Drivers save at auto inspections

Story and photo by Christine June
USAG Kaiserslautern

Air Force spouse Ann Callan first brought her 1999 Subaru Outback and then went back home to get her husband’s 1992 BMW for U.S. Army Garrison-Kiaserslautern’s Spring Safety Day free car inspections April 15 at the Pulaski Auto Skills.

“Our cars are older so there might be things that we haven’t thought about – little things start to go wrong,” Mrs. Callan said.

More than 150 drivers found out about the “little things that could go wrong” at the free inspection, which was intended to make sure vehicles were safe for spring and summer vacations and road trips.

The inspection marks the fourth one that the garrison has hosted for the KMC, and it is tied into the Army Family Covenant – a commitment by Army leadership to improve the quality of life for families.

“We are providing for the spouses of Soldiers and Airmen by ensuring their family vehicles are safe, especially when their military sponsor is deployed,” said Bob Bigelow, the garrison’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation community recreation officer.

Ranging from checking windshield wipers to lifting vehicles to check underneath for any safety concerns, inspections took about 30 minutes. The inspections were quite in depth and could cost about $80 to $100 if done in the states, said Don Breton, the garrison’s Pulaski Auto Skills manager, who initiated the inspections in 2007 and now holds them twice a year in spring and winter.

Professionals throughout the community volunteer their services for the inspections, said Mike Cutlip, the garrison’s Landstuhl Auto Skills manager.
One company to volunteer its services was Gerhard Palm and his son, Christian, from The Bosch Service Palm in Landstuhl. This is the second time the Bosch professionals volunteered and conducted free headlight tests on low and high beams.

Another professional who volunteered his services for the second time was Spc. Maurice Steele, a diesel mechanic with the 147th Postal Company.

“I just love doing it – helping out people,” Specialist Steele said.

Parents were also able to have their children’s car safety seats inspected by the garrison Safety Office’s two certified child safety seat inspectors. Inspections on each of the 15 car seats took about 30 minutes, said Scott Livingston, one of the garrison’s certified child safety seat inspectors.

“The whole process is an education thing,” he said. “We take the car seat completely out, talk to the parent and then show them how to install it. We then take it out again and have the parent put it back in.”

Mr. Livingston said the majority of every car seat he inspected was too loose, with an inch of play in any direction.

“(Mr. Livingston) is doing a fabulous job showing me how to hook them up the right way,” said Christopher Haskell, whose wife is currently deployed to Iraq. The Haskell’s have two sons, ages 2 and 3. “I love that they did this today, and I’m glad I stopped here.”