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!

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Prioritize Repairs

Prioritize Repairs

One of the things I’ve learned working at an automotive repair shop is this; replace your ball joints. I actually have an unnatural fear of broken ball joints. Here’s my reasoning. If they fail, it might get ugly. Here’s why. Ball joints are part of your suspension. They attach to the hub assembly and lower control arms. They attach into something that looks like your hip socket. If they are loose and come out of that assembly, your car continues to move forward without all of the suspension holding it up and no steering ability. Several years ago, there was a white Dodge Intrepid sitting on M6, between the 68th street and 76th street exits. The ball joint had broken and the front of the vehicle was almost sitting on the road. I remember it because I drove past it every day for probably a week. It was a good visual of a bad situation. We’ve had vehicles towed in that had the ball joint break; and I don’t ever recall a customer enjoying the abrupt stopping then losing contro ... read more

Josie and Her Car Seat

Josie and Her Car Seat

My daughter Liz has a small Sheltie puppy named Josie, who will only be about 25 lbs. when full grown. When Liz first started driving with Josie in the car, Josie wanted to sit on her lap. Liz realized that this would be a problem. I decided to do a little research and found several interesting articles about how unrestrained dogs in vehicles are often hurt or killed, even in low speed accidents. Owners can also be hurt because dogs become a projectile in the car during an accident or fast stop. In a 2011 AAA survey, 23% of pet owners used their arms to restrain a dog while braking, and 17% admitted to holding their dog in their lap while driving. Unfortunately, if the airbag deploys in an accident while your dog is on your lap, this could seriously injure your pet. Years ago, when a customer came in to have the air in her tires checked, I saw her two dogs in the back seat with harnesses and seat belts on. I hadn’t seen this before, but now realize her wisdom of safe trave ... read more

Legacies

Legacies

Each of our three children has worked at Arie Nol Auto Center at some point, progressing from clean-up crew or stock person to learning how to do oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Although the older two are now in non-automotive careers that they love, Cameron has become an ASE Certified Technician and a service writer in our business. Cameron continues to follow the path that Jeff took in 1976 when he began working for his Dad at the shop. When Arie started this business in 1976, he did it because he loved fixing cars, just as Jeff does. Cameron has been around the shop his whole life and also loves cars. I wish that Arie was around to see the third generation of his family continue in his footsteps. The legacy of a family-owned business strives when you take what you learned from the previous generation, carry on the drive to succeed, and learn as much as you can to continue growing the business and supporting your community. Passing along the legacy of hard work, passio ... read more

Coffee and Local Business

Coffee and Local Business

I always thought all coffee was the same. It didn’t really matter where it came from or how it was roasted. Then I met Craig. Several years ago, we began purchasing our coffee from Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters. They were a new business and very enthusiastic about their product. Craig Patterson explained the process of roasting the beans and why it was better coffee. We figured our customers would love a good cup of coffee. Grand Rapids small business community is amazing. You have a guy with a passion for good coffee and he has built a business that embodies the focus on buying local. All of us that work here at Arie Nol Auto Center, as well as our customers, appreciate the fruits (coffee beans are actually the pit in a coffee cherry) of Craig’s labor. We love being able to support a small, local business that employs local people. We also love drinking the coffee. It is an instant cup of happiness. Do you want to try out a great cup of coffee on a Saturday morning ... read more

Hook that scanner up!

Hook that scanner up!

No, it can’t do that. We hear several times a day, “Can you hook up the computer to see what is wrong with my car?” While technology is amazing and the scanners and computers we use are an important part of the diagnostic process, they don’t tell us exactly what the problem is. The most important part of the diagnostic process is the technician and his experience, education and skills. A scanner can give the technician the starting piece of the puzzle and he has to fit it all together. The code may indicate what general area of the vehicle is malfunctioning, but it’s up to the technician to figure out what part is failing to do its job. Most technicians avoid being ‘parts changers’ and want to get to the root cause of the problem. In the past, diagnoses were simpler because cars were simpler. They didn’t have numerous computers helping to run the system. If your vehicle was hesitating, a tune-up was recommended. Today, that hesitation can come from a myriad of different parts o ... read more

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