Three Things New Drivers and Concerned Parents Should Know

Three Things New Drivers and Concerned Parents Should Know

I hopped in my parents’ minivan with my high school friend, Liam (not his real name – we’re still friends and I want to keep it that way!), on a crisp Michigan November afternoon. I was a little nervous but also pretty excited. It was one of my first times driving without my parents or another adult in the car. Liam and I were headed to my Grandparents’ house to help clean out their basement. I felt sooo grown up!

As we headed down the scenic M-22, snaking around Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan all seemed to be going fine. The tires were humming slightly, which my mom told me was because they had just put snow tires on the car in preparation for winter. I nervously engaged in conversation with Liam, still not a fully confident driver, as the humming grew slowly louder. I kept saying, “I think it’s getting louder. Do you think it’s ok?” to which Liam assured me it was like my Mom said, just the snow tires gripping the road. It came to a point where we had to yell to hear one another and I said, “I think we should pull over just to be sure.” Continue reading Three Things New Drivers and Concerned Parents Should Know

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How To Reduce Stress With Your Next Vehicle Repair

How To Reduce Stress With Your Next Vehicle Repair

My car is acting up, so I make an appointment with an auto mechanic shop. I figure I’ll take my car to them, I’ll describe the issue, and they’ll find what’s wrong and repair the problem. If you are like me, the thought process stops there. But then, I arrive and talk to a mechanic, or maybe a service advisor, and then I get overwhelmed. They ask questions I don’t know the answer to and I’m in a hurry to get to the next thing on my agenda.

Before I married a mechanic, I definitely didn’t know how to make the most of my appointment with an auto mechanic shop, making it a stressful experience. Now that my husband and I own a shop, I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned that will save you some of the frustration I used to experience. Continue reading How To Reduce Stress With Your Next Vehicle Repair

Start the New Year Right for Your Car and Your Wallet

New Year’s Resolutions have gotten a bad rap over the years. Instead of an opportunity to better one’s life each year, this annual resolution has turned into a promise with little hope of completion for many. That’s why I’d like to encourage you to avoid them at all costs. No diet and exercise plans, no promise of kicking that bad habit, of being nicer to your siblings, or of completing that project. Instead, I’d like to encourage you to start every day with 5 minutes to quietly ask yourself, “what can I do today to make wise choices?” Don’t make this a resolution. Don’t get down on yourself if it doesn’t happen every day, just give yourself the gift of 5 minutes.

In that five minutes, you’ll likely come up with something different today than you will a week from now. For example, maybe one day you are thinking about choices you need to make about your vehicle, but the money thing is stressing you out. On that day, pull up this blog post, and follow these steps for making wise choices for your car and your wallet. Once you take the first step, you won’t have to work so hard to stick to a goal.

Continue reading Start the New Year Right for Your Car and Your Wallet

Guide to Buying a Used Car or Truck

Guide to Buying a Used Car

Buying a car, aside from choosing the right college and buying a house, is one of the most expensive purchasing decisions we make, and yet so many of us are in the dark as to what to look for. It is an investment we usually want to hold onto for many years. How do I know I’m getting a fair deal? How do I know the vehicle is reliable? Do I purchase from a dealer or a private party? We often have more questions than we find answers, so I’d like to help ease your mind a little when making that all important decision.

Here are four steps for making a purchase with confidence: Continue reading Guide to Buying a Used Car or Truck

Should I “Price-Shop” to Find an Auto Repair Shop?

Should I price shop?

What is “Price-Shopping”?

For the sake of clarity, I’ll define “price-shopping” as any of the following:

  1. Moving from shop to shop as you look for the cheapest price for a desired service.
  2. Returning regularly to a shop because it seems to be the cheapest. (Even if you’re not calling around for price comparisons, price is your main consideration.)
  3. Making purchasing decisions based on perceived “bargains” (coupons, specials, advertisements etc.)

I don’t recommend that you do any of these things. I recognize that you’ll often save money in the short-term, but we believe you might spend  more in the long term.

There’s that old (and true) idea that you often get what you pay for. In automotive repair, there’s a lot that you should want to “get.” Such as the following: Continue reading Should I “Price-Shop” to Find an Auto Repair Shop?

Six Qualities to Look for in an Auto Mechanic Shop

6 Qualities Mechanic shop

For several years after college I moved a lot. I’d pack as many of my belongings as possible into my yellow Dodge Neon, Clunky, to settle into my new home in a new state and a new city. Michigan. Ohio. Florida…and when my oil needed changing or something more, I brought my car into a shop the same way one would spin a globe, close their eyes, point to a location and say, “Someday I will live here!” I never knew if I was going to be treated well or get the care needed for my car and I rarely brought it back to the same place twice. It’s this near recklessness with searching for a mechanic shop that causes me to joke, “Well, it’s a good thing I married a mechanic!”

You’ll often read about the importance of building a relationship with your mechanic on this blog and it’s not because I’m married to one. Rather, it is because someone who is familiar with your vehicle, its maintenance and repair history, and who knows you will be more likely to take the greatest care of you and your car. This trusting relationship will reduce the stress of the inevitable major repair and you’ll be able to drive down the road confident in your vehicle’s performance and safety.

So, what should you look for in a auto-mechanic shop? Here are six qualities to consider:

Continue reading Six Qualities to Look for in an Auto Mechanic Shop

Should I Repair or Replace My Vehicle?

Used car, repair or replace?

As vehicles age (or face expensive repairs), many people weigh repair costs against the vehicle’s worth. If the repair cost exceeds the vehicle’s worth, they will often sell or trade in the vehicle. By “worth” here, we’re referring to resale value.

I recommend a different approach. Blue Book and Edmunds (etc.) can help you decide what to sell your car for, or what you might pay for a used car. But they can’t quantify what the car is worth to you.

I’m not talking about emotions and memories here either. I’m coming from a practical point of view. Continue reading Should I Repair or Replace My Vehicle?