Winnetka area Girl Scouts get car talk
Cadette Troop 40272 members Julia Green, Alyssa Health, Erin Rose, Sarah James, Fiona Tilson, Hanna Skinner, Isabel Scharf and Madeline Hopps got to see usually-not-visible parts of a car during their visit to Hubbard Woods Motors. | Joe Cyganowski ~ For
Updated: June 4, 2012 8:01AM
The Girl Scouts in Troop 40272 may not be ready to be mechanics after their visit last month to Hubbard Woods Motors in Winnetka, but they will know how to be road ready.
The Scouts from Washburne School and New Trier High School went to Bob Berger’s auto service shop, at 985 Green Bay Road, to earn a badge.
But Berger’s and the shop’s general manager Tad Lucas’ mission was to teach the girls the importance of “taking care of this very expensive machine,” Lucas said.
“We want to impress on them the importance of maintenance,” Berger said. “If you maintain it well, (parts) won’t break as often.”
In his presentation, Lucas showed how to check the levels of all the fluids under the hood and the purpose of each: automatic transmission, brake and power steering fluids, and the engine motor oil and antifreeze. He also explained how to check the tires’ condition and air pressure.
“They can go over these things and check them with their parents before they leave on a long trip,” Lucas said.
“When the kids are in the back seat, they can see the gauges and lights on the dashboard,” Lucas said. “This helps them to understand what some of those things are.”
Paying attention to the readings on the dashboard can help the mechanic find the source of a problem, when a driver brings his car in because it’s not running right.
Some people tell the mechanic the battery light went on in the dashboard, when it actually was the symbol for the radiator.
“Sometimes you have to make it really simple,” Lucas said. The battery has a “plus or a minus,” he said. The radiator symbol “looks like a box with a fan.”
That information is explained in the car’s owner manual, but drivers don’t consult that book often enough, Lucas said.
He shared another tip from an industry colleague. “Once a week, you should open the hood and look at the car’s engine, even if you don’t know what you’re looking at.” If you become familiar with what the engine and the parts look like usually, you will recognize when something looks different.
“You may open up the hood and see rubber all over.” And that means? “It could be parts of a drive belt,” Lucas said.
“The information they get from knowing their car, allows people to take care of their own car and to know when they need a professional.”