Imagine leaving a store, but to your surprise, your car will not start. Many people experience situations such as this after neglecting their car.
Michael Covington, a senior physics student from Miami, had this experience firsthand and learned from it.
“I thought replacing the battery would help, but after two months the same problem reoccurred,” Covington said. “After I took it to a solo mechanic, I learned that sometimes what seems as a battery issue can easily be an alternator problem. It keeps the car running and was my problem the whole time.”
The chances of having problems similar to Covington’s can be reduced by staying on top of your vehicle maintenance. John Givington, a service technician at Firestone, said that about 20 percent of his daily customers, on average, are students with frequent problems.
“The majority of the issues are tire repairs,” Givington said. “Also, vehicles overheat, which can be caused by a number of problems, like a lack of coolant in the engine or a radiator hose bursting.”
Other than watching the car gauges that alert you when a problem has occurred, some students keep up with the health of their vehicle on their own.
Jean Ulysses, a senior business marketing student from Orlando, knows a lot about cars from watching mechanics, researching and self-teaching.
“I know how to check my battery and keep it healthy, change the oil, the alternator and the tires, and also add and check fluids,” Ulysses said. “I learned by observation, but mainly, I just went in and started unscrewing stuff.”
Ulysses is confident in his knowledge with car maintenance and gives the same tips as some mechanics would.
“It may just be me, but I run a checkup on my car just about every two weeks to keep it in the best condition I can,” he said. “Everyone should get used to checking the oil and other fluids on a regular basis along with tire pressure and the windshield wipers.”
Both Ulysses and Covington find ease in learning the basics of car maintenance and said that you do not necessarily have to be a professional.
“I know enough about cars to keep mine running,” Covington said. “And I’m capable of doing all things through YouTube.”
Covington said he suggests finding a mechanic who owns a shop to get a better deal.
“I go to a mechanic I met outside of Advanced Auto when my car broke down during a holiday and everywhere else was closed. He even fixed some physical damage for free.”