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:

Are you ready for Whitecaps baseball?

Are you ready for Whitecaps baseball?

We were! Every summer we have a company event where we can all get together with our families and have some fun. We feel very strongly as a company that spending time together contributes to the team atmosphere we have built. Getting to know family members is important for all of us for the same reason. Luckily Grand Rapids has some terrific options for entertainment. We’ve attended a Whitecaps game before as a group and decided to do it again this year. We have a mix of ages with some of our group having young children and some with teenagers. Or, the empty nesters, which Jeff and I have covered. While I’m not a huge sports fan I always have a great time at the Fifth Third Ballpark. The food is terrific, there are activities for pretty much everyone and there is always something happening on the field. Franky the Swimming Pig made an appearance and decided to shine up Jeff’s scalp, which we all thought was pretty humorous. Crash made his rounds and threw out it ... read more

Moving on to the next stage

Moving on to the next stage

When I started working here sixteen years ago, our kids were young. As with many small, family-owned business’, the kids did a lot of the behind the scenes things. Take out trash, clean floors, stock shelves, etc. As they got older, they still did these things but they also worked in the office and helped with customer service. Then they started college and their own careers. Two of them are in totally different businesses and, as many of you know, our youngest, Cameron, is one of the service advisors in the front office. Just when we were trying to figure out what our next step was to fill the now open position, we found out that Luke was looking for a job. He attended the same high school our kids did and we knew his parents. He started working for us a couple of years ago and left at the beginning of this summer for a full-time position elsewhere. His job description we joking referred to as our ‘minion’. He painted walls, cleaned bays, helped me clea ... read more

Car shows, ice cream and summertime!

Car shows, ice cream and summertime!

It’s summer time in Michigan! Beaches, barbeques and road trips. There are also a lot of car shows. A LOT of car shows. I have attended my fair share of car shows. This is what happens when you marry a car guy. In the early days of dating, I attended a lot of automotive related events. I asked a lot of questions like, “Why are there mirrors displaying the undercarriage of that car?” as well as, “Why is that guy carrying a car hood?” Turns out there was a race car driver autographing whatever you brought in to the show. Fast forward thirty years later and I now work with my husband in the automotive repair business and my life revolves around cars. I can appreciate a beautiful car and the hum of an engine but I don’t have the deep down love of the automobile that many people, including the ones I work with every day, do. Several weeks ago in Northern Michigan, my stepmom and I attended a craft show and were walking to a favorite local restaurant. There wa ... read more

Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

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. There are many reasons for visible damage. Age and wear, lack of maintenance, and sometimes just a part that fails before its time. Sometimes damage can happen simply due to another part failing and it becomes a domino effect. The technicians always explain the sequence of events that lead to the damage. I've learned a lot from seeing situations like this and having them explained to me. Automobiles are mechanical. There are a lot of moving parts and sometimes if it is a moving part fails, it causes a lot of damage. At times, even a new part can fail. We are choosy about the parts we use for the repairs and maintenance; however, on occasion even a new part will fail. It isn't just disappointing for the customer but also for t ... read more

Intrepid Fallen Heros Fund

Intrepid Fallen Heros Fund

Being a NAPA Autocare center gives us, a small independent business, the opportunity to take advantage of training, parts purchasing and the ability to participate in different programs. Each year, NAPA offers a 'give back and get back' program that offers customers a rebate as well as a way to give back to the service people that have been injured protecting our freedom. We've participated in this program for years and always felt it was a terrific opportunity to give back. Several of us from Arie Nol Auto Center had the opportunity to attend a NAPA training event this past year. One of the speakers was an Armed Services veteran that had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while serving in the military. He spoke about the affect his injuries had not just on his life but on his family's life. Listening to him share what having access to the programs offered by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund meant to himself and his family, put the struggles he faced right i ... read more

Stop? Go? How do I know?

Stop? Go? How do I know?

What do you do? Your vehicle temperature gauge or oil light is in the red but you are SO close to your destination. Just a little bit farther and you won’t have to pull over on the side of the road. This happens and I totally understand. The last place I want to be is on the side of the road with a dead car. Especially if I’m on the highway or in an unfamiliar place. My goal would always be to get to my destination or a service facility. Unfortunately, you can do additional damage to your vehicle if you continue to drive it. It’s also hard to determine, based on what’s happening, as to whether continuing to drive is a bad idea. Looking at your owner’s manual may give you additional information but pulling over to read the owner’s manual isn’t really ideal either. From the time Jeff and I started dating and he became in charge of my vehicle maintenance for my 1976 Honda Civic Wagon, he told me the rules for non-technicians. Stop. If the vehicle is ... read more

Shopping for a “New” Car

Shopping for a “New” Car

A teenagers list of desirable car traits: Cool Not a minivan Awesome sound system A parent’s list of desirable traits for their teenage driver’s car: Safe Reliable No acceleration Looking for a used car can be stressful. Even more so when looking for one for a new driver in your household. It can be a good opportunity to teach them about research, test drives, and inspections. Firstly, do your research on the models you are interested in purchasing. Test drive with the radio OFF and listen for sounds that are not normal for a well-maintained vehicle. Finally, if you’ve found a vehicle you like and you think it would be a fair purchase, have it inspected by a licensed, certified technician at your favorite repair facility. It might seem like an unnecessary expense but it can be a great investment. You might find out that the beautiful vehicle that drives like a dream needs a thousand dollars worth of work to ... read more

An Unexpected End to my Day

An Unexpected End to my Day

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. Jeff had one of the technicians check out the vehicle and it was determined that it wasn’t drivable. The customer had someone that could arrange to pick her up but they didn’t know if there would be enough room for all three kids, with one in a car seat, to be taken home in one trip. I had been putting plants in the planters outside of the office door, one of my favorite jobs every spring. One of the young ladies came out and chatted with me while I planted the flowers and our technicians inspected her grandmother’s vehicle. We talked about basketball, summer vacation and her two sisters. Most days my job requires paperwork, phone calls, speaking with customers, social media and probably more paperwork. Customer service is the focus for all of us here. Making peop ... read more

Sometimes, It’s the Little Things

Sometimes, It’s the Little Things

Customers call when their brakes are making noise, their muffler gets loud or their vehicle isn’t starting. These are all part of car ownership. They also never happen at an opportune time. These are things that need to be taken care of either right away or soon. It’s the little things that get don’t really have to be taken care of immediately or, they may even be something you aren’t aware of that’s not operating. I remember getting pulled over as a teenager for a headlight that was out on my Honda Civic. There were no dashboard indicator lights to let me know this was an issue. Now, my car would tell me a bulb was out but not which bulb. A customer came in several days ago and we were chatting while Jeff checked her vehicle. She lives alone and had a light out indicator on her dashboard. She couldn’t identify which bulb was out. Jeff found it was a brake light bulb. It can be a two-person job to check the brake lights as the brake pedal has to be depressed whi ... read more

Finding Your Place

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?” I’ve heard it called a hair affair. Most woman have done this at least once. I know I have. I don’t know that I expect anything magical to happen but it’s fun to see what someone different has to offer. I have the same hair I’ve always had, maybe not quite the color I was born with or the color it has changed to, but still the same hair. Remember Jennifer Aniston and her ‘Friends’ hairstyle, the Rachel? Everyone wanted that look. I knew there was not a stylist on the planet who could coax that look from my hair but, maybe? The thing is, if you go back to your original stylist, she knows you went somewhere else. I asked Paula, the boss of my hair, a while ago how she felt ... 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.