“Are you the driver?” asked Ted, the chief mechanic at my Honda dealership. He approached me with a worried look on his face and a clipboard in hand. I saw a lot of scribbled notes and more boxes checked off than what I normally saw after an oil change. Uh-oh, I thought.

I’ve been going to the same Honda dealership for years. Not only do I trust their team to negotiate a fair price when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle but they also do a great job providing routine maintenance and customer service.

Imagine my shock when I look up from my magazine to see Ted walking towards me with two extra technicians in tow. Their grim expressions alarmed me.

He asked me if I had ever seen a car stranded on the side of the road with its tires bent at a 45-degree angle while the driver stood by helpless. I said, yes, in a quiet voice. He told me that if I hadn’t driven in that morning, I might have been one of those drivers. 



Maintaining a healthy business starts with a trusted partnership

Whether it’s your car or your business, it takes routine care and maintenance to make sure things are working the way they’re supposed to.

So how do you keep a business (or in my case a car) from breaking down? Here’s what I learned from my scary experience:

1 | Find a partner

When Ted described the extreme situation my car was in, I knew he was not only alarmed at the state of my car, but also the threat to my safety.

Over the years I’ve developed a close relationship with the dealership employees. They’ve always kept their word and never took advantage of how little I knew about vehicle repair.

The first step to maintaining a healthy business or car? Find a trusted partner like my dealership employees to help you out.

2 | Check in

While changing my oil and thoroughly inspecting my car, Ted had discovered the broken ball joint and strut. He even showed me a picture of it on his phone (it was bad).

Although my car was driving fine that morning, Ted was able to diagnose a major problem and save me from loads of trouble. What would have happened if I didn’t keep to a routine check-up schedule? This event taught me just how important it is to routinely check up on your business, even if everything seems to be going just fine.

3 | Follow the plan

Ted took the time to explain all the other inspections he completed, and how he would fix the problems I didn’t even know I had. It was a shock and yet it was also a relief to know I was in such good hands. We talked about repair options and were able to get my car back on the road later that week.

Perhaps the most important part about keeping a car (or business) healthy is following the plan you develop with your partner. What if I didn’t trust Ted’s advice and had driven out of the dealership? I might still be stuck on the side of the road, or worse.

By developing trust, checking-in, and following his plan, I was able to drive safely on the road again.

 What will you find under the hood?

Flash forward to the following weekend where I was avoiding potholes everywhere I drove. As I was cautiously swerving around potholes on the way to an early Saturday morning workout class, I noticed the flashing lights of a police car behind me.

The officer approached my window and asked if I knew why he stopped me. I blurted out the story about my surprise and expensive repair bill. He stood there for a minute speechless. Then with a laugh, he said, “Guess you never know what you’re going to find,” and let me go.


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