A woman underneath a car might not be a familiar site in your local mechanic shop, but the truth is – this is America! In 2011! Women can be whatever they set their hearts on, be it reality housewife or a Hemi-specialized car mechanic. Female car mechanics do exist, and even though they aren’t a staple feature yet, studies have shown that women who need car repairs done would feel more comfortable taking their vehicles to a female mechanic. Perhaps that’s because of the fear of being price gouged, or maybe it’s simply because women would feel more comfortable asking 101 remedial questions of another chick.
Whatever the case, some female mechanics have taken this to heart and started their own shops, complete with saucy names and retro fonts. And let’s be honest, if I have the choice to take my car to the corner lube joint, or a woman-owned shop with great graphics, I think it’s pretty easy to guess that slick aesthetics & cute uniforms are going to get my hard-earned dollar.
In an attempt to share their wisdom, female mechanics also hold free workshops for the laywoman to learn more about her ride. Not in a high-school auto shop kind of way, where the football coach tries to teach you to change a tire. These classes are meant to help women feel more empowered in dealing with the maintenance woes that come along with any new-car purchase.
Here are a few pearls of wisdom bestowed upon us by female mechanics who know their cars, and know what a hassle it is to be sized up and taken for a ride:
- Learn about your car – You don’t have to get an advanced degree, but at least get the 101 stuff down. CarWoo! is helping you out on that order by presenting our series on car maintenance, so start studying. You’re welcome.
- Don’t Panic – Much like the gas station when fuel kicks it up another quarter, people rush in to the mechanic’s shop frenzied when something is wrong and little Johnny has to be at his chess lesson. Female mechanics advise women to not make themselves targets for getting bilked by taking a chill, understanding their quote (which they get in writing, of course), and encouraging them to take their vehicle to another shop if they feel uncomfortable with their treatment or the cost of their repairs. Remember – car repair is a service, just like a massage or a pedicure. You don’t like the service, you don’t stick around.
- Read Your Manual – That sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many people can’t find the button that pops their hood. For shame! Bust out the manual for fun facts, as well as advice on what specific kind of parts you need to buy (hint: not always the expensive ones your mechanic might suggest), and how often those parts may need to be replaced.
- Be Aware – Be self-assured when you walk into the shop. If you don’t feel that way, then just fake it ‘til you make it. Ask to see what’s broken on the car before the work is done, that way you’ll at least be able to tell that it’s been replaced. And most of all, if you feel like you’re being snowed, speak up. Even if the mechanic is charging a fair price, he won’t mind carefully walking you through a breakdown of the charges.