Choosing the Right Glove for the job: Automotive Applications
Posted by Melanie Predolich on
It is common knowledge that automotive workers should wear gloves while performing their tasks. No one wants to come away after a hard day’s work covered in grease and oil. Not only do gloves help in this regard, but they also provide a level of protection to automotive workers.
With so many types of glove materials on the market, this week at Your Glove Source, we want to point you in the right direction for choosing the best glove for your automotive applications.
Why Wear Gloves in Automotive Applications?
Automotive mechanics work with some of the most dangerous and harsh products that can be found in cars, among which are brake and transmission fluids. Without proper glove usage and protection, these dangerous fluids can seep through the mechanic’s skin and ultimately cause nerve destruction, weakness in the touched areas, and in severe cases, paralysis. Aside from these more serious consequences, if contaminated hands are exposed to other parts of the body including the face or eyes, the mechanic can experience redness or irritation.
What Type of Gloves are Best in Automotive Applications?
As an automotive mechanic, you are probably looking for three main things in your gloves:
- Puncture resistance
- Chemical protection
- High level of dexterity
Automotive mechanics work with a variety of chemical based fluids, they handle sharp and dangerous parts and tools, and they need to be able to handle all of these things with precision. So, what type of glove can provide a solution to all three of these demands?
For many years, automotive mechanics have used disposable latex gloves for working in an automotive setting. However, despite the high level of dexterity that latex gloves provide, they proved inadequate for the level of puncture resistance needed by auto mechanics. When working hard under the hood of a car, a mechanic needs to trust that his gloves will not tear, snag, or puncture with repeated contact on some sharp and rough surfaces. Even the small holes or tears that occur in latex gloves will prove to be harmful to the wearer as time goes on, because the dangerous liquids can and will seep through.
Another problem that automotive mechanics experienced was that their disposable latex gloves were not holding up to the harsh and dangerous substances they were using on a daily basis, leading them to search for a better alternative to latex.
Nitrile Wins the Day
As in many other applications where gloves are used, nitrile gloves serve as an adequate substitution for latex gloves. However, in the automotive industry, nitrile gloves have proven to be superior to latex gloves because they satisfy the three needs of an automotive mechanic:
Automotive industry technicians can be exposed to various
- Puncture Resistance: Since nitrile is a synthetic rubber, it is inherently three to five times more durable and puncture resistant than its latex counterpart. This is an important safety security for automotive mechanics as they work with many sharp objects and tools.
- Chemical Protection: Once again, because nitrile is a synthetic rubber that is built with three chemical monomers, making the material strong and resistant to outside chemicals, like the ones that mechanics come in contact with on a daily basis. Automotive mechanics typically use a blue or lighter colored (not black) nitrile glove because the oils and other fluids they use will not be disguised by the color of their glove.
- Dexterity: The nitrile material may not be as elastic as latex, however nitrile is very flexible and will conform to the users hand after extended use, which provides a very high level of precision and dexterity that is needed in an automotive application.
In automotive applications, it is key to note that a powder-free nitrile glove is used more frequently versus the powdered version. Although the powder inside the nitrile glove makes them easier to get on and off, the powder can be detrimental to certain automotive related applications. When the powder particles from the gloves become air borne, they can harm vehicle paints and sealants, and particularly the powder can affect the seal on windshields causing leakage into the car! In circumstances where you are battling with sweaty hands or need to don a glove with wet hands, a great alternative to powdered gloves would be a flock lined nitrile glove.
Based on this research, the best glove for your automotive application, is a powder-free nitrile glove.