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:

Maintenance and Cats

Maintenance and Cats

Most of the educational opportunities I take advantage of now are management or marketing related. I also attend conferences geared towards women in auto care and female entrepreneurs. Mostly because I believe you should never stop learning, and keeping myself current by learning from people that are experts in their field helps me to be better at what I do. On occasion, I take advantage of an automotive technical class. Why? I work in the automotive industry and while I don’t repair vehicles, I need to expose myself to new technology. Several weeks ago I went to a class with Jeff and one of our technicians, Gordon. Contrary to what many people believe, diagnostics doesn’t simply consist of ‘hooking up the scanner’. Vehicles have many interconnected systems and our technicians need to know what to look for when one of them is malfunctioning. One section of the training was on catalytic converter (cats) diagnostics. While I have been exposed to many conversations ... read more

Avoiding 'Flood Cars'

Avoiding 'Flood Cars'

The news is filled these past two weeks with hurricane damage and potential hurricane damage from another approaching hurricane. We see pictures of the devastation that these storms have caused. The emotional and physical damage is devastating and I can’t imagine watching everything you own wash away in a flood. In the automotive world, the talk starts to be about the ‘flood cars.’ These are vehicles that were damaged during a catastrophe and probably totaled by an insurance company. They’re not supposed to end up being resold but, sometimes they end up in the used car market. How does it happen? There is money to be made. Should this happen? Probably not, but if someone’s vehicle is uninsured or under insured, many people will try to dry them out and drive them or sell them. These cars may end up for sale in your area and you need to know how to spot them when searching for a used car. I could list all the signs of a potential flood car here but I’m not going t ... read more

Family-Owned and Operated

Family-Owned and Operated

Grand Rapids is the home to many family-owned businesses. I feel really fortunate to work with my husband and son daily. It is rare to enter our business and not interact with a Nol family member. Most people that have been in our business eventually figure out the familial relationships. When our children worked in the business when they were young, we asked them to call Jeff and I by our first names. It was admittedly an adjustment to have my kid’s call me ‘Debbie’ instead of Mom. There was a reason for it though. We felt that while they were our children, they were also our employees. It changes the dynamics when you are referring to your employer as Mom or Dad. We’ve always told our children that when your family owns the business, that means you work harder. You don’t get to skate by on your last name or go to Mom or Dad and expect special treatment. We knew that they wouldn’t always work for us and with Arie Nol Auto Center being their first work experience, we wa ... read more

Is Your Car Ready for College?

Do you have a student heading off to college and taking a vehicle? If so, is the car ready? You've bought the microwave, mini fridge, extra-long twin bedding and talked about the importance of making good personal choices. But is their car ready? It's important that a vehicle headed to school be maintained correctly and any minor repairs be taken care of before your student leaves. Many times, your child is headed to a town that you're not familiar with and they may not have the number of a shop you can trust. Being proactive about vehicle repairs and maintenance BEFORE they leave saves you a potential phone call about a broken-down vehicle. We know it's stressful trying to find a shop to repair your student’s vehicle. We know it's stressful for the student trying to deal with something they may not have had a lot of experience handling. While it can be a teachable moment, it's one you'd probably rather avoid. Make sure that they understand several thin ... read more

Forget Your Phone

Forget Your Phone

One of our quotes for this week seemed like a good one for this time of year. “Do more things that make you forget your phone.” It’s summer in Michigan. It’s a time we should be enjoying the summer weather, walking on the beach, eating at one of the locally owned restaurants, hiking and enjoying nature, and spending time with the people that make us happy. I’m as guilty as the next person of having my phone with me all the time, taking photos of whatever catches my eye, checking out social media, and responding to emails that don’t need to be responded to right away. It’s easy as a business owner to believe you need to be reachable 24/7. Being ‘connected’ is what it’s all about now. With Facebook and Instagram (and I admittedly love Instagram) it’s almost a matter of ‘if it isn’t posted, did it happen?’ If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it… The real question should be; if you were busy taking a picture of a moment and finding the perf ... read more

