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!
April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month. It could be called ‘Pay attention, you’re driving a giant chunk of metal!’ month.
Most people that have a cell phone have done it. You’re driving down the road and your phone notifies you of an incoming text, email or call. You know you shouldn’t respond but you do. I’ve done it. I think I have all my attention on the road. C’mon, I’ve been driving for years! I can multitask. I can handle glancing down at my phone and watching the road.
But science and statistics prove we can’t. In my perusing of the vast knowledge base that is Google, one study actually said that the better you think you are at multitasking, the worse you probably are at it. And no, you aren’t the exception. If you are a teenager, you aren’t good at it either. Even though you’ve grown up with cell phones, etc. Your brain still isn’t capable of processing a text and driving at the same time. One of those things will get all of your attention and it’s probably not the road in front of you.
It seems that every day there is an accident blamed on a distracted driver. I don’t want it to be me. I don’t want to think that the last thing I do in my life is text, “I’m stopping to get cat food before we run out.”. My cats may think that it was worth it but my family wouldn’t.
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.
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.
I love the commercials that show an actor being grouchy, ornery or annoyed and then eating a Snickers candy bar and reverting to a different person. I’ve occasionally used it as a joke when I’m tired and said, “I need a Snickers bar!”. Coffee is usually the better answer for those moments.
Jeff and I were flying out of Ford airport and the flight was repeatedly delayed. The airport is under construction and there is only one restaurant available once you’ve gone through security. There isn’t a lot of space to walk and, if you’re obsessed with your Fitbit like I am, trying to get in a few steps is a challenge. Every hour or so we would be told we would be leaving in a certain amount of time and then the flight was delayed again.
Did I mention this was during Spring Break week? We were traveling for business but most of the people on our flight were on vacation. There was a group of kids that were traveling to Ecuador that were going to miss connections. It got so bad that the airport had pizza delivered when it had been about five hours after our original departure time.
When we arrived at our destination late at night, our luggage had been misplaced. It was in the airport but they weren’t really sure where. When we arrived in the lost luggage department we found we were one of several people in the same situation. The employees were helpful and funny. Everyone was joking while they tried to determine where our luggage was currently. There was also a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on the counter that I made quite a dent in while standing there.
It was an example of realizing that “things happen” and sometimes, the person in front of you trying to help had nothing to do with the original issue. The teenagers were especially impressive as they sat, ate pizza and talked about what they would be doing with an unexpected day in their layover city. No complaining about the missed connections and missed day in Ecuador. One woman said, “I’m glad they realized there was a problem before we got into the air.” I agreed.
It was a good reminder to keep your cool in irritating situations because it doesn’t usually change the situation and probably negatively impacts someone else’s day. It’s the old adage, you get more bees with honey...
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.