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!
Michigan is a beautiful state filled with incredible landscapes, hiking paths, parks and an incredible amount of lakeshore. Most of these places require some driving to access. The best way to ruin a good hike is to get back to your car and find out your battery is dead and you need to find someone to jump start your car.
Drive belts are an integral part of your vehicle’s operating system as they, in conjunction with your engine, power your accessories. I’d like to share a little about the importance of maintaining your drive belts.
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.
I've always been amazed by the damage that can happen inside an engine compartment or on the suspension of a vehicle. The technicians always let me know when they have some car part carnage for me to take a picture of before they repair it.
A long-time customer came in with coolant leaking from her vehicle. Her vehicle contained her work items along with three grandchildren. Sitting at our shop was not on her agenda for the day.
Have you ever gone to another hair salon or stylist to get your hair cut? Not your usual stylist. Maybe you heard about a new stylist, and you weren’t unhappy with the current person keeping your ‘do looking good, but you thought, “Maybe this new person will create this incredible new look?”
Sometimes l will be thinking about my blog post content. I will be set on a topic and then something happens here that causes me to change the topic.
This week a vehicle came in with a broken ball joint. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I have an unnatural fear of broken suspension parts. I’ve seen too many vehicles towed in and the accompanying story of the sudden stop or loss of control.
So, we should discuss the triangle of safety. This is steering, stopping and stability. These all play a part in your ability to control your vehicle in a stopping or maneuvering situation. The other triangle is who it affects. It affects the driver, any passengers and anyone else on the road with you.
If your brakes are worn and not operating correctly, you affect everyone on the road around you. If your ball joint breaks, you will come to a sudden stop. If your shocks aren’t operating within certain perimeters, you have less tire-to-road contact. Worn parts don’t’ just affect ride quality but also your ability to avoid accidents.
Wear and tear can be based on miles or the age of your vehicle. Having a certified technician inspect your vehicle’s suspension is a wise choice. You are keeping yourself, your passengers, and potentially other drivers on the road, safer by taking this step.
And always remember, ask questions if you aren’t sure why something needs to be done. It’s important that you feel comfortable about your vehicle’s repairs, and while you may not understand all the vehicle parts and systems, your certified technician does.
Every day I drive past a home that has a decoy deer in the yard. The first couple of times it took me by surprise and I actually slowed down, thinking it was real. I don't even notice it anymore.
This week I was driving by and I realized the deer was still there. He's looking a little worse for wear but he still hasn't moved. I was thinking about how we get so accustomed to something that after a while we don't even see it anymore.
A check engine light, or malfunction indicator light, can be like that deer. At first, you notice it and it catches your attention. After a while, your brain lulls itself into thinking that light is nothing. You don't even notice the light anymore, just like I don't notice the fake deer.
Customers will sometimes be in vehicles and let us know that the check engine light “has been on for months.” It doesn't bother them because they figure the car is still running well, so it must not be a problem. And it might not be. Sometimes the light came on for a reason, months ago. Maybe just a temporary issue that caused the computer to think there was a problem. Since it wasn't checked, the light stayed on. But then another problem started to occur. That code is also causing the light to be on. Getting your check engine light notification checked is important. We’ve actually seen vehicles with tape over the light because people didn't want to see it.
Your car is talking to you. You should listen to it!
Picture going into a dentist office, telling them you have pain in the lower left side of your jaw. You had a friend that had the same symptoms and that person had a cavity. You precede to tell the dentist you would like him to figure out which tooth needs to be filled without x-rays or looking in your mouth. You think you know which tooth it is and tell him that’s the one he should start drilling.
There is a good chance you are going to be disappointed with the outcome of this scenario. This isn’t the recommended oral health care choice. In the automotive repair business, as diagnoses becomes more complicated, we deal with this sometimes. Back in the day most people could diagnose their vehicle or their neighbor could. That isn’t true anymore. There are many more complicated electronic and computer systems that exist in your car.
We work with our customers to educate them as to why diagnosing the problem in many situations is less expensive than just beginning to replace parts hoping you hit on the correct malfunctioning part. The technician feels confident after the diagnoses that he is correctly repairing your vehicle, and you will be happier because the actual issue will be addressed.
Like a dentist who has to purchase his x-ray machine, train a technician to correctly and safely take an x- ray, and then read the x-ray while taking into consideration your symptoms, there can be a lot involved in a car diagnoses. Knowledge, equipment and listening to the customer all need to happen to correctly fix the problem.
If a service writer is explaining that the technician needs to spend some time checking into the problem, it isn’t a way to inflate the cost of your repair. Today’s vehicles are filled with complicated systems. Our goal as an automotive repair and maintenance facility is to keep your vehicle running. And when it isn’t, our goal is to repair it correctly and get it back to you as swiftly as possible.