Of the thousands of students who drive to Salt Lake Community College, some will inevitably have car trouble, especially during the harsh Utah winter.
As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, Officer David Brooks of the Utah Highway Patrol offers a few car care tips to help students avoid breakdowns.
Dead batteries are the most common problem that officers encounter at SLCC. Students often forget to turn off their vehicle lights before they hurry to class, according to Brooks.
Brooks, who patrols the South City Campus, says officers or SLCC parking staff can jumpstart a dead car battery with starter packs available at every campus.
To avoid the hassle of a drained battery, Brooks advises students to quickly check that all lights — inside and out — are off and all doors are completely shut before walking away from their car.
Brooks also reminds vehicle owners to keep track of the age of their car battery and change it about every five years.
In regards to winterizing a car, Brooks recommends that all critical fluids are replaced and at the proper levels.
“Make sure [the vehicle’s] antifreeze has been changed to get it ready for the winter,” Brooks says. “Make sure [other] services are done and up to date so the vehicle works well through the winter.”
In addition to antifreeze, motor oil should be changed regularly to keep the engine in good working order.
To keep a windshield clear during a winter storm, drivers should add windshield washer fluid and replace streaky wiper blades, if needed.
Last but not least, keep enough gas in the tank to avoid running out in some inconvenient place.
Students should also check their tires before the snow starts to fall.
According to Brooks, many car crashes that occur in slippery conditions are a result of tires that do not have enough tread on them.
“Bald tires are going to be a big problem,” Brooks says.
Drivers can use a simple coin test to measure a tire’s tread level and determine if their tires need to be replaced.
SLCC drivers should take the time now to make sure their vehicles are ready for the winter season. But for the unlucky few who need a charge, there’s peace of mind knowing that help is available.