Hi, I'm Debbie Nol, and I married a car guy. My 14 years of working at Arie Nol Auto Center has been an incredible journey, building amazing relationships with customers and learning so much from our experienced technicians.
Now I'm launching a blog to share what I've learned about cars and some of my most memorable customer stories. Hopefully you will find my blog both helpful and entertaining!
Do you have a student heading off to college and taking a vehicle? If so, is the car ready? You've bought the microwave, mini fridge, extra-long twin bedding and talked about the importance of making good personal choices.
I’m fortunate to work with a great bunch of professionals that love what they do. Customers will sometimes ask about the technician that worked on their vehicle. I decided that I would do a Q&A with our technicians so our customers would get to know a little bit about them.
ASE Certified is the designation given by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence for automotive technicians that have met certain criteria. It matters to us because it means that our technicians have taken the extra testing and met the criteria to reach this goal. The testing requires a certain level of knowledge and a required amount of time spent in the automotive repair field. You also need to retest every five years, which helps ensure your knowledge is current.
We ask our technicians to put in the time and effort required to stay current with their licensing. Education is important to us and our technicians are required to attend numerous classes throughout the year. This translates into a stronger knowledge base, enabling them to repair and maintain vehicles better and more efficiently.
Why does this matter to you? It matters because anyone that is willing to take the additional step of not only being state-certified, which is required in Michigan, but also ASE certified is someone that respects their job and usually wishes to succeed in their chosen field.
You can find out what type of certifications your technician has by checking the wall of the business you bring your vehicle to for repairs. State certification should be displayed somewhere in the facility. If you find out that they have ASE certification, that’s a positive for you.
We’ve all heard the term ‘grease monkey’. I never thought about it until I married an automotive technician. If I hear it used now, it irritates me. Here’s why.
I know how much education, intelligence and hard work it takes to excel in this field. As with any other career, there are varying degrees of aptitude. Some people are born with the natural ability to comprehend the complex systems that run today's vehicles. Through constant education, they are able to maintain and repair essentially “computers on wheels.” They may have started out learning at their father’s side in the garage. They may have disassembled an engine because they knew through trial and error they'd be able to fix it and have it back on the road. These are the technicians that love the challenge of their job and enjoy the constantly changing technology.
I do not have this capability. I've learned a lot and understand a fair amount of how and why your vehicles run. I can identify many parts and their function. I have never taken anything apart or cared to. I read a lot about the industry, cars, etc. but don't ask me to fix your engine. We’ll both be very sad by the end of the ordeal.
The automobile industry is suffering from a severe lack of qualified technicians. I think because many times people don't see it as a viable career for a student contemplating their future. They should. If your child or someone you know likes to take everything apart or has an interest in cars and how they run, automotive technician should be an option for them. It isn't the low- paying, no skill, dirty job people picture.
Spending a day or two at several different repair facilities as a job shadow is a good idea. Checking out different educational opportunities is key. It's rare that you'll be hired without some type of education in automotive technology.
Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!
It's interesting how many customers come in and say, "I don't know anything about cars, but this is what's happening with my car."
Back in the old days, if your phone broke, you purchased a new cord, because that's probably what was worn out. Now, when my iPhone isn't working, I call the Genius Bar and make an appointment. I walk in at my appointed time, hand the wonderful Apple employee my phone and say, "It's broken. It won't open when I drag my finger across the screen.”
I don't know why. I don't care why. I just want it to work. It's usually something I did and I'll try not to do it again, but no guarantees.
In the past, many people had a lot of knowledge about vehicles. Many people performed oil changes, tune-ups and worked on brakes in the garage with their dad. They had a basic understanding of a vehicle’s mechanical systems. When they did have to bring their vehicle in for repairs, they could tell the technician which system was malfunctioning.
In my opinion, people still have that sense that they are supposed to know what's wrong with their car. But you don't have to know, and in many cases, you can't know. Modern vehicles are so much more complex and have so many more working parts. Computer systems have changed your vehicle in so many ways and without the knowledge of how those systems work, it is tough to figure out what's wrong.
If you come into our shop, the person you speak with at the counter will ask you some questions about what is happening with your vehicle. They will then pass this information along to the technician, who will use his many years of experience and his many hours of training and education to fix your car. Sometimes, the technicians will collaborate with one another to come to a diagnoses.
So, if you come in, relax and don't feel that we expect you to tell us what's wrong with your car. Our goal is to fix your car with minimal disruption to your life. Just like the person who fixes my phone, we don't expect you to tell us more than you're able to.