Me & My Ride: Amanda Adair’s 2009 Saturn Vue

Me & My Ride: Amanda Adair’s 2009 Saturn Vue

Amanda is one of the kindest people I know and it’s been really fun to serve her and her 2009 Saturn Vue. She’s been so wonderful in connecting her friends with us as well! In fact, she referred Victoria to us a little while back who we ended up hiring to fill the client relations role in our office!

A bit of a renaissance woman, Amanda has just a few jobs. She is full-time at Northland Church with the housekeeping team. She manages all of the children’s ministry costumes and props at Summit Church. Finally, she occasionally gets gigs at Florida Hospital acting in medical simulations.

She’s an actress, a harpist, and an outdoor enthusiast.

In her vacation time she’s likely to be driving South Carolina (about twice a year) to visit family. On days off she enjoys hanging out in her hammock reading, going to parks that feature streams and lakes and riding her bike on the recreation trails.

Amanda one thing that she likes about her Vue is that it has plenty of room to haul her harp around. Or her bike. Or to help a friend move. After getting to know her, it doesn’t surprise me that she enjoys using her vehicle to help others.

The only downside is that the trunk is so high off the ground. Being a small woman, lifting her harp or bicycle into her trunk is a feat! One thing she misses about her minivan is that it was lower to the ground and easier to load. 

When Amanda first moved to Florida, she was going to a mechanic in Kissimmee where she lived. Then, when she moved to East Orlando, she wanted to find something closer, so her roommate, a client of ours, recommended us. She’s been a loyal client since then.

She was sold from the get go. “That first time that I came, I couldn’t find the place. Andrew came out and found my car and walked me over to the building.”

Feeling cared for from the first moment she came to us and the level of honesty and upfront communication were what kept her coming back.

“At that point I didn’t feel really confident in my ability to not be swindled over, so being willing to talk to my dad was really great. I’ve gained confidence in how to talk to my mechanic and how to handle stuff on my own for my vehicle. I have ownership of my car.”

Probably one of the biggest compliments we could get – especially from a single woman – was when Amanda told me, “The last time [I came] I didn’t even call my dad. I just took care of it.” 

That is exactly what we try to do here. We want people to feel empowered to make confident decisions in taking care of their vehicle. 

The Value of Time and Money

The Value of Time and Money

It’s really annoying and frustrating, if not stressful, to go in for maintenance due just a few weeks after an oil change. And then, a couple months after that, to go in for a surprise repair. You are busy. You have work, school, kids, etc. Your time is valuable. You don’t have time to be running back and forth to and from your mechanic. 

While we like the relationships we’ve built with our clients, we value honoring their time, and only seeing them as few times as possible throughout the year is one indicator that  we are doing our job well. Our goal is to remove the stress of going back and forth as much as possible. That’s why we’ve introduced Service Visits into the model of care we give to our clients. That is that with each visit, the vehicle gets a proper blend of maintenance, inspection, and repair procedures so that you don’t have to return to the shop in between visits, and you have an opportunity to plan ahead for the next visit.

What is a Service Visit?

It all starts with knowing what your vehicle needs and when. There are a couple ways you can obtain this knowledge. 

Maintenance Schedules

The vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is a good place to start in knowing what your vehicle needs. It tells you when regular time and mileage based services are due such as fluid exchanges, filter replacements, etc. These schedules often require some interpretation based on mileage, driving conditions, and typical usage. This is where a mechanic can be valuable in helping you make informed decisions. Beyond the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, we can often inform you about components that commonly fail or wear out based on mileage, usage, and the specific vehicle model. Some of these components apply to vehicles in general; others are more specific to what you’re driving or the driving conditions that your vehicle sees. Brake Pads, for example, have a predictable life-span. For example, it is helpful to have the brakes inspected and, as needed, the pads replaced while your vehicle is in for another service.

When someone calls to schedule an oil change, we will ask what other concerns you have. We will even look at previous maintenance services, inspections, or tests we’ve done for you, and let you know what is coming due. That way, instead of sitting around our office waiting for an oil change and then coming back a few weeks later for the other services, you can leave your vehicle for a day or so, go about your business, and get it all done at one time.

Inspections

We strongly recommend having your vehicle inspected on a regular basis. Not only can these inspections tell you what your vehicle needs now, they can also help prevent you from being affected by mechanical failures that cause the car to break-down, safety concerns that raise the risk of an accident, and mechanical issues that will rise in repair cost if not tended to proactively. We are happy to be reactive when necessary (reacting to and solving a problem), but we believe that you can save money, time, and stress with a proactive and informed approach.

