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"Let's take a look under the hood, shall we?" Skills Development Center offers women free lesson in auto basics

by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker
Thunderbolt staff writer
Photo by Senior Airman Andrea Thacker

Tim Tyree, Skills Development Center mobile equipment servicer, shows MacDill ladies how to properly change the oil on a vehicle.

Doing an oil change yourself does not require much skill, but crawling under a car and having oil drip down your sleeve is hardly what you would call feminine. Recently 10 MacDill women got down and dirty, and completed the first course in Auto Basics for Women.

The course was offered through the Skills Development Center and was free to MacDill ladies.

The hour long course was dedicated to provide an opportunity for women to gain a better understanding of their vehicle and how to keep it in a safe working condition. They were taught how to change their car's oil, rotate/change tires and check tire pressure.

Tammy Zell, Skills Development Center director, believes women should have some basic knowledge about auto skills.

"The increase in knowledge gives the women a greater sense of independence when it comes to caring for their car," said Mrs. Zell. "This is especially important during this time of increased deployments when so many wives are left at home when the husband is gone for extended periods. This is an opportunity for the woman to feel more at ease in any auto repair shop in which she might be receiving service, since this is traditionally viewed at being more of a male-dominated area."

The women learned how regular oil changes are the best way to ensure longer engine life, why tires are the shoes of a car and that it is common for a front tire to outlast a rear tire by as much as three to one.

"In order to achieve optimum performance, vehicle owners should follow a preventive maintenance schedule that includes frequent checks of tire pressure and rotation of tires every 6,000 to 7,500 miles," explained Tim Tyree, class instructor. "Car owners should also have their oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months (whichever comes first)."

Airman 1st Class Heather Kanazaka, 6th Communications Squadron, attended the class and agreed that she benefited from the class and would definitely attend another class in auto basics if offered.

"We don't expect every woman that took the class to change their own oil or rotate their own tires in the future," said Mrs. Zell. "But we feel that we've succeeded if they have at the minimum learned how to recognize conditions that might impair the vehicle and be able to resolve those problems without consternation. As the saying goes, 'knowledge is power'."

For more information on this class and others offered through the SDC, call 828-4413.




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