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    Ask Wanda: A New Q&A Series Unearthing Car Service Insights

    We all wish we had a friend or relative who was an expert on car maintenance and service to help us when something goes wrong. Luckily for us (and you) we have Wanda. Wanda Cockrell is the Fixed Operations Director at the Ourisman Automotive Group and oversees the service operations of over 13 dealerships in the DMV area.

    Wanda is a 30 year veteran of the auto service industry and she’s here for a new monthly blog series called “Ask Wanda” where we will unpack your most burning questions about car service and maintenance, learn tips and tricks to make owning a car easier, and get an exclusive peek behind the curtain at our dealership service centers.

    To kick us off, we decided to get to know Wanda a little better and talk about what car owners should be thinking about heading into the winter season when more folks are opting for road trips over air travel.

    So, as our resident expert we’d love to get to know you a little better. Tell us about yourself!

    Well, I can tell you I definitely have an OCD bend to me! My very first job was in landscaping and that’s where I learned of my love of cutting grass. It’s just part of my personality, especially since patience is not one of my best virtues. I love being able to see the immediate outcome of my actions, and cutting the grass is such a cathartic way to do that. I joke all of the time with my wife that my retirement schedule will include cutting the grass everyday.

    Really, cutting grass! I actually agree, cutting the grass is one of those tasks that seems grueling but I totally understand the dads out there that are always mowing the lawn because it really can be cathartic.

    Exactly. So after that first job, I ended up getting my Bachelor’s degree from Mary Washington College, and then from there I’ve been in the automotive industry for most of my career. I had a brief stint to try my hand at fast food restaurant management, but I didn’t enjoy that as much.

    I started in customer relations, just making phone calls. That’s where I learned my love of delighting customers. It’s not enough for me to just rectify customer issues and make them whole, I really need to understand what went wrong and why so I can improve our process or create a new one to make sure it never happens again.

    So after getting your degree, what made you decide to get into the auto industry? Something you studied in school?

    My love for cars actually started when I was much younger. Growing up, my Uncle Chuck  was a mechanic and he always came over after his day job to work on my parents cars. Even though he was always working and I’m sure quite tired, he always answered my seemingly never-ending questions and his patience and willingness to help me learn I think instilled in me a natural understanding, familiarity with cars.

    It made it easy for me to focus on the service and fixed operations side when I got into the business. Fast forward to now, managing the Fixed Operations side of the business, I’m in charge of managing everything on the side of the house that has to do with service, repair, and parts – including the parts we sell to outside groups via wholesale.

    Today, I live in the Rockville/Aspen Hill area with my wife and two dogs. We love outdoor activities like hiking and geocaching, and are big fans of the Washington Nationals. My wife is a Ravens fan but I like to just pick a team and root for them each time we watch, so my loyalties aren’t really to one team or another.

    That’s great, I think everyone should have an “Uncle Chuck” that helps foster curiosity and passions when they’re growing up. Switching gears a little (see what I did there), what’s one thing every car owner needs to know heading into the winter season?

    This is a tough one. I think one big thing I wish every car owner knew heading into the wintery season is that AC isn’t just for summer! Folks often don’t realize that one of the key functions of their “AC” is actually conditioning the air and removing excess moisture from it. In the summer, that’s why you see water dripping from your car sometimes. In the winter, however, that “conditioning” function becomes even more important when defogging your windshield.

    It doesn’t mean the air is going to be cold, necessarily, it just means your car is going to take the air through the evaporator to get rid of excess moisture. Yes, the air is drier in the winter usually but anytime you take cold air and turn it to warm air to heat your car, there’s going to be condensation. Some newer cars turn this function on automatically, so don’t override it if you see this happen!

    The other tip that’s kind of adjacent to this is to use fresh air whenever you can, instead of the circulator button. Using fresh air will prevent any kind of mold/mildew and odor from developing in your vents. Sometimes people turn the recirculation function on in the summer to try to cool the air in the car down more quickly, but from a car care perspective it’s better to use fresh air when you can.

    One other tip that is winter weather specific is give your car a few minutes to warm up – particularly if you’re going to run your windshield wipers for frost or snow – you want to let it warm up first. (For more winter weather car tips, check out our holiday road trip checklist!)