When we do inspections here, we take detailed notes and provide you with a comprehensive list of current or upcoming maintenance, repairs ,and concerns for your vehicle based on priority. Then, 2-4 times each year, you can schedule your vehicle for a Service Visit – have your oil changed, tires rotated, and any other service that you know is needed.There are two types of inspections we do at our repair shop. Comprehensive inspections involve a detailed look at your vehicle from top to bottom, front to back, inside and out. This helps you make a long-term plan and to budget out what your vehicle is going to need in the coming months or years. Maintenance inspections can look like smaller pieces of the comprehensive inspection. They can be focused on areas of the vehicle that are most prevalent at the time depending on its mileage, service history and your specific concerns. Both inspections are legitimate depending on your vehicle and what you want. 

Keeping Our Eyes Open

When we service your vehicle, we may notice  warning signs of  a problem. For example,we may notice a fluid leak, a clunk noise, a worn tire, or many other things.That’s not to say that we go looking for problems without your consent. It means that we are looking out for you and if something jumps out at us, we will give you a heads up. 

For example, say we are doing an oil change on a Honda and we notice blue fluid at the bottom of the engine compartment. This is a dead giveaway that the engine coolant is leaking. We want you to know so that you can be proactive. We don’t want to see that coolant leak result in an engine overheat that could increase the overall repair cost. Or maybe we see that a tire is worn bald on the inside edge where you can’t see it. We want the vehicle to perform safely for you so we feel obligated to let you know. We’d like to see the tire get replaced, and the alignment adjusted so that you don’t continue to experience that abnormal wear.

We may notice concerns that are more minor as well. We just had a Honda S2000 in the shop today that has a couple concerns with engine oil leakage, but neither of them require immediate attention. Now they are on our radar for future service work, and the client has the opportunity to make plans in advance.

Time and Money

Time and money are two areas of life that need to be honored and budgeted wisely. We want to help you with both when it comes to taking care of your vehicle. That’s why we believe that building trust through honest communication with our clients by providing proactive rather than reactive service is so important.

Are you interested in knowing more about how Service Visits could help you? If you are in Central Florida, please feel free to contact us.

Me & My Ride: David and Hanna Neisz

Me & My Ride: David and Hanna Neisz

We met David in December 2018. He had gotten into a collision and didn’t have a repair shop he trusted. His friend, a client of ours, recommended Marinelli Auto Service. In fact, this friend was also referred to us by a friend. We love clients who come by word of mouth because it usually means that they already have a little bit of faith in us.

Between waiting on the insurance company, sourcing parts, and giving our body shop time to properly do their part, it ended up being a rather long process. It became a little stressful because in the middle of it all, David and Hanna got married! However, David being the kind, patient, and understanding guy that he is, continued to appreciate our service.  (more…)

Mechanic’s Families Aren’t Immune to Car Problems

Mechanic’s Families Aren’t Immune to Car Problems

“Screeeeeech” screamed my brakes as I pulled into the parking lot. This is not a sound my car had made before. I had sensed something was off and earlier that week had asked Andrew to take a look at it over the weekend. Now it seemed urgent. I called him immediately to explain what was going on. He gave me sound advice (as he does) and I dropped my car off as soon as I was done with my errand.

You might think that because we own an auto repair shop that we’re immune to stress over car problems. Many times there is just no way around it.

Planning Ahead

First of all, our cars need maintenance and repairs just like everyone else’s. Being as that we are well in tune with maintenance schedules and preventative care, we are pretty wise about what our vehicles need and when. Our goal is always to educate our clients so that they have the same level of empowerment in servicing their vehicles, but with the added benefit of being updated whenever you schedule for service. 

Surprise Repairs

Secondly, our vehicle’s can develop surprises just like any other vehicle no matter how diligent we are in staying ahead of maintenance and repairs. We have the same challenge of figuring out transportation while our vehicle is in the shop. This, just like you, is more challenging when it’s a surprise that our busy schedule can’t really accommodate. 

Plus, we don’t get cuts in line just because we own the repair shop. In fact, we reserve working on our personal vehicles for after shop hours so that we can continue to serve our clients well. Just like you, it’s even more challenging when it’s a complex repair and we’re down a vehicle while it gets tended to.

Repair Budget

Then, there is the financial aspect of maintaining a vehicle. While we don’t pay ourselves for labor (because that’s obviously redundant), we still have parts costs. We still have to budget for vehicle repairs and, like you, money can be tight at times and stressful if it’s not a repair we were expecting. 

Finally, the time for the repair needs to come from somewhere and it’s time that we’re not getting paid for. For us, as I previously mentioned, this means Andrew staying after hours or working more on the weekend to work on our personal vehicle.

Advantages of Owning an Auto Repair Shop

Are there advantages to owning a repair shop? Sure! We don’t have to pay labor or parts mark-up. When my vehicle makes a noise or isn’t handling quite right, I am better able to relay the relevant information to Andrew because of the time I’ve spent talking clients through their vehicle’s symptoms. Information is valuable in getting down to the bottom of the problem in a timely manner. 

