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:

Spring Break Mayhem

Spring Break Mayhem

Dreams of Spring Break dance through our heads as we continue to endure the cold, grayness of Michigan. Lying on the beach in the hot sun, with the sound of seagulls fighting over snacks left in the sand by previous sunbathers. I can almost smell the sunscreen! Are you taking a road trip for Spring Break? Every year, the week before Spring Break is very busy at local auto repair facilities -- people wanting to get their vehicles checked over before they leave, in hopes of avoiding an emergency pit stop along the way. I would recommend scheduling an appointment at least two weeks before your trip. Have your tires checked, oil changed, fluids checked and filled, hoses and belts checked, and battery tested. Your windshield wipers should be replaced if necessary. Have them check your brakes to see how much of the pad remains. It’s a long trip and parts that are nearing the end of their lifecycle should not be going on the trip with you. Every year, without fail, we get a co ... read more

Mom Advice

Mom Advice

My Mom always told me to have a pair of boots in the trunk of my car. Probably because she knew I would not have weather-appropriate shoes on if I was involved in an accident or my vehicle broke down. She was correct. Jeff and I were driving on the highway and were hit by another car on New Year’s Eve years ago. I had on an awesome pair of high heels appropriate for New Year’s Eve, but not so appropriate standing on the side of the highway in the winter. After Jeff boosted me out of the car, he was able to get the trunk open and get my boots. I called my Mom the next day and told her she was right. The lesson here is to make sure you have some emergency items in your vehicle. Michigan weather can be vicious and we should be prepared for it. Having a blanket, extra boots, gloves and a hat in your vehicle can mean the difference between being inconvenienced by a dead car or being put in a dangerous situation by not being prepared

Such A Small Word

Such A Small Word

We all do it. As we go about our day, we fail to think about the people who contribute to our day going well. We rely on our vendors and their employees. For example, you drop off your vehicle for new brakes on your way to work in the morning. After our technician determines what needs to be replaced, the system kicks into gear. If we don’t have the item in stock, we call our supplier. Someone pulls the part from the shelf, schedules it for delivery, then the driver delivers it to us. 98% of the time, the system works perfectly. Said part is delivered and installed in the allotted time frame, and you receive your vehicle with new brakes. It’s when the system doesn’t work that we all notice. We’ve all been at a restaurant and had a less than ideal experience. It could have been the hostess, server, dishwasher, chef, person bussing the table, or the cashier that caused the system to fail, but you feel the effect. If the server is having a bad day and isn’t very pleasant, you ... read more

Car Noises

Car Noises

We should make a tape of car noises. You could push a series of buttons and tell us which one best identifies the sound you’re hearing. Some customers come into the shop and are very hesitant to make the noise they’re hearing, while others are all in. They’re totally committed to making the correct sound. It’s surprising how many times the sound really does give the service advisor a good starting point to the follow-up questions they ask. This is helpful when passing the information along to the service technician to determine what is happening with your vehicle. So, if your vehicle is making a noise and you want to demonstrate that sound to the service advisor, go ahead. You won’t be the first or the last, and we’d never laugh. Everyone here has demonstrated the sounds themselves at some point. Customers will joke about turning up the radio to drown out the sound the vehicle is making. A good rule of thumb is to occasionally turn off your radio and listen to your car as ... read more

Operation Save The Parakeet

Operation Save The Parakeet

We have a bird feeder outside of our lobby door. Last summer, we had an unusual bird arriving with a flock of sparrows. It was yellow and I thought maybe it was a finch. My ornithology knowledge is limited. One of our employees, David, has raised birds and recognized it as a parakeet. We watched it all summer as it showed up daily to the bird feeder. Reality set in when David said it would die during the winter. I thought it would fly south – hence, the comment about my ornithology knowledge above! Operation Save the Parakeet kicked into gear. For those of you who don’t know, air bags are shipped in something that resembles a live-trap style cage… we had just received one. That was the beginning of the plan. When everyone was finished devising the trap, it was similar to a Wyle E. Coyote setup. An air bag cage with a stick holding it up at one end, food inside the cage and a rope attached to the stick. The chance of success was low. One of the technicians, Grant, was walki ... read more

