This last Saturday, January 7, 2017, we had our first ever women's car care clinic. We are hoping to make this a regular series for women only to help educate and empower them about automotive matters. We had so much fun learning about automotive basics, getting up close and personal with vehicles in the shop, and drinking some tasty wine from The Alaska Wine Wagon. We covered everything from the basics of internal combustion engine operation to the importance of good tires. This program is designed to be a stress free, friendly, and encouraging environment for women to ask questions and learn about car care. I've been in the automotive industry for over 18 years and still feel the effects of being in a male dominated industry. Our goal is not to make this about gender, as no one deserves to feel inferior when making significant investments in the longevity of their vehicles, but a female only clinic has been in high demand for several years.
Edmonds Import Auto is passionate in educating the community about the automotive industry. It has changed so much over the years, but that change has not been communicated effectively to everyone on the outskirts of the automotive world. Not being made aware of technological advances, changes to special equipment and tools, increased training, and thus, increased overhead, has created a stereotype of distrust through lack of communication and education. Most people will spend $1000.00/year on car maintenance. I don't know about you, but I spend $1000.00 on something, I would want to know what I am getting in return. If the value of what you received is never communicated properly then of course you are going to feel cheated. Our goal is make sure every individual we come into contact with, even if you're not a customer, is educated on the complexities and importance of skilled automotive repairs and maintenance. We do that through excellent customer service, increased communication, and involvement in the community. If you ever have questions, or want to request a car care clinic on a specific topic, please feel free to let us know. We are here to help!
Well, it finally happened. Winter in Alaska. I glanced down at my outside temp readout this morning as I started my car and confirmed what I had suspected--negative digits. For those fortunate enough to have a garage to keep their cars warm and toasty, this post is not for you. As the temp outside dips steadily south, take time to consider your vehicle and it's needs in colder weather.
If you don't have an oil pan or block heater installed already consider getting one installed. Some vehicles can support a block heater to keep the engine warm because the engines come equipped with freeze plugs. If your vehicle does not have a freeze plug for a block heater to be installed (VW and Audi come to mind), you can still have your vehicle equipped with a oil pan heater. An oil pan heater is a heating element that attaches to the engine's oil pan and keeps the oil warm. Keeping the oil warm in colder temps is vital to keep the top end of the engine properly lubricated on start-up. Repeatedly starving your engine of proper lubrication on start up can cause premature engine wear and tear. Think of it like molasses trying to move from the bottom of the engine to the top--slow and thick is not good. If you do plug your vehicle in, use a timer and set it for approximately two hours before you leave to prevent the heating element from getting too hot.
A good, strong charging system is also vital to cold weather start-up. If your battery or alternator was borderline during the summer months you can pretty much guarantee failure when it gets cold outside. Electrical components do not like getting cold. Making them work harder when it's cold out only increases your chance of having a battery, alternator, or starter fail. If your luck is anything like mine, your charging system will inevitably fail when it's dark, windy, and way, way, way below zero.
Wiper blades are a commonly overlooked maintenance item. Replace them at least two times per year to guarantee a streak-free view of the road in front of you. Refill your washer reservoir with the proper windshield washer fluid only to prevent freezing inside the system. Folks, we have seen it before. People have been known to use water in their windshield washer systems and really, really bad things happen when it freezes. Same goes with the coolant system. Have your technician make sure that your anti-freeze is up to specs to keep your coolant system well lubricated, at the proper temp, and not too diluted to prevent freezing.
That being said, try to have a warm and safe time as we enter into the Holiday season. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time! Merry Christmas!
As a female in the industry that I'm in, I get asked all the time "How did you get started in working on cars?" First and foremost, let me clarify. I have never turned wrench professionally. Can I do it, yes. Do I claim to be a technician or know as much as my techs? Absolutely not. My professional background is in pretty much everything else--parts, service, and management. But the "how" of my involvement in running and owning auto shops is not nearly as important as the "why".
I started working in shops when I was 18 and going to college full-time. I started in the local Toyota dealer in shipping and receiving. I didn't know a ball joint from a spark plug. But I'm an excellent listener and observer and I soon started picking up my knowledge from listening to the technicians and parts people. What I discovered was a whole new world that not many people, especially women, ventured into and that gave me an incredible sense of empowerment. People in the auto world are generally very giving and kind and were more than happy to help me learn more about cars. They love to share their passion and their knowledge. The more I learned, the more confident I became and not just with vehicles. I figured if I could learn to work on cars with no background or formal training, then there wasn't a whole bunch I couldn't do. So I expanded even further into service advising, management, and eventually, ownership. I'm not here to tell you I know everything. In fact, most days I just feel like a little kid playing dress-up. However, what I do have is the confidence in myself to figure it out and make things work. I don't lose--I either win or I learn. Learn something new, try something you've never done before because it scared you, give yourself more credit, forgive yourself more often, and learn how to be the person you deserve to be.
Well, here it goes. My very first entry into the World of Blogging. For those of you that are far more tech savvy than I, please be patient and try not to roll your eyes too much at me. I've resisted social media for far too long and I realized that if I am to ask my techs to stay on top of automotive technology then it was only fair that I kept up on my end. I prefer to engage our customers on a face-to-face basis, but as we grow larger that becomes far more difficult to do. Although we pride our shop on keeping a personal element with all of our customers we find that we can always do better at maintaining contact. Thus, our Facebook page, Twitter, and our very first blog is born. It's been quite the learning curve for our team as the demand for our services is sometimes more than we can handle, but my team always does me proud in the end. Just as my team has done me proud with servicing your vehicles, I hope I can do them proud with my end of the bargain. If anyone has any suggestions on how I can do a better job with maintaining contact I would certainly appreciate the suggestions! Thanks and I will be in touch.