One for the road

Good car care is all about being prepared. That was the lesson at Tuesday’s “How to Wow” seminar hosted at Gerber Auto Care in Webster City.

The Chamber of Commerce sponsored seminar covered basic emergency precautions and showed attendees how to perform several common car fixes. Attendees also ate at Seneca Street Saloon before the seminar.

This “How to Wow” session was different from previous educational seminars, which have covered such topics as hiring employees, historic building rehabilitation and using social media. Chamber director Deb Brown said this session was held due to request.

“We had a couple people who wanted to learn more,” Brown said. “Just simple things like what to check for. Because we’re the chamber, we also support our members, and both Gerber Auto and the Seneca Street Saloon are members.”

Doug Youngdale, of Gerber Auto Care, was tasked with showing seminar attendees the ropes. He began by discussing important things to keep in a vehicle in case of emergency. The most important thing to keep handy in a vehicle, Youngdale said, is the owner’s manual.

“Nobody’s ever read it, but everyone has one,” Youngdale said. “Everything you want to know is right there.”

Having a cell phone, and a cell phone charger while driving is also important, according to Youngdale, because it’s the easiest way to contact emergency services. An emergency kit, he said, should contain things like a flashlight, tools to change a tire, drinking water, antifreeze, first-aid, and anything else a person thinks they might need on the road.

“Something is better than nothing,” Youngdale said.

Regular car maintenance can prevent an emergency situation. Youngdale said that getting problems fixed when they happen is not only better for the long-term life of the car, but also spaces out the bills.

Youngdale demonstrated how to jump-start a car and how to change a tire. Those watching jumped when he showed what happens when you connect jumper cables incorrectly. He also showed the difference between a cheaper and a more expensive jumper cable. With two cut wires in his hands, Youngdale showed that the cheaper one was mostly insulation.

“You get what you pay for on jumper cables,” Youngdale said.

Maintaining good tire pressure is important as well, because according to Youngdale, tires that are underinflated or overinflated can reduce the gas milage of a car up to 20 percent. He had several tires on hand to show the group, and showed how badly inflated or misaligned tires wear down over time. He also showed how to change a tire.