    If that rubber is frozen and you turn the wipers on before the car has warmed a little bit, it’s going to deteriorate the wiper rubber much more quickly. You don’t need to wait 10 minutes, but just a few minutes will help a lot.

    Susan Healy
    Susan Healy
    May 3, 2021.
    Verified
    When the "maintenance required" notice appeared on the dashboard, I knew just what to do. I went to carcaretogo.com and made an appointment for my car. It was easy as pie. Next day, a fine young man appeared at my front door at the appointed time, took my car keys, took some pictures of the car, placed a plastic sheet over the driver's side and a paper mat for the floor and off he went. Fifteen minutes later, an email arrived that the car had arrived and was in process. Later, a different young man called to let me know about the work. We spoke and agreed, then signed off. An email invoice arrived, I keyed in my information and it was done. Several hours later, I received another email that the car would arrive at the front door at 6 pm. Sure as rain, he arrived, took some pictures and delivered the car, clean as a whistle. Thanks to you all, my expected time at the mechanic was spent working in the comfort of my Home Sweet Home.
    Meagan Healy
    Meagan Healy
    April 28, 2021.
    Verified
    I haven't been driving much due to the pandemic shutdowns and a back problem, however I knew that I needed my car's air conditioning fixed and I needed new brakes. A friend told me about CarCare To Go. They offer a valet service. So, I thought I would give them a try and I'm really glad I did. Erika with CarCare To Go kept in contact with me throughout the entire process via text and email. She and the team assessed the fixes that needed to happen, provided video and photos of their recommendations and I approved the ones I wanted to address. They fixed them and I had my car delivered back to me, ready to go, safe and clean. They even sanitized the inside of my car for me! What I really liked about this experience was that even though I wasn't face-to-face with them, they were in constant contact with me about the process and my car, they were clear when they provided videos and pictures of the mechanical issues, and I felt really taken care of. This service is definitely one that I will use again. Highly recommend.
    Rick Holder
    Rick Holder
    April 27, 2021.
    Verified
    Tom Tuttle
    Tom Tuttle
    April 22, 2021.
    Verified
    Great experience with this service and very convenient. They picked up my car at my house and dropped it off after the service was complete. Service was great. I would definently use them again.
    Jen Campbell
    Jen Campbell
    April 16, 2021.
    Verified
    CarCare to Go was very convenient!
    Linda Raysor
    Linda Raysor
    April 9, 2021.
    Verified
    Gin Anderson
    Gin Anderson
    March 10, 2021.
    Verified
    This was my first time using CC2G/Ourisman Jeep of Bethesda, and it was a fantastic experience. The online booking and valet service went smoothly, and the work was completed in a timely manner. The best part of the experience was the communication with the service team. I knew going into the appointment I needed significant work done, so I definitely appreciated how straightforward everything was. The written estimate included a detailed breakout of the costs (for both labor and parts), pictures of the relevant parts & info about their functionality, and scaled recommendations about how soon something should be addressed. Everything was very transparent. The service team kept in touch throughout the process. If they said you'd hear from them by a certain time then they actually called you at that time. They also listened and engaged in conversation; they took my preferences and driving habits into account when making recommendations. And the detail was SUPERB! I checked all the nooks and hard to reach spots when my jeep was returned; the engine, under the seats, the air vents, the vanity mirror, even down into the under-floor jack storage - everything was immaculate and gleaming. Work Completed: - new radiator, hoses, & thermostat - replaced rear axel seals - oil change - detail
    Wolf Von Kumberg
    Wolf Von Kumberg
    March 4, 2021.
    Verified
    This is just the best car valet service I have ever used. They pick up the car when promised, return it when agreed and it is clean and shiny. No more having to drive to and wait for service. It could not be easier and the nicest people to deal with. I am happy to give it 5 Stars. Wish it could be more.
    Lindsay Robb
    Lindsay Robb
    February 26, 2021.
    Verified
    Carcaretogo did a wonderful job with taking my Subaru in for an oil change and tire rotation. They have speedy communication and have proven to be a trustworthy company. I was blown away with the free valet service, and the thorough communication I received. I first scheduled a valet service prior to a big snow storm. Since it was storming I decided to change my appointment and did not anticipate it to be an easy ordeal, but I was proven wrong with the ease of changing my appointment and communication on both ends- the valet service and dealership. Thank you for your great customer service!