those pockets as well.
Not all coveralls are made the same, however. The conditions of your job site dictate what you need from your coveralls. The best types of mechanics coveralls will minimize zippers and buttons to help make the coveralls “scratch-proof” so that the loose zippers (etc) don’t damage a paint job.
Mechanic Work Boots and Shoes
Footwear for the worksite is an important consideration, and safety standards may vary shop to shop. It’s never a bad idea to wear a work boot or work shoe that has a safety toe, but not all shops will require it.
Steel Toe and Composite Toe Work Shoes
In the past, steel-toe was the industry standard for protection from objects falling or rolling over your foot. While steel-toe is still an option, workers can now opt for footwear made with composite toes.
Composite toe footwear is made with strong non-metal materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. Many of these options are OSHA approved, however, it’s important to understand that they do not offer the same protection from impact as steel-toe. Your specific shop will need to advise you on what type of boot is best for your job.
Both steel-toe and composite have their advantages and disadvantages:
- Steel-toe provides more protection against impact, cutting, and punctures, but can be heavy to wear.
- Composite materials are lighter and do not conduct heat, cold, and electricity as steel does, but doesn’t add as much protection.
Some sources advise that steel-toe should never be used on a worksite with electrical hazards. Our advice is to always ask the management at your work shop to advise you on what type of footwear is best, and safest, for your job.
Gloves can really come in handy, and it’s rare to see a mechanic who doesn’t have a trusty pair of work gloves. Work gloves help prevent:
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Severe cuts, lacerations, abrasions, or punctures;
- Burns (thermal or chemical)
- Harm from temperature extremes
Of course, every pair of work gloves is unique, and may not offer all the protection listed above. Some gloves are built for warmth while others may be built for safety.
Finding the right pair of gloves is important for a mechanic since a mechanic works with their hands so much. A mechanic’s gloves must offer protections while allowing for optimal manual dexterity.
Reusable or Disposable
There are two options of gloves for mechanics: disposable or reusable.
- Disposable gloves often offer protection from chemicals while allowing a mechanic to feel what he is doing. There are three options when it comes to disposable gloves: nitrile, latex, or vinyl.
- Reusable gloves are a better option when a mechanic is going to be handling materials that are an extreme temperature. Reusable gloves also offer more protection from cuts, lacerations, and abrasions.
Mechanic Work Shirts and Pants
Mechanics work shirts are typically long or short sleeve button-downs made of a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers. To read more about the mechanic work shirts, visit our article about the best shirts for mechanics.
Mechanics work pants are also typically made with a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers and come in a variety of styles. Many mechanics will wear ripstop pants, but some shops may require specific flame resistant pants.
A feature to look for in work pants is the gusseted crotch. A gusset is a diamond-shaped piece of fabric that is sewn into the crotch area of pants. This allows for improved mobility and flexibility. Some mechanics may prefer stretch work pants for extra flexibility.
Many mechanics prefer loose fit work pants so that they have the freedom of movement they need. But you’ll want to be sure that the pants aren’t too loose, which can be a hazard, but having proper freedom of movement is important for both safety and performance on the job.
While it isn’t absolutely necessary for a mechanic to wear a specific shirt and pants, it can be ideal. For one thing, it may be part of their uniform if they are working for someone else. Having a uniform can make a mechanic look more professional, which helps when it comes to customers.
Another benefit is that the mechanic now has dedicated clothes to wear to work. This saves the mechanic’s personal clothes from potentially being destroyed.
Mechanics should wear some form of eye protection to protect against chemical agents and other foreign bodies, but the specific policies may vary from shop to shop.
Wearing eye protection is always important, but it would be best to ask your shop management to advise you on what type of eye protection you need. Some shops will provide eye protection for you to wear.
It’s also important to consider ear plugs or other types of ear protection. This too is something that your management will need to advise you on. Some shops will have boxes of disposable ear plugs for workers to use.
As we discussed earlier in the article, some mechanics may need to wear flame resistant clothing. Gloves are also an important piece of PPE for mechanics.
Some shops may require some form of head protection. Although most regular mechanics do not wear hard hats, there are certain environments that may require this.