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!
Working in the world of auto repair changes your perspective. If you’re a car person, you may know all the working parts of the car. You may even know how to do some repairs yourself. In the past, it wasn’t unusual to have people in their garage giving their vehicle a tuneup or changing the brake pads. With the advanced technology in today’s vehicles, it is becoming more difficult to do your own work.
Most of the educational opportunities I take advantage of now are management or marketing related. I also attend conferences geared towards women in auto care and female entrepreneurs. Mostly because I believe you should never stop learning, and keeping myself current by learning from people that are experts in their field helps me to be better at what I do.
One of the biggest compliments we can get as a business is about how we made someone feel when they were in our facility. We pride ourselves on the repairs and maintenance that we perform. We appreciate that we can partner with our customers to keep their mode of transportation running, so they can accomplish their day-to- day obligations.
What do you do? Your vehicle temperature gauge or oil light is in the red but you are SO close to your destination. Just a little bit farther and you won’t have to pull over on the side of the road.
Cars and the human body are not that far removed from one another when it comes to our responsibility to them. We know we are supposed to take care of our bodies by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising. We depend on our body to hold young children, carry the groceries and walk up and down stairs.
The same goes for our cars. We depend on them to take us to the grocery store, our place of employment and sporting events. Possibly even the mall, if you’re lucky. They take us to the beach or the woods on the weekend, so we can enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors.
We know that changing the oil in our cars, getting the brakes replaced when needed, and staying on top of maintenance is necessary to minimize repairs. Delaying an oil change is kind of like eating a doughnut occasionally. It’s not going to hurt you unless you make a habit of it.
As you age, your body is less able to handle not being taken care of correctly. Just like your car. An older car is less likely to have problems if maintenance is performed when needed as opposed to waiting until something breaks. You can live on pizza and donuts when you are twenty years old, but it would be a bad choice as you age. There is always the exception to the rule. There is always the person that ate everything they wanted, never exercised and smoked like a chimney and lived to be ninety-seven years old. Just like the older car that had the oil changed whenever and had no maintenance and the owner got 300,000 miles on the odometer. It happens but it’s not the norm.
Take good care of your car and it will serve you well.
This conversation comes up eventually. A customer has had a vehicle for many, many years. We start to see them more often and it is not for maintenance. The vehicle is no longer reliable and the car they loved for many years is starting to cost more than it should to operate.
The decision has to be made whether to continue repairing or send the car to the big car lot in the sky. Some people are ready to get rid of the car. One of our customers drove her Jeep Cherokee from 1998 until 2014. It was starting to have some problems and dependability became an issue. She purchased a Subaru that was several years old and she loves it. Door handles work, heat is reliable and the young man who purchased her vehicle now has a project car to work on.
If you are in this situation, there are several factors to take into consideration. If you are told that your vehicle has multiple issues that could be costly to repair, it’s time to evaluate the situation. First, what are the costs involved? Will they exceed the current value of the vehicle? Secondly, are there other repairs and maintenance on the horizon? Your goal should be to have a dependable vehicle whose value is not exceeded by the cost of repairs.
Do your research and ask the person recommending the repairs some of these questions. Knowledge is power, and having the information you need to make a good decision is key. There are also many choices when getting rid of an older car. You can trade it in, sell it to a scrap yard, donate it to one of the local charities, or you can sell it yourself.
If you make the decision to purchase another vehicle, bid the old one farewell and enjoy the newer gadgets in your next vehicle.