My Journey Toward Car Literacy

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!

Articles:

Welcome to the New Year

Welcome to the New Year

2018 is right around the corner. Time for new goals! Or not. Maybe they’re the old goals you didn’t reach in 2017. I’m putting my hand in the air on that one. Everyone starts out in January with the idea that it’s a new year and a new you! I don’t know about you, but I still have to drag my ‘old you’ into the New Year. She doesn’t always follow through with the ‘new you’s’ grand plans. They look good written in my planner. And yes, I actually write them down. Putting them in my notes on my phone just isn’t the same. We set goals as a business too. We’re always focused on improving customer service, hitting training hour goals, raising standards in areas we feel need improvement and reaching community support goals. I think these goals are easier to reach as opposed to goals I set for myself because we have accountability among our team. It’s easier when everyone is working toward the same goals. Sometimes we do have to carry the goals over to the next year because we ar ... read more

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Working in auto repair during the holidays is busy because many people travel and need their cars to be ready for a road trip. While we try to remind people to plan ahead and get their vehicles in early, break downs occur and need to be taken care of so the trip out of town isn’t delayed. Our goal is to reduce the stress of car repair, but accomplishing this during the holidays can be a challenge. Working in auto repair during the holidays is busy because many people travel and need their cars to be ready for a road trip. While we try to remind people to plan ahead and get their vehicles in early, break downs occur and need to be taken care of so the trip out of town isn’t delayed. Our goal is to reduce the stress of car repair, but accomplishing this during the holidays can be a challenge. In the midst of all this busyness, there are moments that remind us of the goodness of so many people. Customers waiting in our reception area and chatting about family and h ... read more

Give Your Brakes a Break

Give Your Brakes a Break

Metal on metal. We say this on occasion to customers to describe the current state of their brakes.But what does it actually mean? ‘Metal on metal’ means that the brake pad has completely worn down and that the base of the pad is coming in contact with the rotor. The bigger question is, what does this mean during the operation of your brakes? What happens when you push down on that brake pedal? It means the braking ability of your vehicle is compromised. The non-technician description of what happens is that you push down on your brake pedal and the pressure from the brake fluid causes the caliper to push the brake pad against the rotor. Over time the brake pad wears down, as it should. There are several ways you can know that this is happening. You may have an indicator on your dashboard that is notified by a sensor on your brake pads that they are low. You may hear grinding or squeaking from your brakes. Why don’t you want to ignore these signals from your veh ... read more

Give Thanks Every Day

Give Thanks Every Day

I was just reading something that said that you should have a gratitude journal and write in it each day. The goal is to find a moment, person, or event to be thankful for and to record it. Why? Because no matter where you are in life, no matter what you’re going through, there is always something to appreciate. The point of the article was that by journaling something positive, you overshadow any negatives and give them less space in your life. I’m thankful for the people that I work with each day. We truly believe in the Team Arie Nol philosophy— not just in the workplace but in our personal lives as well. We’ve all had to be there for each other during big life events; births, deaths, health issues, etc. All of it has happened in the time we’ve worked together and the support our team shows for one another humbles me each time. They’re here because they have a love for the automotive industry and automobile repair. We hired them for their skill and attitude and we’ve ... read more

Being a Part of Something Bigger

Being a Part of Something Bigger

Jeff and I were fortunate enough—as owners of an ‘A NAPA AutoCare’ business—to be chosen to represent the NAPA Central Division on the AutoCare Advisory Council. We served a two-year term and traveled to the meetings twice a year. It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to make an impact in our part of the automotive world. Along with the eight other divisions represented, we looked at programs meant to enhance the customer experience as well as help NAPA AutoCare automotive repair shops function well as businesses. The nine divisions each bring their own unique perspective and knowledge to the table for the betterment of the AutoCare program. Each one has their own story and business model, and wants success for other shop owners. Being an independent small business owner means making a lot of decisions daily. You wear many hats—some fitting better than others. One thing I love about the automotive repair business is the willingness of other sho ... read more

