SAE and Chrysler partner to engage students in Car Talk


Photo By KAITLYN CHORNOBY/The Oakland Post

By Kaitlyn Chornoby

Students passing by the Hamlin Circle on Tuesday were able to check out three new Chrysler cars and listen to presentations by members of Oakland’s chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers during the first Car Talk event.

The Car Talk event, sponsored by Chrysler and the SAE, covered basic car maintenance, including how to change fluids and windshield wipers, check tire pressure and jump a car. Chrysler provided a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Dodge Durango and a Fiat 500 for SAE to demonstrate on.

“The whole target of the event was to expose kids to some basic maintenance that we feel they should know,” said Suraj Bhamra, a senior who is majoring in electrical engineering.

The event was held from 12-2 p.m. and featured three different information stations.

Bhamra, a member of SAE since his freshman year, gave students an overview on the most important fluids in a car. Bhamra covered how to change the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid.

“If you mess those things up, things can go bad and you can do some serious damage,” Bhamra said.

Bhamra said he found many of the students listening to his recommendations are car enthusiasts, but might not know what to do if something goes wrong.

“They like driving around in fast cars and can appreciate them, but they might have never done oil changes on their own,” he said.

SAE president Stephen Parker talked about wiper blades and jumping a car while member Rob Petrach discussed how to check tire pressure and how to change a tire.

“Its actually a common misconception that (when jumping a car) it’s black to black and red to red,” Bhamra said. “The car that’s dead, you should ground it to the engine block; you could blow your battery up like that.”

The idea was brought to Parker from the residence halls, which wanted members from the engineering group to speak at the event. Parker said he couldn’t turn the idea down.

Parker said groups of students were brought in waves to cater to different class schedules.

“I think a free food factor would up the attendance a bit,” Parker said.

Jason Ryska, the general manager of stamping operations at Chrysler, is also the executive sponsor for OU and helped to bring the Chrysler cars to the event.

Ryska said that he was excited for the event because it is helpful to the university and the students and also helps to bring attention to the Chrysler products.

Chrysler has participated in campus events in the past, including the Student to Professional conference and a flash mob sponsored by Career Services.

Ryska is an OU alumnus who graduated with a bachelor and masters in engineering and said he likes to return to OU because it’s right in Chrysler’s “backyard.”

Parker said he was happy with the event turn out and hopes to do it again in the future.


With several students asking questions, the SAE members were able to give some tips that many students may not be aware of.

: If the car is overheating, turn on the heat full blast. This will take out some of the heat from the engine.

: Oil, the most important fluid in the car, comes in several different weights, which is whether the oil is thick or thin. Most cars need about five quarts of oil.

: When jumping a car, hook the red and black connections to the car providing the jump first. Allow a couple of minutes for the dead battery to charge before starting.

: When changing a tire, put the lugnuts back on in a star pattern to ensure that the tire is secure to the car.

:When replacing wiper blades, students can save money by looking for refills instead of purchasing a whole wiper.