Campus police urge students to take advantage of free car clinic

By Meredith Foster[email protected] – Staff Writer
A drive-up clinic provided by Mike’s Auto Service and hosted by UNC Asheville campus police comes to campus this Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We held this clinic once before,” said Dennis Thompson, a UNCA police officer in charge of security and parking enforcement. “We just want to make sure that the vehicles are safe for the weather and the upcoming trips they might take home.”
Last year’s free service clinic prevented a few potential problems.
“We had a student last year that was about to head home to Greensboro for break,” Thompson said. “They found out that her belt was ripping from the side and it probably would have deteriorated on a drive like that.”
According to Thompson, the auto clinic held in lot P17 across from Governors Hall aims to prevent those types of problems.
“They’ll be checking tires, belts, lights and fluids, all for free,” Thompson said. “The auto clinic is drive up and is for faculty, staff and students.”
“I went last year just because my PT cruiser has more than 150,000 miles on it,” said Rebecca Keil, director of student-athlete services. “To have someone look at it for free just to make sure that it’s safe and sound was welcome.”
Keil said she had been experiencing problems with the door ajar sensor on her car.
“It seemed like every time I stopped at a stoplight or a stop sign it would go off,” Keil said. “They were able to fix it on the spot in just a few minutes. It was quite a relief.”
Keil said she now uses Mike’s Auto Service as her main auto repair shop.
“They did a great job with my car,” Keil said. “They’re also really convenient to campus, which works for me.”
Attending the auto clinic doesn’t require any follow-up appointments or commitment to Mike’s, according to Thompson.
“They try to do everything for you on the spot,” Thompson said. “They won’t tell you that you have to bring it in to the shop or make a follow-up appointment, it’s all up to you.”
Campus police uses Mike’s Auto Service when they need additional assistance with car trouble on campus, according to Thompson.
“We do jumpstarts and key extractions for students when they need it, but we call Mike’s for the bigger jobs,” Thompson said. “They’re a good option for students who are further away from home because they’re so close to campus.”
Sam Barbeau, a junior from Charlotte, said he plans on attending the clinic for the first time.
“I just recently got a new car, and while I’m sure it was taken care of in the past, it’s really nice to have to opportunity to get it looked at just in case,” Barbeau said.
Being a non-resident student, Barbeau said he depends on his car every day to get him to and from school.
“I know a pretty good bit about cars, and I always do what I can to take care of them,” Barbeau said. “But it’s nice to have professionals come to campus and help us out.”
There are only so many things you can take care of with your car without tools and experience, Barbeau said.
    Eric Boyce, chief of police, came up with the idea last year to increase auto awareness and improve overall safety for students.
“I really like the idea that they’re doing something like this for the students, especially before many of them will take road trips home,” Keil said.
Thompson said he hopes people take the opportunity to come out and get their cars ready for the upcoming winter months.
“With the weather getting colder, this check-up is just in time,” Barbeau said.
In case of bad weather during the auto clinic, it will be moved into one of the covered parking decks. Campus police will provide signage on Friday to direct traffic.