Image: Thom Carroll/ Philly Voice
Imagine an all female auto clinic where you can get your hair and nails done while your car is being serviced. Patrice Banks founded the Girls Auto Clinic in Philadelphia in 2013, and it is the only auto repair shop of its kind. During an Interview with The Delaware County Daily Times, Banks shared that the Girls Auto Clinic is “not an automotive company, [it’s] a female empowerment company.”
The harsh truth about the automotive industry is that women often get ripped off. They go in to get an oil change, and are talked into hundreds of dollars of repairs that their car may not even need. RepairPal did a survey in 2013 on car owners and leasers. They found that 77 percent of surveyors reported, “mechanics are more likely to sell women unnecessary repairs, and 66 percent believed that mechanics charge women more than men for the same services.”
Not only are women forced to pay more, but they often feel disrespected by male mechanics. Male mechanics often ask women to seek advice from their boyfriends and fathers making them feel inadequate to hold knowledge on their cars.
Patrice Banks wanted to change the automotive industry and so she quit her job of twelve years, as an engineer at a fortune 500 Company. Banks started to take night classes on automotive technology. Many repair shops refused to hire her, even though she was willing to work for free. Her goal is to help women escape the mistreatment and frustration that women face by male mechanics.
The Girl’s Auto Clinic only has mechanics you can trust – women. The clinic provides a safe space where they can learn about their cars and the automotive industry.
So an all female auto clinic is awesome, but what about every other female who doesn’t live in Philadelphia? Banks hosts free workshops teaching women basic car care, so they feel comfortable negotiating and asking questions with mechanics and salesmen. Therefore they can take the skills they have learned and use them anywhere. Then women can share the skills learned with other women.
Women are 51% of drivers out on the road, and according to a consumer report done by WomenDrivers, they spend 200 billion on new cars, and repairs. Patrice Banks is breaking down barriers, and giving women a platform to stand up for themselves. She is taking a situation that is typically stressful for women, and making it comfortable and empowering.
To top it all off, the auto clinic has a hair and nail salon. It is called Clutch Beauty Bar and it offers blowouts, manicures, and pedicures. Not only are you leaving the shop informed, you are leaving feeling relaxed and refreshed. Hair, nails, and female empowerment? Sign me up!