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Atlantic Racing Scene

Women and Wheels

Those Greasy Grease Monkeys

Getting your car repaired shouldn’t be intimidating just because you wear pumps.

Let’s face it guys, you’re not the only ones who drive cars. Beginning this issue, we move over (just a little) to make room for the fairer sex to have their say about driving cars, and you might be surprised at what some of them have to say. In my inaugural story for this ongoing series, I get my painted fingernails just dirty enough to shed some light on car care for the ladies..

So, it’s time for that summer oil change, but you’ve got the idea that mechanics take advantage when they see a pair of heels walk through the door. The fact is both men and women can receive the wrong diagnosis, but there are a few ways to feel a little more comfortable when walking through the garage doors.

Shop for Shops - Find someone you are comfortable with and who you can start building a relationship. Don’t feel bad going shop to shop until you find that right fit and you trust them.

And, just like hair dressers, word of mouth about a good experience speaks volumes. So try the places you’ve heard positive things about.
Be Clear - “The number one piece of advice I can give anyone when going to a mechanic or any kind of automotive business is to know what you want and be able to clearly convey what you would like done,” states Sarah Bow, a car enthusiast who’s been customizing her Mazda 3 for over six years, and knows her way around a garage. “If you just go in saying ‘there is a strange noise coming from under the hood’ or ‘I need that dent in my bumper fixed’, then you sometimes open yourself up to a situation where you can be taken advantage of because you weren’t specific enough and they ended up doing more to the car than you wanted or that was necessary.”

Ask Questions - Any good shop will let you come back into the garage in order to ask questions about the service. If you don’t know what they’re talking about, ask them to explain each part, what it does and why it needs to be repaired. In most situations you will be able to visually see the problem, and not necessarily have to rely the technician’s word. You should never feel bad about speaking your mind either. If you disagree with something, or feel a certain way, state it. The reaction of the mechanic or service technician will speak volumes, and either build or dislodge trust.

Don’t Wait for A Break: Don’t just bring your vehicle in last minute when something is broken. It opens up an opportunity for a “dirty” mechanic to pressure you into other repairs. It’s also those preventative services where they can see potential pitfalls and will not only let you save up for a repair later on, but allow you the time to take it to the shop you feel most comfortable receiving service at.

Get a Second Opinion -  Finally, if you still feel like you’re being taken for a ride, don’t get the service done. “You can take the information they are giving you and get a second opinion,” she says. “Even do a little research on the Internet. The more information you are armed with, the better.”

One last piece of key car advice:
“Don’t be intimidated! Cars are a lot more simplistic than most women think. I tend to think that most women have very logical minds and that would make the understanding of the workings of cars much easier,” says Bow. “Manicures are over rated so don’t let that stand in your way. Don’t be afraid to get dirty - grease and oil wash off. Just don’t wear good clothes or heels. Although I do have a certain respect for women who can drive like Mario Andretti while wearing four-inch heels.”  

Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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