man in black shirt looking at tire

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The roadways of Texas soon will be filled with summer travelers.

Two Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology students recently said that preventive vehicle maintenance is the key to a successful road trip. Automotive Service Professionals Month, which is observed in June by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, is a good time to check different areas of your vehicle.

Charles Mick, a third-semester student from Snyder, learned from experience that checking an engine’s coolant is important.

“I had a radiator and water pump go out on my vehicle because I did not check the coolant,” he said.

Mick said if you take your vehicle to an automotive repair shop, a mechanic will be able to check the coolant level and its quality.

“You do not want your vehicle to overheat, especially when you are traveling,” he said.

Mick said another system to check is the air conditioner.

“If you are not getting any cold air from the air conditioner, you will need to check your Freon level,” he said.

Joseph Dinolfo, of San Angelo, said motorists also should check the tires to make sure they have good treads and are properly inflated.

“You can also check the tire date code on your tire,” he said. “If it is more than five years old, it is probably a good time to get new tires.”

The four-digit code is located on the tire’s sidewall and indicates the week and year when the tire was produced. Dinolfo said if the code is 3122, for example, then the tire was made during the 31st week of 2022.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated on its website that the battery and all lights should be checked before traveling. The NHTSA also suggested checking wiper blades since hot summer months can make them vulnerable to heat damage.

Engine belts also should be on the pre-trip checklist. The NHTSA stated that belts should be inspected for signs of bulges, blisters, cracks or cuts in the rubber.

The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to, Texas employs more than 55,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number was forecast to top 61,000 by 2030. The website stated that the average annual salary for a technician in the state is $46,800.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization and Tesla START Technician, are also available depending on campus location.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at

auto 2 300x239 - Simple precautions can keep vehicles running smoothly, TSTC Automotive Technology students say
Charles Mick, a TSTC Automotive Technology student, looks at the coolant level of a vehicle during a recent lab session.
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