My dad always told me …”
Over the next few hours, I’ll hear this phrase multiple times during a free women’s automotive clinic at Honest Accurate Auto Service. Sometimes Dad’s advice was sage, it seems. Sometimes it wasn’t. Either way, the 14 attendees here today are getting an opportunity to ask pointed questions about all those parts that can be found under the hood, beneath the chassis and, in the case of my Mini Cooper, back in “the boot.”
Honest Accurate has offered workshops for women of all ages twice a year, October and April, since 2011, now at both its east branch near Powers Boulevard and Nevada Mesa View location. “We saw that women often feel uncomfortable coming into a shop—kind of like I feel uncomfortable going into a computer shop, because I’m not computer savvy,” says owner Rondi Stratton. “They don’t know the language; don’t feel comfortable asking questions. We want to try to make them more at ease when they come in for service or have a problem.”
It’s a comprehensive morning. We find oil dipsticks and learn how and when to check this and other fluids. We pass around new and worn brake pads. We learn to jump a battery and change a tire. We stand underneath a car and match names we’ve all heard with actual parts.
We also learn questions to ask at a shop—and to not worry about how we go about it. “If your car is making a weird sound, try to make the noise for us,” says service adviser Ted Slosky.
Attendee Lisa Elliss has no problem asking a lot of questions. She’s brought her daughter Abby, who just got her driver’s license a week earlier. Though Elliss says she feels pretty comfortable with newer cars, her daughter wants to get an older Jeep. The two are pleased with the experience—so much so, Elliss says, “I wish they would do this for boys.”
Get Ready for Road-Trip Season
“Last summer, one of our long-time customers put 13,129 miles on his 2002 Honda Odyssey, which already had over 600,000 miles on it, to Alaska without incident,” says Austin Kane, east shop owner at Honest Accurate Auto Service. The reason he was able to do so? “Lee has been faithful in doing regularly scheduled maintenance on his vehicle throughout the years.” Keep your vehicle running like Lee’s by completing the following before any road trips.
Oil Change Service: Check and change your own, or take the car in for service including checks on brakes; fluid levels and conditions; coolant; belt, hose and suspension condition; tire tread and inflation; headlights and taillights; and wiper blades.
Alignment Check: This will ensure even tire wear to get the most out of your tires and to confirm that all suspension components—including ball joints, bushings and shocks—are safe to drive long distances.
Air Conditioning Temperature Check: Properly-working AC will help your family and passengers keep their cool through extreme summer temperatures.
Brake Check: Have your brake pads measured and rotors (or drums) inspected with the wheels off to make sure your car stops quickly and effectively.
Charging and Starting System Check: Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, are tough on batteries. “Have a charging and starting test, and battery load test, before you leave on that road trip,” says Kane.