LADIES START YOUR ENGINESEvent teaches women how to handle car problems

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, June 30, 2012

In May, 18-year-old Rebeca Velazquez graduated from Vicksburg High School and got a 2009 Ford Focus to drive back and forth from college at Mississippi State University.

Saturday morning, she and her mother Vivian attended Ladies Car Maintenance Day, an event hosted by the Vicksburg Cruisers Car Club.

“Since I’m going to be driving back and forth from Starkville, my mom and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn how to handle car problems if I ever had to pull over on the highway,” Rebeca said.

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At the event, which was held in the parking lot of the Vicksburg Mall from 9 a.m. until noon, Rebeca and others learned how to use jumper cables, check tire pressure, change a tire, clean battery terminals and change fluids in the vehicle.

“I learned quite a bit,” Rebeca said. “I had no idea that cars had fuses in the hood and there’s a spray that can fix holes on your tires momentarily.”

Pete Dionne, president of the Vicksburg Cruisers Car Club, said the purpose of the event was to teach women how to recognize problems with their vehicles.

“We’re just trying to get the word out,” Dionne said. “It’s happened to almost everyone, even my wife, people try to sell you something you don’t need in a mechanic shop. It’s important to know about your vehicle and what’s going on with it.”

Dionne, who is a certified mechanic, and other members of the club gave each visitor a checklist and inspected different parts of the vehicle, explaining what they were doing as they went along.

“They had southern hospitality, and they were very funny, too,” Rebeca said.

Dionne said the idea for the event came from a club member who wanted to teach others about car maintenance.

“We like to set up stuff for the community,” Dionne said. “Several people in the club thought this was a good idea, and from old to new, we live and breathe cars.”

Vivian Velazquez was pleased with what her daughter learned from the club members.

“Even though we have Triple A for everybody in the house, I still think it’s important for Rebeca to learn the basics about maintenance before she goes to college,” Vivian Velazquez said. “The information was clear, concise and very helpful.”

Dionne was also pleased with the event, and he hopes people learned something.

“People need to know about this stuff,” Dionne said. “It’s a win-win situation.”