HOUSTON, August 23, 2005 - Like many of her peers, University of Massachusetts at Amherst senior Lauren Nuland is smart, ambitious, self-sufficient?and clueless about her car.

"I can fill up the gas tank, but otherwise I'm pretty much lost," she said. "I have no idea how to check the oil and I recently had to ask for help adding air to the tires."

A national survey of recent high school and college graduates sponsored by Jiffy Lube International found that Nuland is not alone. Less than half of recent graduates said they knew how to change their car's oil (48 percent). Overwhelmingly, they also said they are more comfortable taking a final exam (51 percent) or fixing a computer (61 percent) than unscrewing an oil plug.

"By 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there will be 21 million teens of driving age. Many of these young drivers could find themselves headed for the breakdown lane," said Lisa Carlson, global director of marketing for Jiffy Lube International.

She noted that a vast majority of young drivers, 79 percent in the Jiffy Lube survey, say they learn their vehicle maintenance habits from family members or friends. "Proper vehicle maintenance is an important life skill that can easily be overlooked in the excitement of getting a driver's license and first car. Good car care habits can save a lot of time, expense and inconvenience later," she said.

Carlson indicated the risk of costly car troubles, such as engine sludge build-up, can be significantly reduced if preventive maintenance is done regularly. "Read your owners' manual and be realistic about what type of driver you are," she advises young drivers. "If you typically drive in stop-and-go traffic or in extreme weather conditions, you're not what most vehicle manufacturers consider a 'normal' driver. You should have routine maintenance done on the more aggressive ?severe' driver schedule."

Jiffy Lube offers several resources new drivers can also use to learn about how a car functions and what components need to be maintained. For example, at www.jiffylube.com, drivers can find an animated "How Cars Work" tutorial. In about 30 minutes, the interactive tool provides a thorough overview of the critical parts of a car, what can go wrong with them, and how they should generally be maintained.

Jiffy Lube, with more than 2,200 service centers in North America, serves approximately 30 million customers each year. Jiffy Lube pioneered the fast oil change industry in 1979 by establishing the first drive-through service bay, providing customers with faster professional service for their vehicles. Headquartered in Houston, Jiffy Lube International is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Visit www.jiffylube.com to learn more about Jiffy Lube and vehicle care.

SURVEY RESULTS Do you know how to...

  • Scramble eggs (94%)
  • Balance a checkbook (80%)
  • Unclog a toilet (79%)
  • Sew or mend clothing (57%)
  • Administer CPR (51%)
  • Remove a coffee stain from a white shirt (48%)
  • Fix a blown fuse (42%)
  • Don't know how to do any of these (1%) Which would you feel more comfortable doing, changing your car's oil or taking a final exam?
  • Taking a final exam (51%)
  • Changing your car's oil (28%)
  • Equally comfortable doing both (17%)
  • Not comfortable doing either (4%) Which would you feel more comfortable doing, changing your car's oil or fixing a problem with your computer?
  • Fixing your computer (61%)
  • Changing your car's oil (16%)
  • Equally comfortable doing both (17%)
  • Not comfortable doing either (6%) From what source have you learned the most about a car's preventive maintenance needs and when services should be done?
  • Family member (65%)
  • Friends (14%)
  • Owners' manual (5%)
  • School or driver's education instructor (3%)
  • The Internet (3%)
  • The Internet (3%)
  • Other, nobody/nothing, not sure (9%)