Empowering Women Seminar Provides Tips

By Judi Brinegar
The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

Ladies, would you know what to do if your vehicle started making a “funny” noise?

You know, that hissing sound that sounds like it’s coming from the front right tire? What about that rattle you noticed last week?

Would you be able to tell a mechanic where the noise originated?

A recent “Empowering Women” seminar at G & G Automotive Enterprises in Asheboro offered tips to help maintain vehicles and how to pinpoint problems.

Those in attendance included a mixture of older women, a teenager whose mother thought the information would be helpful as the teen prepares to take driver’s education classes and one man.

Overall safety and what to look for when your car needs repair is vital, according to owner, Gil Goldstein.

“You know your car better than anyone else,” Goldstein said. “You drive it every day and if there is a change, you will be the one to know.”

Goldstein said that communication and maintenance are key.

“You need to be able to communicate with your repair person,” he said.

“You need to clearly convey what is going on — what you think the problem is.

If you feel that they don’t know or understand what the problem is, put them in the car with you and make them do a road test.

If you feel like you can’t tell them what the problem is, take someone with you who can.”

Knowing how to maintain a vehicle will help prevent frequent trips to the garage.

Ask your garage to show you how to check the water, wiper fluid and oil in your vehicle. Learn how to check the tire pressure for a smoother ride and extend the overall life of the tire.

Check your battery. Corrosion and build-up on battery terminals can keep your car from starting. A simple glance to make sure that battery is clean and dry and that the terminals do not have any corrosion and you are done. If you see that the top of the battery is damp or there is a flaky build-up on the terminals (small posts on top of the battery), get it checked.

Check your oil. It is easy to do and can save money on costly repair bills down the road. If you are not sure how to check it, ask your repairman or someone who does know how to show you. It only takes a few minutes and may save the engine. It is recommended that vehicles have the oil changed every 5,000 miles.

Check the overall condition of your engine belts. If they are cracked or dry, they are deteriorating and may need to be replaced. Again, ask someone to show you what to look for.

Check your wiper blades. Weather, salt from winter roads and heat play havoc on wiper blades. If they are starting to come loose from the blade apparatus or are cracked, it is time to get them replaced. A good rule of thumb? When you get your vehicle inspected, go ahead and have the blades replaced at the same time.

Tires can be a major issue as they get older and the tire tread wears down. Check for cracks and tread depth. One easy way to check your tread depth is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into the tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it’s time to replace your tires. Make sure there is the correct amount of air in each tire and that they are properly balanced. It is suggested that you have your tires rotated every third oil change (or every 15,000 miles).

If your oil light or “check engine light” comes on, pull over, stop and call for assistance. Don’t keep driving a vehicle after these warnings come on. You can easily burn up an engine and again, have a costly repair bill.

Buy better quality, name brand products for your vehicle, especially when it comes to maintenance. Ask your garage where the parts are made. An off-brand oil filter may be a few dollars less, but those cheaper substandard parts may end up with you having a costly repair bill. For example, when getting an oil change, a synthetic oil may cost a little more but will extend the life of your engine, saving money overall. Note that name brand products such as the oil and air filters are better quality and should have a limited lifetime warranty.

Goldstein’s biggest recommendation?

“Build a relationship with a local garage or repair shop,” he said. “Ask your friends and family who they use.

When you find someone, ask questions. Use your common sense and listen.

If you don’t feel comfortable, get a second opinion.

“Find someone who won’t cut corners, someone who gives quality care.”

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