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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!

Friday, 01 December 2017 22:44

Give Your Brakes a Break

Metal on metal. We say this on occasion to customers to describe the current state of their brakes.

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 16:02

My Car Won

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The 2016 Volvo XC90 won Sport Utility Vehicle of the year at the Detroit Auto Show. I don't own one and had nothing to do with the design or engineering but I'm pretty excited.

Most car people have a favorite car make or model. I'm not a car person but, as I may have mentioned in previous blogs, I love Volvos. They used to be the stodgy, safe, soccer mom car. Instantly uncool. I prefer the wagons. I believe they are ‘stealth cool.’ Not everyone sees this.  

I kind of feel redeemed. I told all of our technicians it won. They weren’t nearly as happy as I was. They all have their favorite cars and they are not the same as mine. I'm not really concerned with horsepower or performance. I love how it looks and I've read all the reviews and looked at the pictures. I do have a tendency to follow the informational car blogs because it's interesting to read what people, experts and non-experts, think about a certain vehicle.

I haven't driven one yet because I'm afraid I might not bring it back to the dealership. I might see it as a ‘permanent test drive’. I understand they get really upset if you do that and you get another ride. In a police car. I'll avoid that.

We work on a fair amount of Volvos and it's interesting to see the evolution when we have a 1992 and a 2012 sitting side-by-side. That is true of any manufacturer. Safety is the biggest difference. Passenger vehicles have evolved from the days of metal stick controls on the dashboard that caused maximum damage to the human body in an accident.

Congratulations to Volvo! And to all of the other winners in different categories also. You give car enthusiasts something to look forward to each year in The Motor City.

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.

 

Thursday, 08 October 2015 11:43

A Job Well Done

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We have a customer that has been driving for 58 years and has never gotten a ticket. Not one for speeding or parking, nothing. He also has never been involved in an accident. When he stops in to chat with Jeff and they have an ongoing conversation about this milestone.

When you watch people on the road today, it's amazing how much driving has changed over the years. When Bob started driving, drivers paid attention to the road. There were no cell phones, GPS technology, Starbucks coffee in the cup holder, no distractions.

We hear all the stories about someone's last text before they crashed their car, or the “almost” accidents when someone chatting on their cell phone cuts another driver off on the road. Sometimes we are that person and understand what we're doing when we look up and realize we weren't paying attention to our driving as much as we thought we were.

I read something when I was a teenager that said you should drive as if every car on the road was out to hit you. Defensive driving requires eyes on the road. I've been guilty of paying attention to something else in my car or reaching for my cell phone whenever I have a text. We all have this idea that we are the exception and that we’re perfectly capable of multitasking and doing several things at once. Research shows that we don't actually multi-task but switch our attention rapidly from one task to another. If you are texting, you are not paying attention to your driving. You may think you are but you're not.

Bob has reminded me that our job on the road is to drive. Not schedule appointments, take selfies or post to Facebook and Instagram. Ironically, if I answer a text from one of my kids or my husband while driving I put myself and those on the road at risk. Somehow we managed our lives before cellphones, and we should revert back to that time when in the car.

Congratulations to Bob on a stellar driving record. He's a good reminder of what you can accomplish by being a responsible driver.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 13:06

So I Like Volvos...

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My past four vehicles have been Volvo wagons. I don't even have children in soccer anymore, so the Volvo-driving-soccer-mom doesn't apply. When someone asks me what my favorite make of vehicle is, I don’t even have to think about it.

Here's why: safety, comfort, outstanding engine-acceleration, and organization. If I ever met a Volvo engineer, I might act like a NASCAR fan meeting Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jeff is hoping that never happens.

Safety first
They're not flashy vehicles but they've been known for their safety innovations since they began. I had smaller children when I had my first Volvo and I liked the fact that they were a little bit safer in my car in case of an accident. Plus they have the option of built-in booster seats.

Comfort
Not everyone is comfortable in a Volvo but the front seats fit a wide variety of heights, so it’s perfect for me. However, my sons are both six-feet plus and they impart their opinion of the leg room into my back seat, often. I'd avoid this scenario.

Good acceleration
I'm an accelerator. Not a speeder. I do look both ways when the light changes, and if it's clear, I reach the speed limit quickly afterward. I also like to merge onto the highway at the appropriate speed. Not slowly so that people have to slow down as I move into the lane. I feel it's the polite thing to do.

My daughter had an older VW Jetta wagon that I had to drive for a couple of days. After merging onto the highway with it, I told Jeff the car had an acceleration problem. He said the car wasn't the problem. There are several different Volvo engines and they all provide the needed pickup. Some more than others.

Easy to organize
I love organization. It just makes me happy. My current Volvo wagon has an area in the trunk that has built-in spaces for small items. I have emergency items in it. The interior is also set up for keeping things from floating around the interior of the car which I appreciate.

There are so many choices out there now for cars. What's your favorite and why?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015 10:18

The Tree Won, But So Will the Car

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One of our technicians, David, is a triathlete. He bikes, runs, or swims daily to be ready for his next competition. He started out mountain biking a while ago and progressed to what he does now.

At the shop, we have had several discussions about safety equipment while biking. Many people from our Arie Nol family have participated in different types of bike racing, including Iceman in northern Michigan. Everyone agrees safety equipment can be irritating. You purchase it, wear it and most of the time never have any reason to be glad you wore it.

Until an incident that reminds you of the ‘just in case’ reasoning behind that helmet, neck protector or reinforced vest. David had that situation last week. Going 10-15 mph, he hit a tree. He bounced off that tree and hit another head on. The pictures below are of his helmet. In his words, it “rang his bell for sure” but he got up and walked away. The helmet did its job. He walked away able to participate in a sport that, like everything else, has risks. Because he made the smart choice to prepare for a possibility of an accident, he was able to hop back on his bike several days later, albeit with a couple of bruises.

As more people use bicycles for transportation, the risk of car and bicycle interaction increases. The car always wins in those situations. Whether you are riding your bike for sport, fun or exercise, wear a helmet, it protects a mighty important part of your body.