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Car Care Clinic offers practical advice on maintenance

GTNS photo by John Butters

Amy Adams and Brad Holtkamp describe how mechanical problems cause wear on a tire’s surface during a Women’s Car Care Clinic held at Brad Holtkamp Automotive Inc., on Saturday, Oct. 6.
GTNS photo by John Butters Amy Adams and Brad Holtkamp describe how mechanical problems cause wear on a tire’s surface during a Women’s Car Care Clinic held at Brad Holtkamp Automotive Inc., on Saturday, Oct. 6.
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The women who attended a car care clinic Saturday at Brad Holtkamp Automotive Inc. left with a better understanding of what is necessary to maintain the mechanical health of their cars.

The first of what is likely to be an annual event, the Women’s Car Care Clinic focused on the nuts and bolts of auto ownership and preventive maintenance.

“We’re not doing this to teach people how to be a mechanic. We want to educate people on how to maintain their cars so that they don’t end up stranded alongside the road,” said Mari Holtkamp.

Mari said the business recently became an AskPatti.com certified Female Friendly location. HoltKamp has a profile page at the web address.

The business, located at 907 East Washington in Mt. Pleasant, has offered a wide range of auto service work including transmission, tires and exhaust work since 1996. They service all makes and models. The clinic was conducted by Brad Holtkamp with assistance from Mari and Service Adviser Amy Adams.

The women attending the clinic were enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn more about their cars.

“Car care used to be a man’s area,” said Mari. “But that has changed. Cars have become a lot more complicated. Repairs require special tools. A lot of it is electronic. Most people can’t work on their cars like they used to.”

Studies show women make 85 percent of the household buying decisions, Mari said, and that extends to automobile purchasing and repairs.

“They are often the chief purchasing officer,” she said. “They buy differently than men. A lot of men are interested in power, but women are more concerned with safety. These clinics can empower women with the information they need to make informed decisions.”

As promised, the women didn’t learn how to change the oil or repair the brakes, but they did learn the difference between standard and synthetic oil and how to identify worn brake pads. And what happens if you ignore them.

Brad kept the clinic lively with humor and anecdotes from his long career in auto repair. He showed them examples of tire wear from worn ball joints and how a tire is impacted by worn bearings.

Attendees were given the opportunity to examine worn belts and rotors. The clinic was informative without being excessively technical.

In one segment, Brad discussed the sensors in the tires that indicate low inflation.

“If you see the indicator light and then check the tire and it looks okay, check the other tires. The system may not have been told that the tires were rotated. It thinks the tire is still on the same wheel,” he said.

He also discussed the need to make repairs with quality auto parts.

“Cheap is good, but good is not cheap. There is a difference in quality parts,” he said.

The Holtkamps provided the attendees with handouts that offered guidelines to car problems.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” Mari said. “Everyone was very engaged in the presentations, very interested in the things we were talking about. I think it should be an annual event.”