Articles:

GPS

Technology is an interesting beast. It has changed our lives in almost every way. We live in a day and age where change is constant. I’ve read articles that say that the human mind has to adjust to the rate of technological change because it is more rapid than ever in history. I don’t work on vehicles, so it’s rare that I can assist a customer with the mechanics of their vehicle. A while ago, an older woman came to the shop counter and explained that her son bought her a GPS unit for a long trip. Appreciative yet clueless on how to use it, she had hoped someone could help her. Luckily, I know my way around a GPS unit. I have no sense of direction and don’t look at being lost as a potential problem when traveling. I assume it’s going to happen and I hope to discover something new and exciting while trying to find my way back to my route. GPS and my cell phone have changed this. My Dad once said while traveling with me that the use of GPS was going to make future generations directionall ... read more

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, passion and commitm ... read more

The Exciting Properties of Antifreeze

We are in the process of putting winter tires on our family cars. I am not a fan of winter so to me this is the harbinger of what is to come. I’m probably a 5th generation Michigander so you would think that my DNA would include a snow and cold loving gene. People suggest that finding a winter sport is the key to loving Michigan winters. The problem with that is that I’d have to be outside. Making sure that my car has heat, good tires and the coolant is working correctly helps me get through the winter. Coolant/antifreeze is more interesting than one would imagine. Seriously, I always thought it just kept the engine cool but it does more than that. Worn out coolant is more electrically conductive than fresh coolant. Electrolysis (and not the hair removing kind) in the coolant causes it to become corrosive and can damage the engine and components. So it’s important that your coolant/antifreeze be tested to make sure that it is still doing all the things it is required to do. Driving alo ... read more

Why accessories, and belts, are important

Drive belts are an integral part of your vehicle’s operating system as they, in conjunction with your engine, power your accessories. I’d like to share a little about the importance of maintaining your drive belts. I’m going to keep it simple and not throw around a bunch of technical words. Essentially, pulleys are attached to the engine, belts run through the pulleys which in turn power the accessory. So the belts are powered by the engine and power the accessories. If you are thinking purses, belts and jewelry, those are not the type of accessories I’m talking about. I’m talking about your water pump, charging system, air conditioning compressor, etc. There are usually several drive belts in each vehicle. When a belt breaks, it can cause damage to the surrounding parts. Replacing pulleys or other parts damaged by a belt breaking is costlier than replacing your car’s drive belt during normal routine maintenance. Technicians know how important your drive belts are and will check them f ... read more

Finally, shoes!

I have a board on Pinterest devoted to pins of shoes I love. If you don’t understand that sentence, you may be a guy. Or you are missing out on the greatest time waster ever created. My Pinterest shoe board is, to me, what Car and Driver magazine is to men. I look at pictures of shoes other people love and decide if I want to pin them to my board. Like Car and Driver readers and the cars they love, I will never own 99% of the shoes that I see and like. The boards on Pinterest are somewhat like going to a car show. People stop and look at the cars and then discuss if they’ve had that car, want that car or just admire that car. I pin a pair of shoes and if someone else pins them, we’ve bonded. We like the same shoes. We’re shoe-sisters. I saw a poster that said, “Shoes make me happy. I’m superficial. Whatever.” I didn’t want to relate to that statement, but I did

Job Shadowing Opportunity

There has been a lot of talk about the automotive technician shortage. If you don’t work in a trade, you may not be aware of how few students currently enter a trade field. The push for a college degree is important but not all high school students need to pursue a degree to achieve their goals. If your son or daughter likes to disassemble items to see how they work, hopefully they'll have the opportunity to use that skill in their job if that's what they enjoy. Being a naturally technical person is a gift. One I don't have but I watch it in action day-after- day. Most of the trades require post high school education. There are very few jobs you can walk into without some type of training in this day and age. We were fortunate to be asked to have a student from a local high school job shadow with us for part of a day. It's a great opportunity for all of us to share what we love about this business as well as give someone the opportunity to see what ‘a day in the life of a technician’ r ... read more

Moms, Kids and Cars

I remember when my oldest child was taking driver's education, eagerly anticipating the day she’d have that license in her hand. To her, it meant freedom. To me, it meant additional worrying. She excitedly drove us everywhere so she could accumulate the needed hours behind the wheel. She drove in the city, including downtown Chicago, in the country with lots of 2 and 4-way stops and everywhere in between. I was a lot more relaxed with the next two children getting their licenses. As a mom, I understand when someone has their vehicle checked over to make sure it’s safe and reliable because they have a new driver in the house. I understand that feeling of apprehension. You're handing the keys of a 2000 pound piece of metal with an engine to a 16 year old. There's not much scarier than that. You hope that your child remembers all the things you told them about good decisions. Don't text and drive; don't have too many friends in your car; don’t speed; don’t drink and drive; and don’t ride ... read more

Keeping our Perspective

Working in the world of auto repair changes your perspective. If you’re a car person, you may know all the working parts of the car. You may even know how to do some repairs yourself. In the past, it wasn’t unusual to have people in their garage giving their vehicle a tuneup or changing the brake pads. With the advanced technology in today’s vehicles, it is becoming more difficult to do your own work. If you work on cars every day, train on the new technology you’ll be repairing, and invest in the tools needed, you recognize the cost of repairs is increasing. You also recognize with all the new fun technology; the cost will keep increasing. When I had my Ford Aerostar when my children were young, I had one sliding door. It slid when I pulled the handle and yanked the door open. No buttons to push. No gently gliding, light-weight door. Opening that door while holding a toddler was just part of being a mom in the 80’s and 90’s. The thing is, that was the only option to have a van door op ... read more

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 the repair shop. Our goal ... read more

A Lasting Legacy

Cameron was only three months old when his grandfather, Arie Nol, the founder of our business, passed away. Cameron has no memories of his own but he has heard many other people’s memories of Arie. While working here, he has the unique opportunity to talk to people that worked with his grandfather or have customers share their stories about Arie. Arie loved what he did and shared his passion for cars with many people. He also loved people and enjoyed helping them and sharing his knowledge to enable them to keep their vehicles in safe condition. Even though Arie has been gone for almost twenty-five years, we still hear the stories of how he impacted people’s lives. Cameron has been able to hear stories about his grandfather negotiating with vendors who’ve since retired but stop in to say “HI.” On occasion, he’s heard stories from people that shared how they had to deal with Arie after they caused damage to the family car by ignoring needed maintenance or driving less carefully than they ... read more

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