ALTON — Some women know enough about cars to change the oil. Others can’t find the dipstick under the hood to check it. Each of the women attending a recent car care seminar at Andy’s Tire and Auto Service learned something new.
“I knew how to check the oil but I’ve never tried to jump-start a car,” said Brenda Lawrence, 58, of Wood River.
She was there with her friend, Pam Williams of Hartford. Williams said her brother used to take care of her car but now it was up to her.
Mark Anderson, owner of Andy’s, gave similar seminars in St. Louis to scouts, teens getting their driver’s licenses and other groups. Anderson, along with general manager Chuck Tucker, hosted the workshop.
“We were at the women’s business seminar hosted by the RiverBend Growth Association last month,” Anderson said. “We want to continue that tradition.”
“We want to give you basic knowledge to keep you out of bad situations,” Tucker told the women at the seminar. “How to jump-start your car, change a flat tire or check the fluids.”
Before leading them into the shop, Tucker ran through a vehicle inspection sheet and shared a few tips.
“Wipers can ‘chatter,’ even if they’re new,” he said, referring to when wipers bounce, rather than glide, along the windshield. “It usually means they’re dirty, so use an alcohol swab to clean the blades.”
Dirty air filters need to be replaced, and not just those in the engine. Many newer cars have a cabin air filter that should be checked. Often located behind the glove box, they remove pollens and other allergens from inside the car.
Tucker keeps the inspection sheet with the vehicle’s record for future reference but said anyone can get a copy.
Out in the garage, Tucker pointed out where a car’s fluids are located and how much is needed for maintenance.
When coolant is too low, an engine can overheat, causing dangerous steam to build up inside the radiator. Tucker said it could be 20 minutes before the radiator is cool enough before the cap can be removed and more fluid added.
“If you’re stuck in traffic and it’s 100 degrees out and the radiator gauge is moving toward hot, turn the heater on. Blowing air across the heater core will help to cool the radiator,” Tucker said.
The women were surprised to learn that new cars don’t always come with a spare. Joell Aguirre, 45, of Godfrey, found out her 2014 Ford Explorer didn’t have one.
“It might come with a can of Fix-A-Flat but that’s not a guarantee,” Tucker said. “Car manufacturers figure you’ll call a tow truck.”
“I found this (workshop) very informative. I would recommend it to anyone,” Aguirre said.
“I thought it was terrific. Every woman should take this,” Williams said. She added that watching the tire change was the most informative part.
“I think knowing how to check the oil and change a tire should be a part of driver’s ed for all drivers,” Lawrence said.