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Girls Auto Clinic Owner: ‘I Couldn’t Find A Female Mechanic, So we Had To Learn’

Patrice Banks possess a Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, Pa.

Kimberly Paynter/WHYY


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Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Patrice Banks possess a Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, Pa.

Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Patrice Banks is now a mechanic, and a owners of a successful automobile clinic, though there was a time when she avoided holding her possess automobile in for slight maintenance.

“I was fearful we was going to be taken advantage of,” she says. “I was sleepy of feeling infirm and carrying to go speak to a guy.”

Banks, who was operative as an operative during DuPont during a time, suspicion she’d feel some-more gentle with a womanlike technician. There was usually one problem: “I couldn’t find a womanlike mechanic,” she says, “so we had to learn it [myself].”

She enrolled in night classes during a technical school. “I was a usually lady with a garland of boys, 19-year-old boys,” she says. “That was interesting. we was 31.”

Eventually, Banks left her six-figure income as an engineer. She worked in a integrate Philadelphia garages for giveaway while she finished her training, and in 2016 she non-stop a Girls Auto Clinic correct core in Upper Darby, Pa., that is staffed by womanlike mechanics. To make a emporium some-more appealing and available for women, she also non-stop an adjoining manicure-pedicure and blowout salon.

Banks recounts her practice and provides tips for automobile upkeep in her book Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide.

Interview Highlights


Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide

On her preference to span a automobile emporium with a spike salon

Me and my partner that we worked with during DuPont would go to this specific Jiffy Lube on a lunch mangle since there was a spike salon subsequent to it. We’d dump a cars off and we’d travel subsequent doorway and get a nails finished while we waited.

We only suspicion we were a smartest people, since it’s lunch [and] we’re murdering 3 birds: We’re out to lunch, we’re removing a oil altered and we’re removing a nails finished and we’re behind during work all in about 45 mins to an hour. It was fanciful and we would do that each integrate of months when we indispensable a oils changed.

I started meditative about opening this shop. … Women, it’s like a chore, we hatred going in to get a oil altered — it’s always a chore, it’s always a burden. But we demeanour brazen to doing things like removing a nails done. And so we suspicion it would only be lovable and only [be] a cherry on a tip when we tell people, “I have a emporium that caters to women. Full use automobile repair, all womanlike mechanics!” They’re like, “Woah!” I’m like, “And there’s a spike salon there.”

On creation business feel gentle during a emporium

People are entrance in, generally women, with that ensure up. In sequence to get them to trust you, we have to let that ensure down. So No. 1 is only listening to them and respecting their opinion. Looking during them when they’re articulate to you. … Stand in front of them and speak to them, and we make certain they don’t leave but feeling gentle about spending their money.

I wish them to say, “Yes, my automobile needs this. we trust my automobile needs this and this is how many it’s going to cost.” So we take them out to a emporium and we uncover them.

Mechanics do a lot of diagnosing from hearing, seeing, feeling and smelling. So if we can hear, see, feel and smell it, so can you. So I’m going to uncover we what I’m looking for, what I’m feeling for, so we can feel gentle and we know this is what’s going on with [your] car. … It’s only about clarity and communication.

On either your automobile needs unchanging or reward gas

The disproportion in a grades of gas is a heat that a engine browns a gas. So if we have an engine designed to bake 87, that is a unchanging grade, if we put reward gas in it, you’re not doing it any good since a engine is not designed to bake a gas during that temperature. Now, if we have an engine, like a BMW, that’s some-more worldly and engineered, high performance, it’s going to need a high opening gas since a engine was designed to bake it and restrict it during a opposite temperature. …

How we know what form of gas we should have is by looking in your owner’s manual. A lot of times it will be on a gas door. But one of a things we tell women is oppulance cars, if we have a oppulance car, it’s going to be some-more costly for a gas, for a fluids, for a correct — all is going to be some-more costly on it. Keep that in mind. The many critical preference we can make for your automobile is a form of automobile we buy.

Sam Briger and Seth Kelley constructed and edited this talk for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Nicole Cohen blending it for a Web.