Auburn Toyota hosts auto 101

Dealership, driving school look to educate college-bound students about their vehicles
By: Andrew DiLuccia, Journal Motoring Editor
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It all started with a phone call and a simple question — “How do you change a spare tire?” When Lee Rafferty heard this query from his daughter and her friend, who just got a flat tire, he knew it was time for some automotive education. “It kind of spawned a little thought. We’ll have your friends come over and we’ll show them how to put on a spare tire,” said Rafferty, the service manager at Magnussen’s Auburn Toyota. But the idea grew from teaching just a few of his daughter Stephanie’s friends some automotive knowledge to enlightening the young driver community as a whole. So with the support of Auburn Toyota General Manager Tony Toohey, and in cooperation with E-Z Way Driving School in Auburn, the first of what Rafferty hopes will be many automotive safety classes begins Wednesday at Magnussen’s Auburn Toyota. Dubbed Car Basics, The Road to Safety, the free class, which begins at 7 p.m., is for students going off to college or anyone who’s seeking knowledge about their car and the safest ways to operate it. “My face lit up (when Lee Rafferty mentioned the class). I thought it was a fabulous idea,” Toohey said. “I wish I would have thought of it myself … it’s so common-sense orientated.” The first of what is planned to be a semi-annual class, which could grow in frequency if there is a large response, will be broken down into five different stations. The stations will include information on how to change a spare tire, how to perform a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, general maintenance and general driving safety, to name a few. Rafferty also said that a representative from the California Highway Patrol would be present to tell young drivers how to interact with law enforcement on the road. Attendees will also receive free tire tread and air gauges as part of the class. E-Z Way Driving School will address the safety issues of being behind the wheel, including tips for safe driving — i.e., don’t talk or text on your cell phone while driving. “You know I think it will be something that will not only benefit teenagers, but even their parents,” said Shelley Collins, operator of E-Z Way Driving School in Auburn. “I think we’ve kind of gotten away from the kids really knowing a lot of things (when it comes to their vehicles). Online driving courses have taken a lot of students out of the classroom where those things were covered. This is a great opportunity.” While classes like this Wednesday’s are a valuable resource, the Northern California Division of AAA recommends all parents should address car-safety issues before any of their children take off for college. “Not only does a well-maintained vehicle provide safe, reliable transportation for their student, it also prolongs the life of the vehicle and saves money,” said Matt Skryja, AAA Northern California spokesperson in a press release. Those interested in signing up for Car Basics, The Road to Safety, or another upcoming class, can call (800) 969-8484 or e-mail Andrew DiLuccia can be reached at __________ Car Basics, The Road to Safety When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 11 Where: Magnussen’s Auburn Toyota, 800 Nevada St., Auburn Information: Call (800) 969-8484; e-mail What to know before you go Check and maintain tires — They are the easiest to check and maintain but frequently are forgotten until something goes wrong. Make sure you have a tire pressure gauge in the vehicle and know how to use it. Know the maintenance schedule — Performing the manufacturer’s regularly scheduled maintenance will extend the vehicle’s life and ward off costly repairs. Make sure the owner’s manual is in the glove box and you understand the recommended maintenance schedule found in it. Find a repair facility near college — Even if you don’t live far away from home, it is a good idea to locate a repair facility you can trust close to the college for an unexpected repair. Prepare for roadside emergencies — It is important to prepare your vehicles for a breakdown or other roadside emergency — especially if you are attending college far away and cannot call home for help. Source: AAA of Northern California What to keep in your car Flashlight Window cleaner, paper towels Food and water Blanket Camera Notepad and pencil First aid kit Flares Quart of oil Jumper cables Adjustable screwdriver Open-end wrench Pliers Check your spare tire’s pressure periodically Source: Shelley Collins, E-Z Way Driving School