Fill ‘er up and check your car

Renting a car in Portland reminded me of the days when we bought gas at someplace other than a jiffy store. Before signing the agreement, we were informed that in Oregon, there is no such thing as self-service gas stations.

Apparently pumping gas is considered too dangerous for the general public, but this full service requirement reminded me of what it was like to go to a gas station until the early 1980s. I remembered what I liked about this system. From the moment the bells sounded indicating a customer had arrived, service began. Not only did the attendant pump gas but he (always a man) cleaned the windows, looked at the tires as he walked around the vehicle and offered to add air and pointed out excessive wear. He also checked under the hood if asked and brought the dip stick to the window to verify the car needed oil or was “a half quart low” to let you know he’d done his job.


These memories reminded me of how little I pay attention to the upkeep of my car. When I get gas I rarely clean the windows even though the tools are usually by the pump. I NEVER open the hood and check the oil or water in the wiper reservoir. This waits until I go for an oil change. I don’t even take time to walk around the car and look at my tires. Someone else usually points out that a tire looks low or worn.


I miss full service gas stations. I know they’d be more expensive, and I know I wouldn’t always pay for full service, but it would be nice to have the option. I’d take advantage of the service once a month just to have someone look for regular maintenance issues.

However, since full service stations are unlikely to reemerge better make it a habit to use the time when  the gas is filling the tank to look at the tires, clean the windshield and look at the wiper blades and at least occasionally check the oil and provide your own version of a full service stop.

When you fill the gas tank, make sure you check your car.