Auto repair shops rev student attention


For many college students, cars are their lives. They rely on them to get to class, to work and to hang out with friends; but what happens when the brakes start to grind or squeal or the dreaded check engine light begins to glow?

Some have the mechanical skill and the resources to make the repairs on their own vehicle. For the remainder of SDSU students though, the best option is to find a local auto service business in town and leave it to the experts.

Dalton Lenger of Pro Lube said customer service is a big thing students should look for when seeking out the right business to provide maintenance for their vehicle.

“Customer service, how loyal the people are to the customer, how they treat their vehicle [are all factors in choosing a service center],” Lenger said. 

Lenger said that Pro Lube draws most of their new business from referrals. The same can be said about Hometown Service & Tire which is owned by Tim Jensen who also recommends students look for a business they can trust.

“They would want to find somebody who is going to be reliable as well as upfront,” Jensen said. “One of the things we always offer is free inspections. And then we don’t fix the vehicles until they have a dollar amount.”

For students looking to avoid major repairs or that situation when their car fails them when they need it most, these auto experts have a few tips.

“It’s hard to predict a South Dakota winter,” Lenger said. “It’s hard to predict the weather within a couple days. I just hate to see anyone stranded out there. Keep up to date on your car and make sure everything looks good. That’s what we do here. We’ll do the inspection. We’ll let you guys know if anything’s wrong with it. … We’re more worried about the customer than us doing it. If it’s something we can’t do, we’ll recommend a good place to take it. We’re just here for the customer.”

Because of the special challenges South Dakota winters present, Jensen has a few recommendations for helping students get their cars through the unpredictable season.

“We recommend you getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles, or 4,000 to 6,000 with synthetic [oil], and also having your battery tested,” Jensen said. “[Another thing is] testing your coolants in your vehicle. Some of them, depending on who put the coolant in your vehicle, can be diluted more than it should be with water and it could freeze in the radiator.”

When check engine lights come on, Jensen recommends getting it checked out immediately. If cost is a concern, students should know that Hometown Service & Tire will check the cause of your engine light free of charge.

When it comes to auto service, Jensen saidHometown Service & Tire provides all services with the exception of body work. Pro Lube is much the same. Lenger said their most popular service is their oil changes, but they also perform general service and repairs.