Jumpstart your car’s health

By on February 15, 2006

The responsibility of having a car on campus can leave college students jaded. Sure it’s fun to cruise around town, drive to a job, or grab a bite to eat with a simple turn of the ignition, but students also tend to forget that their “freedom machines” need a little TLC. There are some simple ways for students to maintain their four-wheeled friends.

The most routine task that can be done to ensure a car remains “healthy” is getting it washed.

Washing a car creates the first line of defense against sand, salt, and other hazardous material. The accumulation of such grime can lead to various problems such as rust, corrosion, and damage to the exhaust system.

Everyone who owns a car knows the price of gas, and although it may be a hassle to buy it, it is essential. What most people overlook is whether or not they are buying the correct type of gas.

Smaller to mid-size cars require unleaded gas, better known as “regular,” while mid-sized cars and high performance cars require diesel or “premium” fuel. Using the correct type of gas will ensure that a car will continue to run smoothly and prevent problems on the road ahead.

The next essential task is an oil change.

An oil change involves draining old oil and replacing the filter. Generally it is recommended that oil should be changed every three to four thousand miles. An oil change can be performed at almost any local car dealership or gas station and will prevent what is potentially fatal damage to the engine.

Not following these procedures could end up costing a lot of money in the long run and even if you do follow them, some problems may still occur

“My car wouldn’t start. I was shocked because I always take it to get oil changes and have it looked at,” David Jurek, sophomore diagnostic imaging major, said.

But the problem didn’t lie within the engine. Instead, it was the battery and all the wiring around it that left his Cadillac dead in the middle of winter.

“When [a] security [guard] opened up the hood for me to give me a boost, he mentioned that the battery and the wiring were all corroded. I took a look and was shocked by what I saw,” Jurek said.

Jurek got the boost he needed and waited as the employee’s at Pep Boys went to work.

“It took a while, but when I got the car back, she ran, which was all I wanted,” Jurek said.

Jurek’s battery problems did not occur because he hadn’t taken care of his car, but because he had not gotten a tune up.

A tune up is performed to replace and fix parts of the car that wear out. This should be done about every 30,000 miles. That distance may seem a long time away for new car owners, but for those who own used or older cars it is a figure that should be monitored.

A tune up includes checking and cleaning the battery, replacing the filters, flushing the fluids and checking the spark plug as well as the spark plug wires. Though the process may seem tedious, it will ensure that your car will continue to run smoothly, and prevent possible severe damage to the engine and other parts.

By performing all of these procedures, a car owner can help upkeep the condition of a vehicle and prevent breakdowns, but even so, the best way to take care of a car is to drive it safely and avoid accidents.


About Brandon Shapiro and Jim Ford