I am also more aware of whether or not it’s an urgent issue or something that I can keep my eye on. When I go home at night I can discuss it with Andrew. After being around the industry since before we opened the shop, I am more easily able to understand what he’s telling me. I am used to taking what he finds and explaining that to clients, so I generally don’t have a lot of questions..

However, I can still relate to you when you come in stressed about your vehicle, your schedule, finding alternate transportation, and your budget. I experience all of those things, too. Much of the time I need clarification about whether or not what I’m experiencing is urgent. This helps me to better understand what you are experiencing when you have an unexpected concern over your car. 

When it comes down to it, we’re all human and vehicle’s are a man-made object. Very few of us are experts about this valuable piece of machinery we rely on to get us where we need to go. We can only be so proactive about vehicle maintenance and repairs no matter how much we know or don’t know.

After hearing that awful noise it didn’t take long for Andrew to get my vehicle up on the lift and see that the vehicle was due for new brake pads. Just like any client, he didn’t hesitate to take care of this safety issue so that I could get back into my vehicle. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I have such an attentive mechanic to take care of the vehicle I drive on a daily basis. If you don’t, I highly recommend finding one!

Me & My Ride: Karen Tuttle’s 2005 Hyundai Elantra

Me & My Ride: Karen Tuttle’s 2005 Hyundai Elantra

It doesn’t take much to get Karen Tuttle to agree to traveling abroad and form friendships with people from all cultures and backgrounds. Her role in non-profit Christian ministry traveling all over the world is a perfect fit for her. In fact, that is how I met Karen and have remained good friends with her for the past 15 years.

Coming from a family who all works for the same non-profit, and being in non-profit work herself, Karen is pretty thrifty when it comes to most things in life – especially her car. She did her research, and when she came upon the ‘05 Elantra on Craigslist while she was living in Indianapolis, she quickly figured out that this particular vehicle was known to be rather low maintenance. She met the owner and could tell they’d taken good care of it and learned they just needed something better suited to the size of their growing family. 

“It’s been a great car,” she says, “I love that it’s a hatchback because I have moved several times. Also, I haven’t had any major issues crop up.” In fact, we don’t see Karen very much at the shop aside from maintenance. She says “Over the years there have been minimal times when I’ve had to bring it in for a non-maintenance issue,” which is as good as it gets for an older vehicle. It’s no wonder, then, that when she’s not on an airplane going to and fro foreign lands, she’s zipping around town in her 2005 Hyundai Elantra to visit friends homes or meeting up at a favorite coffee joint or eatery. 

I call her a foodie, though she says that sounds too pretentious. Well, I guess I’m a bit pretentious because I would consider myself a bit of a foodie, which is another reason I like hanging out with Karen. I might add that I spent some time travelling with Karen. She’s definitely a person who enjoys the experience of the journey, while I just want to get to the destination. I guess this explains why Karen likes driving around to meet up with friends and I not a huge fan of driving, so I just wait for her to come to my house. We usually end up creating a delicious meal together and share life’s most recent anecdotes.

It’s quite obvious, then what initially brought her to Marinelli Auto Service – she was a bridesmaid in our wedding after all – but we’ve been very clear with her that we wouldn’t be offended if she had another shop that she trusted. She responded, “But I want to bring it to you guys!”

“I haven’t had great experiences with other independent mechanics,” she explains. “As a single woman, I’ve felt condescended to. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I try to be wise and educated. I appreciate that Andrew gives it to me straight and I don’t feel like he’s changing his communication because I’m a single female. I appreciate having people I can trust.”

Sadly, I can relate to her experience. Before meeting Andrew, going to a repair shop as a single woman was an aggravating experience. 

She adds, “Andrew communicates well and in a way that I can understand, so I have learned more about my car.”

Even though she’s on a thrifty budget, Karen still feels like she’s getting a good deal when she comes to us. “I know that you all have talked about how you don’t give the discounts because you are already serving us at the best price that you can,” she relates. “Having good long-term reliable service is worth more to me than getting it cheaper. I would rather pay more for a car that is going to keep running well and have a trustworthy mechanic. I don’t have to worry about if I’m being treated well. For example, you are always willing to work with my schedule, when I’m out of the country and when I’m home. When I lived out of the state for a couple years because of a temporary work relocation, I really missed the Marinellis because I couldn’t find someone I could trust to work on my car.”

When she got back into town after her relocation, one of the first things Karen did was bring in her car for a comprehensive Inspection. “I was hoping to get several more years out of my car and the detailed results of the inspection allowed me to see that what I need in maintenance and repairs is worth keeping the car for a while longer,” she shared. 

We’re glad that Karen has been back in Orlando, not just for her business or the fact that she loves referring her friends and co-workers to us, but because she is truly a joy to serve. Plus, she’s a great friend and it feels so good to help friends. 

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