Auto care 101

Senior project provides basic instruction in vehicle care and maintenance

A unique course was offered at Walla Walla University in summer 2018. The class, Vehicle Care and Diagnosis 101, taught basic automotive care skills as well as a comprehensive overview of how vehicles function.

“My main focus in this course is the basics,” says Licenna Bouit, senior automotive technology major, who designed and taught the class especially for individuals who don’t have experience or knowledge in vehicle maintenance and repairs. The lessons covered topics, “such as changing a tire roadside, changing the oil or washer fluid, knowing the general anatomy of the vehicle and how the engine works in relation to the drivetrain, etc.” The class met once a week for five weeks and was comprised of a one-hour lecture followed by a two-hour hands-on lab where students practiced newly learned skills on their own vehicles.

“I feel the classes went well,” says Bouit, “The students loved the information.” Kelsey Duran, junior social work major, agrees, saying, “I feel more comfortable and stable now regarding cars. My understanding of them is more concrete and less superficial.”

WWU faculty saw the impact of the class, as well. Rob Holm, assistant professor of automotive technology, says, “I think her class was a brilliant idea that met a need for a number of students who won’t be in the automotive service industry. I wish more students could have taken advantage of the class, but I know it was valuable to those that did.”

The knowledge gained in class has already helped Duran, who says, “I felt empowered afterwards. I went car shopping and was able to ask more detailed questions and felt confident doing it.”

To learn more about the automotive program at WWU, visit

Posted September 13 , 2018

Bouit leans under a car hood with students to point out engine specifics.
Each class period included a lab portion where students could practice their newly acquired skills on their own vehicles.
A students examines an auto fuse box.
Students developed a comprehensive understanding of the vehicle as a whole.
Students stand under a raised car to drain its oil.
Bouit (left) shows Kelsey Duran, senior social work major, how to change the oil in her car.
Bouit and a student work together on an engine part
Bouit learned a lot in the process of teaching the class. "When her newly acquired technical skill is combined with her passion for working directly with people," says Rob Holm, assistant professor of automotive technology. "She has turned herself into a valuable resource that will accomplish great things for many years to come."