Conversations in the Car

Conversations in the Car

Our goal is to make our customer’s automotive repair experience as painless as possible. Even though we have several options to meet their transportation needs, sometimes it works out well for them to have us drop them off at their home or office. Sometimes, it’s an unexpected breakdown and they just need a ride home. It’s usually either Cameron or I that is available to drive the customer to their destination. I’ve had some of the best conversations with a wide range of topics. Many times, I’m asked if I’m related to anyone at Arie Nol and I share that I’m Cameron’s mom and Jeff’s wife. Riding in the car with someone gives you the opportunity for both of you to learn a little about the other person. Sometimes, they have had a very stressful day with their car braking down and their schedule has been drastically altered. I’ve stopped at the grocery store, driven through McDonald’s so someone can get some breakfast, listened to small children sing Disney songs an ... read more

Keeping our Perspective

Keeping our Perspective

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. If you work on cars every day, train on the new technology you’ll be repairing, and invest in the tools needed, you recognize the cost of repairs is increasing. You also recognize with all the new fun technology; the cost will keep increasing. When I had my Ford Aerostar when my children were young, I had one sliding door. It slid when I pulled the handle and yanked the door open. No buttons to push. No gently gliding, light-weight door. Opening that door while holding a toddler was just part of being a mom in the 80’s and 90’s. The thing is, that was the only option to ha ... read more

The Farmer’s Almanac is Forecasting…

The Farmer’s Almanac is Forecasting…

Snow. Cold. Maybe even bitter cold. Bitter cold in Michigan is best described as cold that causes you to sit in your car at the gas station saying to yourself “Get out and pump gas!”. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But you know that feeling if you’ve lived in Michigan for any amount of time. Not being prepared for winter weather can put you in an inconvenient situation. A non-starting car at school, home, or work throws everything off. And if it’s cold outside, that just adds injury to insult as you stand in the blowing wind and wait for a ride or tow truck. Helping you deal with this situation is our job. Getting you back on the road as quickly as possible is always our goal. We would rather see you perform routine maintenance and not have to deal with this situation at all. Sometimes, a car breaking down is just a part failing and nothing you can control. But, having an ASE certified technician inspect your vehicle before the winter wind comes rushing in makes it l ... read more

Our Logo

Our Logo

I could tell you that our logo, a drawing of a crankshaft and pistons, was created by a large marketing company. That we had focus groups come in and tell us what feeling the logo invoked. That we reviewed the feedback, adjusted the design, spent large amounts of cash to get the color just right, and concluded the project with a launch party. Possibly with crowd- sourcing involved! In truth, what really occurred was that Jeff was taking a high school graphic arts class. His father, Arie, was running his newly-opened auto repair business where Jeff worked every day after school. Jeff had created a drawing in his graphic arts class of a crankshaft and pistons. He brought it home and his Dad thought it was well done and decided to use it for the logo for Arie Nol Auto Center. Some adjustments were made to the original drawing to make it more ‘logo friendly’ and it has been the logo for Arie Nol Auto Center for forty-one years. We’ve tweaked it on occasion but it has remain ... read more

Are you a Prepper?

Are you a Prepper?

Not the type of prepper that has an underground bunker and is eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. However, if you are, September is the month for you! September is National Preparation Month which focuses on planning. The theme for 2017 is “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can”. If you’re an optimist, you believe that ‘nothing will happen’ and if you’re a pessimist, you figure, “Why bother? If I prepare for a water event, there will be a wind event”. The reality is, this past month has taught us that many things can happen—and do. I firmly believe in having items in your car that make an inconvenience or emergency a little bit easier to deal with. Having water, snacks, boots, matches, a candle, a cell phone charger, etc. can prepare you to deal with sliding off the road, getting stuck in traffic for an extended amount of time, evacuating a flood, and many other situations. I’ve written several blog articles in the past about this because it can make a big dif ... read more

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