Supporting and Sharing | The Women in Autocare Conference

Supporting and Sharing | The Women in Autocare Conference

More women are making the choice to join the ranks of the automotive world as engineers, salespeople, auto technicians, supply chain managers, CEOs, etc. Networking our way. Sharing stories of success and challenges. The moments of clarity when you realize there are many shared experiences and you contribute to the conversation. Being a proud Michigander while listening to Cynthia Kay and Doreen Bolhuis— co-authors of Stop Wishing, Stop Whining, Start Leading—talk about aspiring to lead. Both speakers have built businesses in Grand Rapids and are an inspiration as a woman business owner. Speaking with women from all over the country that I’ve met at past conferences. Meeting new members and recognizing the growth of this organization. Being inspired by a young woman from Pennsylvania who, at 17 years old, is on her way to a career in the automotive field and is taking the steps to make it happen. Having the opportunity to listen to Megan Meyer of Randy M ... read more

Know What You’re Buying

Know What You’re Buying

It's that time of year again. Lots of new drivers on the road. College students preparing to leave the nest and head to their college campus. People are on the lookout for the used car that fits their needs, is reasonably priced and has been well-maintained. That can be a tall order when looking for a used car. Everyone's idea of well-maintained is different. To some car owners, that means following the manufacturer’s recommended services and having regular oil changes. To other vehicle owners, regular maintenance means putting gas in the car when the low fuel light comes on. It's hard to tell when looking at a used vehicle what the care of the vehicle has been over its life span. That's why you should invest in a pre-purchase inspection for any vehicle that you are considering purchasing. I know. It's sounds like a sales pitch. Here's the deal. Most people purchase a vehicle that fits into their budget. Rarely does anyone say, “I have $7000 for a used c ... read more

Don't Do This

Don't Do This

I don't like putting gasoline in my car. I don't like the smell of that liquid that fuels my vehicle. I like it even less in the winter time. But, I'm married to a car guy who is pretty serious about not running your fuel tank down to empty. There is the rare occasion when I do see that little light on my dashboard letting me know I need fuel—but it's very rarely. When we were first married and he would on occasion say, “How long has your low fuel light been on?” To be honest, I just thought Jeff didn't want his beloved bride to run out of gas and have to sit on the side of the road. The truth was that he didn't want to have to replace the fuel pump in my car. That, and he didn't want me sitting on the side of the road either. When you run your fuel low consistently, it can damage the fuel pump. If you have dirt in the bottom of your fuel tank, it can block the fuel filter. It’s a lot cheaper to keep your fuel at least at ¼ tank than to replace these items ... read more

Making Car Memories

Making Car Memories

I had an interesting conversation with a customer and her husband. They're a younger couple with a two year old child. And they bought a sports car. Best of all, it fits a car seat. Kind of the best of both worlds. Like I've blogged about before, many people purchase vehicles for emotional reasons. Some people spend years searching for a specific car, even down to the color and engine size. The husband in this case was searching as a surprise for his wife. I love that he let her know one night he'd found this car and she said, “Why not?” Sometimes we think of sports cars as a ‘midlife crisis’ present to yourself. How about thinking of them as a fun family car that—while not incredibly practical—will make lots of memories. A mini-van is practical and convenient, a convertible is ‘wind in the hair’ fun. You may not be able to put all your kids in your sports car but you can always justify the purchase by creating individual time with your children on a beautiful Michigan ... read more

Independence Day

Independence Day

This summer is going by so quickly! In Michigan the 4 th of July can be cold, hot, rainy, sunny or any other combination. Being a Michigander requires the ability to carry copious amounts of clothing in our vehicle so we can change when the weather does. It’s a day spent eating burgers, hot dogs, and brats—running around with sparklers and possibly even attending a parade. The day is wrapped up with the explosion of color and light in the sky, followed by ooh’s and aah’s. Going to a parade on 4 th of July is interesting because you usually see classic cars, fire trucks, the local politicians throwing candy, Boy Scouts, people on horseback, etc. I remember sitting at the Dorr 4 th of July parade every year and trying to keep three little kids from jumping in front of the beautiful classic cars for a tootsie roll that was just out of their reach. Watching the excitement on their faces as the fire trucks and police vehicles rolled past. Americans have a deep love f ... read more

If You Are Using A Screen Reader And Are Having Problems Using This Website, please call Arie Nol Auto Center, Inc (616) 532-6019 For Assistance.