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Avoid Your Car Breaking Down This Thanksgiving Break

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

By: Sophia Pallozzi

With Thanksgiving break right around the corner, Purchase College University Police Department (UPD) hosted their annual “Safe Travels” located in the central three parking lot on Nov. 15. Members of the RJB Towing and Service close down shop to come to campus and check students’ cars before the holiday send-off. Services include battery checks, tire pressure, wiper blades, coolant, engine oil, and fluids top-off.

“A lot of times, people don’t understand the importance of tire pressure, fluids, and lights,” said Bob Ballasedis, owner of RJB Towing and Service. “We try to educate the students and let them know the safety of the car, hopefully avoiding a breakdown a couple 100 miles away from home.”

Officer Castor serving coffee and donuts to students and crew members. (Photo by: Sophia Pallozzi)

Students had the chance to roll into a parking spot as crew members popped open the hoods of cars to inspect the engine, battery life, oil life, windshield fluid amount, and other necessities needed to drive a safe car. All supplies were customary from RJB Towing and Service, including coolant, windshield wiper fluid, and an air compressor to fill up low tires.

Chief Dayton Tucker of UPD finds car safety important, remembering the first time he was sent off to college with a car. Tucker said, “I paid $200 for a Mercury Lynx right before I went to college and knew nothing about it. When I came back for the break, my dad was driving the car with me, and he said, ‘What is that sound? What’s wrong with your brakes?’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’”

UPD hosts this event annually to ensure that students have a safe trip home without any hazardous stops or costly repairs. “We think about a lot of students who are in a similar situation: bought a car before they came to college, and don’t really know how to take care of it,” said Tucker.

Students come from all areas of New York, even out of state. Driving back home can be anywhere from 30 minutes to eight hours. Aurora Sikelianos, sophomore film major, said, “I had no idea that Purchase had this service before the break. I think it’s helpful to students like me who live two hours away and need a checkup before the long drive.”

Lynnea Moskowitz, a sophomore sociology major and Connecticut native pulled her Subaru Crosstrek into a parking spot and had a crew member pop the hood. After checking her lights, engine, oil life, and battery, she said, “I’ve had problems with my car in the past. Although I only live 40 minutes away, I feel better about driving now that everything has been checked out.”

A photo of a crew member checking tire pressure. (Photo by: Sophia Pallozzi.)

“This might be someone’s first time away from home, and mom or dad usually takes care of the car. We try to teach and educate students about their car and the importance of maintaining it,” said Ballasedis.



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