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My Journey Toward Car Literacy

I Married A Car Guy: My Journey Toward Car Literacy

Welcome to the non-automotive automotive blog. My name is Debbie Nol, and I have been the Business Manager at Arie Nol Auto Center since 2000. I have a unique perspective, as I am not a ‘car person’ but work in an industry filled with people passionate about vehicles. It gives me the ability to share what I’ve learned over 20 years and hopefully help you navigate the world of car repair and maintenance more comfortably. However, posts will not always be vehicle related. I love to share observations and story’s from ‘auto world’ with shoes and cats thrown in for good measure.

I’m glad you’re here, and I look forward to you getting to know us a little bit better through this blog!

Articles:

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

Mother's Day

Mother's Day

I’d like to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to everyone! This weekend is the day we celebrate the woman who raised us. The person who was with you through the good and the bad, the cheers and the tears. Mom’s everywhere look forward to this day because, if your children are young, it means gifts and cards made by little hands and smiling faces. If your children are adults, it means a phone call or visit and precious time spent with them. Sometimes it means celebrating the day with memories because your Mom is no longer living. Wishing you could make that phone call to let them know you are thinking of them and miss them. People say, “Enjoy time with your parents, there will come a time they won’t be a phone call away”. Take the time to connect with your Mom. Someday you’ll be thankful that you did. Enjoy the day! It’s not just a Hallmark holiday but one more chance to celebrate

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

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 p ... read more

The Triangle of Safety

The Triangle of Safety

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. Wor ... read more

Just One Foot on the Soapbox

Just One Foot on the Soapbox

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 ca ... read more

Don’t have a Snickers moment

Don’t have a Snickers moment

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 ... read more

Why ASE Certified matters to you?

Why ASE Certified matters to you?

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 ... read more

Is That Deer Real?

Is That Deer Real?

Every day I drive past a home that has a decoy deer in the yard. The first couple of times it took me by surprise and I actually slowed down, thinking it was real. I don't even notice it anymore. This week I was driving by and I realized the deer was still there. He's looking a little worse for wear but he still hasn't moved. I was thinking about how we get so accustomed to something that after a while we don't even see it anymore. A check engine light, or malfunction indicator light, can be like that deer. At first, you notice it and it catches your attention. After a while, your brain lulls itself into thinking that light is nothing. You don't even notice the light anymore, just like I don't notice the fake deer. Customers will sometimes be in vehicles and let us know that the check engine light “has been on for months.” It doesn't bother them because they figure the car is still running well, so it must not be a problem. And it might not be. Sometimes ... read more

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