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I Married A Car Guy: My Journey Toward Car Literacy

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!

Thursday, 02 February 2017 15:03

This Isn’t Your Grandparents Car

There was a time when car owners brought their vehicle in for a grease job and an oil change. You also made sure that your car was ‘tuned up’. You might also have needed your carburetor adjusted. Those services are no longer needed on the newer vehicles. Why? There are several reasons.

Thursday, 29 December 2016 12:31

The Car Whisperer

2016 is swiftly coming to an end. This is traditionally the time of year that we look at what we did the past year regarding finances, weight, exercise, attitude, etc. Then we decide whether we need to have a New Year Resolution. If you read the statistics for keeping resolutions, many of us don’t even make it through January.

Thursday, 18 August 2016 11:19

College Student Car Preparation

Walk through any of the local stores and you will see the signs of back to school are everywhere. Backpacks and lunch boxes for the little ones and extra-long twin sheets for the dorm-bound college student.

Thursday, 11 August 2016 13:31

Change Your Oil…Please!

One of the things that many people ask is, “What is the number one thing I can do to prolong my car’s life?”

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 15:10

Sunscreen and Oil

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This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to Springbreak. The migration of northern state residents to the sun and surf of the southern state beaches. The tide rolling in while the sun shines down on us, our toes tucked into the sand.

Before that moment, there is the drive for many people. Bumper to bumper, cars headed south. Your vehicle is packed with snacks, pillows, a video player of some sort, bathing suits and suncreen. The sunscreen is for our pale, hasn't seen the sun in months, northern skin. Forgetting this leads to sunburn, blisters and possibly missing a couple of days in the sun. When I was a teenager, we laid out in the sun covered in baby oil and fried ourselves. After the blisters healed and the red faded, you might, if you weren't me, end up with a tan. We’re so much smarter now and know the value of suncreen and SPF.

While you dream of this trip on a gray, snowy day, make a call to your local repair facility. Schedule an appointment to have your vehicle checked over. Get an oil change, fluids checked, have them check the wear on your tires and have your wiper blades replaced if necessary. Being low on oil or coolant can add a stop on the trip and rob you of sun time. It could also cause you to run out of movies for the kids and start to have to repeat movies. Calling ahead several weeks gives you the opportunity to schedule a time and date that fits into your busy schedule.

Have a great trip and enjoy the sun!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 14:56

Page 1 of 365

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This is what I found when I was searching for a quote for the sign in front of our business. I found two other quotes that I thought would be good and they are now up, and hopefully a little inspiring. But the “Page 1 of 365” stuck with me.

I'm a list maker and goal setter. I have the plan laid out for the year. And I’m old enough to know that most items won't go according to plan, but yet, I still have a guideline and goals.

Every year right about now, we start evaluating what we can do to improve as a business in the upcoming year. We have discussions with our technicians about training. We send our technicians to classes both in Grand Rapids and also out-of-state. That requires planning so we look at what we need to accomplish in the upcoming year. We also look at tools and equipment. What do we need? Customer service. How can we improve? We constantly evaluate, but the beginning of the new year causes you to take a look and set some goals.

Realistically, long range plans are good. But the reality is the old adage, when you are busy making plans, life happens. It's a great idea to have resolutions. Lose weight, get healthy, stop smoking, be positive, work harder, work less. Get your car’s oil changed on time. Don't ignore the maintenance needed light on your dashboard.

I plan to remember, in the middle of the goal setting and resolutions, that Friday, January 1, is “Page 1 of the 365” days before me. Enjoy that day and while striving for my goals, I'm also going to enjoy “Page 1.”

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 17:42

Trick or Treat

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This time of year is all about change. The leaves are changing and night comes a little bit sooner. We're doing more driving in the dark. There are kids outside waiting for the bus before the sun comes up.

And then there's Halloween. Loads of kids running around from house to house in search of candy while dressed in fun costumes. It seems like Michigan’s tradition for it to be cold and possibly even rainy that night. Not always the best conditions for watching out for little ghosts and goblins in the road.

The holidays will also be here before we know it and there’s a lot of driving from place to place and road trips to visit relatives. It's easy to put off minor repairs or maintenance to our vehicles at such a busy time during the year. Plan ahead, and just like replacing the filter in your furnace in the fall before you have to use it, have the technician that performs your oil change check several things. Most reputable repair facilities do this as part of the oil change but ask if you're not sure.

Make sure all of your car's lights are working. There aren't just headlights and taillights but also the brake indicator light at the top of your rear window. There are also different side marker lights and turn signal indicator lights. Have them check your windshield wipers as well. If they are leaving streaks on the windshield or they skip across the glass, it's time to replace them.

Also have your tires checked. If you have to stop quickly, it's not just the brakes that contribute to the amount of time it takes your vehicle to come to a complete stop. If your new brakes tell your old tires to stop, the tires simply may not be able to.

Keep your eyes on the road and not on your Pumpkin Spice Vente Latte in the cup holder.


Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:46

Car Blood

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My nephew is three and likes to stop and see Aunt Debbie at work, mainly because I carry him out to the bays and he looks at the ‘cars in the air.’

Last time he was in, one of the technicians was performing an oil change on a vehicle, and Jack asked me what he was doing. I told him, but he wanted to know what oil was. I explained to him that it was essentially car blood – not the most technical description but pretty accurate. I explained how oil lubricates the engine and becomes dirty, so the oil and filter need to be changed regularly. Similarly, your body uses the kidney, liver and spleen to filter your blood, but your body “cleans” them automatically. Your car is dependent on you for this necessary function.

Car manufacturers have many specifications and recommendations so it’s important to follow these. Although using synthetic oil for an oil change is more expensive, deciding to use conventional oil to save some money is not usually a good decision. Down the road, the cost of engine-related problems far exceeds the cost of the correct oil change.

If you were in the emergency room and needed a blood transfusion, you would hope they would use the correct blood type. You’d also expect the doctors to know the correct type of blood you required. You wouldn’t ask if you could save money by using a different blood type. Having your oil changed by a technician who knows the requirements for your particular make of vehicle is important.

I’m sure I’ll get a call from my sister if Jack sees oil on the ground and tells someone that a car is bleeding.