Dolf Dickson, owner of the newly opened Cardinal Quick Lube at 1004 West Roundbunch Road in Bridge City, said showing customers the services they need on their vehicles is like educating them and planting a seed.

“We’re very attentive and we make notes on all we do on the vehicle,” Dickson said. “We keep a record of the fluids , we check the tire pressure, we show and tell the customers and let them know what we’ve done and why they need these services.

“Preventive maintenance can save you money. It prolongs the life of the engine. Mileage recommendations really pay off and extends the life of the vehicle.”

Dickson and his employees celebrated the new business from April 28 to May 1 with a grand opening and a ribbon cutting ceremony. There were free drinks and hot dogs, gift bags and customers could register to win prizes.

Dickson compared car maintenance to people visiting their physicians for regular check ups.

Dickson said the most extreme example he ever seen was the owner of a brand new Lincoln Town Car, Presidential Edition, who drove it for 60,000 miles without an oil change. Needless to say, the oil was completely gelled up and wouldn’t pour out. Automatic transmission fluid was poured in the engine and did the trick. Two weeks later, the oil broke up and it could be poured out.

“You have to know what you’re talking about. Know your facts. You don’t want to appear to be a blowhard,” he said.

In addition to Cardinal Quick Lube being a new business, Dickson is also a new business owner.

He was manager of another oil changing business for 21 years. In that time, Dickson said he has seen a tremendous change in vehicle technology.

For instance, engines are more efficient and greener than before. Also, certain vehicles require specific fluids from the maker because they’re patented.

“You have to keep abreast (with the changes). You have to be really attentive when topping of fluids. At first, cars with fuel injection and computers were like $100,000. Now it’s common,” he said.

Dickson joked he has been in the business so long some of his present customers were in car seats when he first met them.

“Opening and owning my own business has always been my dream,” Dickson said. “An employer looks at the business one way and the employees look at it another. It’s a whole different world. You’re neck is out there (as an owner). It’s money out of your pocket and your name is on the check. You have to buy shop insurance and you have to shop around for the best deal.

“You have payroll and inventory. You need enough inventory but you can’t have too much in stock or all your money will go for that. You want to pay your employees well but you have to look out for overtime. You’re responsible for giving the employees correct information and be credible in what you say.”

Overall, it’s been a learning experience for Dickson in developing a business though he’s been in it for all these years.