It’s that special time of year when we say “so long” to summer and begin looking forward to our beautiful autumn season ahead. Before you proudly watch as your dedicated offspring recommit to achieving their academic goals, we’ve put together a special Pop Quiz to share with them. These examples of just how NOT to care for your car are based on (embarrassingly) TRUE experiences.
We hope the stories spark conversation and help your young adults learn the right way to maintain a vehicle and stay safe.
Bad Habits 101, A Refresher
Ever cram for a test at the last minute only to realize if you’d have started earlier and worked a little at a time you’d have done way better?
A key to living a great life is developing good habits. College is an ideal time to reassess what you used to do as a kid and decide the kind of adult you’d like to be. You’re young enough to adjust course and redefine your approach to health, homework, relationships, cleanliness, and how you take care of your things, whether that refers to possessions in your apartment, or a big ticket item, like your car. Remember, the longer you have a bad habit the harder it is to break.
Today’s Pop Quiz: What happens if...
...you forget to change your oil
Sara loved her compact Honda that was handed down from her older sister. Unfortunately, Sara wasn’t good at getting regular oil changes. One day as she was driving down the freeway, her car started smoking, and slowed and slowed until it stopped altogether. She was fortunate her parents gave her a AAA membership. She was also really lucky because the car had just enough momentum left to coast off the exit ramp instead of being stuck on the side of the freeway. She called AAA and told them she must be out of gas (even though the tank appeared to be ½ full). When the tow truck driver arrived with the extra gas, he popped her hood and checked her oil. Guess what? None. Nothing. Dry as a bone.
Question: What do you think happened to Sara’s car?
Answer: By avoiding regular oil changes (to save a little money) she ended up destroying her car’s engine. She couldn’t afford to get another car so she spent years paying off the several thousand dollars it cost to replace her engine.
...you don’t check your tire’s air pressure
John had a Toyota pickup truck. He was considered a hero when he helped his friends move, he used it to pick up treasures from garage sales and to haul equipment for work. John was pretty good about adding air to his tires because he knew it was important. One day John was driving with a co-worker when all of the sudden he heard a loud, “KaBOOM!” He swerved a bit but kept driving. Within minutes, there was a second “KaBOOM!” As his steering became difficult John pulled over and called for help. The driver towed his car to a nearby repair shop.
Question: What do you think happened to John’s truck?
Answer: Two of John’s tires blew. When the nice repairman inserted his tire gage into one of the two remaining tires he yelled, “Ay, ay, ay! 60 pounds!” Needless to say, the tire’s air pressure was much too high.
It’s not enough to simply add air to a tire. There is a reason the gage was invented. Using it to be sure your tire’s air pressure meets the requirements for your tires is very important. John and his co-worker were lucky they didn’t end up swerving into another car when the tires blew. Many accidents that occur from tire blowouts could be avoided with proper tire care and maintenance. Poor John ended up replacing all four of his tires and learning an expensive lesson.
...your windshield wiper blades are worn out
Patrick was careful about keeping his car clean and well maintained. In the dry heat of summer, he never used his windshield wipers. His wipers came with the used car he bought a few years ago. One day he was driving along a two-lane road when a sudden rainstorm hit.
Question: What do you think happened to Patrick?
Answer: As you’ll learn more about later in this post, rubber does not last forever. Patrick tried to use his wipers but the rubber was so dried out they did nothing to help him see. Needless to say he had to pull over until the storm passed.
The moral of these stories?
Do not neglect proper car maintenance. Get in the habit of scheduling regular service. It’s not just about ensuring your car will get you where you need to go. When you drive you want to take every precaution possible to protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers. Taking good care of your car increases its value, too. And if you don’t already know this, any accident you have, even a minor one, can increase your insurance rates -- sometimes a lot.
Top Back-To-School Car Care Tips:
Huh. I wonder what that light means.
Don’t ignore that warning light on your dashboard. Check Engine lights, warnings about your brakes (may be an ABS notification), or your airbags (it might say SRS) indicates there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Sherwood Auto Repair provides a complimentary code-read to help determine if there are any warnings or if further testing needs to be done. We always consult with our customer about the results and provide recommendations.
Oh, no! My car won’t go!
You may not know the condition of your battery, but we can tell you. We can do a battery test so you won’t have to worry about getting on the road and running out of juice.
Where does the rubber hit the road?
Rubber does not last forever. In fact, it starts aging from the moment it’s produced regardless of use or miles driven. The #1 cause of highway breakdowns? Rubber belts and hoses. Changes in temperatures are also a factor. A close inspection of your car’s belts and hoses is a good idea before you head back to campus.
Rain, shmain. I know how to drive in inclement weather.
If you grew up in the Portland area you might have better skills than other drivers your age in dry climates. However, your tires, windshield wipers, and lights need to be in good condition so they function properly when you need them. Don’t be like Patrick and wait until it’s too late.
Remember, if any of your exterior lights are out you may get a pricey visit from a friendly, neighborhood police officer. And DO NOT USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. Using your phone not only puts you and everyone else on the road in serious danger, you risk getting slapped with thousands of dollars in fines, losing your license, or even jail time.
Call today and schedule oil service and regular maintenance.
A comprehensive and complimentary inspection is included with every service so you can be sure your car is ready for fall. And if you plan to be back in the winter, schedule your next oil change now so you can get that taken care over your break.
Here at Sherwood Auto Repair we care about our customers and want all of you to drive smart and stay safe.
Take care of yourself.
Take care of your car.
And to all the college students out there, make it a happy and successful semester!