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Web poll: Students not taking care of vehicles

Sept. 26, 2003

By Elizabeth Bishop, reporter

College students are not taking care of their cars, according to a new poll by Jiffy Lube International.

The online survey determined that one out of three students with cars wished that they changed their oil more often.

According to Anne Tawney, vice president of marketing at Jiffy Lube International, many students know they should take better care of their cars, but they do not make time for it.

'While most students changed their oil at least once during the school year, many of them acknowledge that they don't keep a regular maintenance schedule,' Tawney said.

The poll asked students why they did not change the oil in their vehicles more often.

Thirty-two percent responded that they forget, 20 percent do not know that they need to change it, 18 percent said they are too busy and 15 percent said they cannot afford an oil change.

The survey also finds that neglecting basic car maintenance can lead to serious and expensive problems later on.

Jim Uzzel, owner of Kwik Tire at 3519 Franklin Ave., agreed.

'We see [problems caused by neglect] fairly regularly,' Uzzel said. 'We deal with a lot of tires, and failure to take care of them can lead to premature wear and eventually a blowout.'

Jim Rittimann, a New Braunfels senior, had car trouble recently. The clutch in his truck went out, so he took it home to have his parents take it to a mechanic.

'I had my parents take care of the bill,' he said. 'That would be my advice to students with car problems.'

Some local car shop owners, such as George Graves of City Tire and Battery at 1502 S. Valley Mills Drive said they think that Baylor students are doing well at taking care of their cars.

'Most of them get their cars checked out when they go home,' Graves said. 'When students go off to school, they start figuring out that they have to take care of their cars. They take steps to learn.'

Jeff Jenkins, vice president of the High Performance Driving Club, said he puts a lot of effort into taking care of his car. He changes the oil and oil filter in his 1990 BMW M3 regularly and checks his tire pressure. For students who are responsible for their own cars for the first time, it can be difficult to know what actions to take to keep vehicles in good condition.

Jenkins, a junior from The Woodlands, said that it is important to check a vehicle's tire pressure regularly.

'One in four vehicles have low pressure in one tire,' he said. 'Also, check oil every 3,000 miles and the oil filter every 15,000 miles.'

Local automotive repair and maintenance shops say that basic maintenance work on your vehicle does not have to be expensive. For example, Discount Auto Parts on 1225 Franklin Ave. charges $19.95 for an oil change, according to the general manager, Mike Warden.

'It's a good time to remind students about the importance of keeping their cars in good condition,' Tawney said. 'Routine maintenance is the easiest way to prevent a costlier breakdown later.'