Mechanics volunteer time to check on vehicles

A local church is helping people prepare their cars for winter.

It all started with an idea.

“I served in a church in Tempe, Arizona and they did a big scale car clinic, and again, just basically helping single moms, widows, people who are not able to get their cars ready for winter or for summer,” says Barry Spifert, First Baptist Associate Pastor.

When he began serving in Minot, he passed along the idea and mechanics both in the congregation and community agreed to volunteer to help those in need.

“I know how expensive it can be to actually come to a shop, so to actually donate my time and give away free service and give back to the community, it means a lot to me,” says Sammy Castillo, Roughneck Auto and Diesel Repair Owner.

So the parking lot was turned into a shop.

“Doing simple oil changes, fluid checks, checking air filters, making sure that their vehicles are safe for the winter time, making sure air pressure’s good,” says Castillo.

Some tasks can be done at home, even if you’re not mechanically inclined.

“Making sure that your windshield wiper’s not cracked, picking them up, taking a look at them. You can actually see if they’re torn, it’s time to replace them,” says Castillo.

One of the easiest and most overlooked things for you to do with your vehicle is to check your oil, so all you got to do is pull out your dipstick, have a nice napkin in your hand, and then check and make sure that the oil is between the hashmarks. You should generally check your oil about once a month.

“Doing the proper oil change and doing it at the properly scheduled interval actually helps engine life go on,” says Castillo.

Your owner’s manual will tell you how many miles you should go between oil changes. He also recommends checking your tires and belts for any cracks.

“All these things that are rubber, they’re temperature sensitive they can — when it starts getting cold out, in the good North Dakota weather, it starts beating up on them, you know, and then all of a sudden you get that first cold snap and then you find yourself in a shop and then you’re going to be in line because every shop in town’s going to be three weeks out,” says Castillo.

But at the end of the day, you know your vehicle best, so if something seems out of the ordinary, Castillo recommends visiting a shop before the issue gets worse to save yourself time and money in the future.

The Minot First Baptist Church will hold another car clinic in the spring to help those in need.

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