Cats vs. Dogs

Cats vs. Dogs

I’ve been the observer in many discussions about which vehicle is the best. Many people that love cars have a particular favorite, with stories and statistics to back it up. Chevy vs. Ford, BMW vs. Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen vs. Audi, Honda vs. Toyota etc. It’s like cat lovers vs. dog lovers. For every reason you love a particular brand, breed or make, someone has a reason you should choose something else. Everyone has an opinion. Cats are snobby and unloving and dogs are man’s best friend. Or, dogs are messy and cats are meticulously clean. Choosing a car is a very personal decision. I like speaking with people when they are in the shop having an inspection performed about a vehicle they are interested in purchasing. Most people do their homework to determine what fits their lifestyle and driving needs. Sometimes everything fits the criteria, but they drive the vehicle and they just don’t like it. Maybe they just can’t get comfortable in the seat or they don’t like the das ... read more

Vocation Day

Vocation Day

Our business was invited to a local high school for their Vocation Day. Cameron and I went to share information with students that are perhaps interested in a career in the automotive repair field. The students in the class had a lot of good questions. It was rewarding for both Cameron and I to be able to share our experiences working in an automotive repair shop. The automotive industry is suffering from a lack of technicians. There are far fewer people going into the industry than are retiring from it. At the same time, there are more automobiles being added to the nation's roads. Hopefully some of the students we spoke with will turn their passion for cars into a career that they love. What a great opportunity for high school students to be able to talk to people in so many varied careers. Many students that day where able to get questions answered and hopefully direct them to a great career. People will tell you ‘Do what you love and you won't work a day in your l ... read more

Wear and Tear

Wear and Tear

We rely on our cars, but, overtime as we drive, parts start to wear out. Normally people don't even think about this wear and tear – I didn't used to – but it is an important issue. 12 – 13% of auto accidents are caused by mechanical failure due to recommended work being deferred. The worn out part continues to wear down, the parts around it work overtime to compensate and suddenly, several pieces of equipment are worn down, not just one. When it comes to driving a car with worn out parts, the cold, hard reality is it is unsafe for the driver, passengers and the other people on the road. If that isn't bad enough for you, driving with a worn out part can also lead to higher repair bills down the road as it leads to multiple parts needing replacement. (If your shocks aren't working correctly, your ball joints, control arms, etc begin to break down from all the extra work.) You can't avoid wear and tear to your car, but you can avoid extra repair costs by being proactive. Whe ... read more

Welcome 2015!

Welcome 2015!

The beginning of the New Year seems to be when we feel the urge to start anew or change our bad habits. We’re going to exercise, eat healthy, be organized and finish up all those projects we started. All the procrastinating and complaining is going to stop! A study by Franklin Covey showed that only 35% of people surveyed stuck with the resolution they made on December 31. Facebook currently has lots of weight loss, money management and organization ads popping up. Everyone wants to help us with our resolutions. A better resolution is to appreciate where you are and make small changes every day that help you reach your goal. Take the stairs, eat an apple instead of chips, or get a plain coffee instead of a mocha- cinnamon cappuccino with whipped cream. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve, be safe and Happy

Shell Game

Shell Game

I’ll walk for miles on the beach looking for shells. They’re amazing creations that used to be the home of an animal, and they are usually beautiful colors and shapes. I have several that, when I first saw them, they appeared perfect. But when I pulled them out of the sand, I found either a large hole or they were broken. They are still beautiful but not what I was picturing. Used cars can be like that. You drive by and then stop, lured by the beautiful (insert your favorite car color here) exterior. You look inside and the interior looks like new. The seller tells you that it was only driven on Saturdays to the grocery store and has never seen a winter. You love this car so you drive it around the block once, then purchase it. This can have two outcomes. The first one is: the car is in pristine condition mechanically and was a terrific purchase. The second is: You’re standing at the repair shop staring at an estimate for the totally unexpected needed repairs. You can avoi ... read more

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