“Now what?” It’s a question asked of and by most recent college graduates. Alyssa Shriner is no exception, but the way she’s going about finding the answer is quite impressive. With a steady methodical approach, Alyssa takes one step at a time as she strives to make good choices in this new “real world” of adulthood. I haven’t known Alyssa long, but this truth about her became evident when she approached us about helping her buy her first car. It continues to hold true the more I get to know her. Continue reading Me & My Ride: Alyssa Shriner
May was an exciting but frightening month at Marinelli Auto Service. Business in the auto repair industry tends to ebb and flow in seasons. April was quite slow…maybe due to people focusing on paying their taxes? Then May came and BAM! We had more work than we knew what to do with. We knew we needed to make a change because we wanted to provide the same level of service, or better, to what we’d been providing over the previous 17 months of the shop’s existence. Increased customer needs meant long work hours and little sleep for Andrew. I was doing everything I could to support him as I continued to learn everything I could about this new industry. I’ve never worked harder in my life! Continue reading Challenges and Changes in a Mom and Pop Shop [We Like Mike]
Nothing can keep Fred and Mariana Johnson stagnant for too long. Always on the go, heading to the beach with friends, hanging out at Universal Studios, or out exploring Orlando, the Johnsons are lovers of life and activity.
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
Expecting the Unexpected
In this series so far I’ve covered why you should consider driving your car to 300,000 miles and how to maintain it well. In this final post, I want to share some advice on how to deal with inevitable unexpected repairs.
You’ve just been having a blast hanging out with friends. Now you are on your way home, pumping your jams, just taking in the moment of the good time you’ve had today when you hear an awful noise coming from your vehicle. Suddenly, the atmosphere in the car changes. You love this car! It’s your baby! It’s gotten you through college and job promotions, maybe even a job demotion, and you aren’t ready to give up on her yet.
Sometimes the hardest part of making a vehicle last is making the difficult decision to spend a significant amount of money to keep it running. It really helps if you are prepared to expect the unexpected, and here’s how.
Remembering the Basics
In part one of this series, I explained why you should consider driving your car for 300,000 miles and beyond. This article includes some practical tips on how to stay on top of the general maintenance of your vehicle.
What Should I Consider Regarding Auto Maintenance?
What’s the Point?
As a nineteen year old college student, my parents helped me buy my first car. My dad and I did a lot of research and he wanted his first-born daughter to be safe 4 ½ hours away from home. Being a Chrysler family, we finally settled on a brand new Dodge Neon.
How ignorant I was to believe that once the sale was final, all I needed to worry about was gas, oil changes, and insurance! When the repairs got to be too overwhelming for me, even though I LOVED the Neon, I traded it in for a used PT Cruiser with lower mileage. That car, too, eventually needed repairs while still paying off the loan. I still miss my Neon.
More than a decade later, and the wife of a mechanic, I live with astute awareness of what it takes to keep a car running. Andrew and I now drive fully paid-off vehicles – a 1998 Chevy Prizm with just over 100,000 miles on it and a 1994 Toyota Corolla with almost 175,000 miles under its belt. We hope to still be driving those cars at 200,000 miles, and most likely 300,000 (by then, they will surely be classics!).
I now know that the sale price of the vehicle is not the only investment. By also investing in truly maintaining my car, I can keep it running smoothly through 300,000 miles or more.
So, why should I consider investing in my vehicle to 300,000 miles or more?
Let me begin by telling you that I’ve always held jobs where I was just one of many women…teaching, youth ministry, writing and communications. While I’ve never been opposed to working in a male dominant industry, it just never occurred to me (because of my interests and abilities) that I ever would. I grew up in a fairly equal male to female environment and I’m totally cool with relating to men. However, now that I am working alongside Andrew at the shop full-time, I’ve become increasingly aware that I’m a minority in this industry.
For most people owning a vehicle means being able to get to work, to school, to visit family and friends. For Darryl and Shannon Skinn, owning a vehicle means being able to shower others with help and kindness.
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