#WeSeeYou: Patrice Banks Fixes Cars Like A Girl & Empowers Other Women To Do The Same
Not all guys know cars. But, if you asked them how to change a tire or replace the brake fluid, it’s likely they’ll know how. This isn’t the case for most women, as many of us have been taught to maintain what goes on inside the house, and let the guys take on the outdoor chores. For this reason, women make up more than half of the clientele for automotive technicians.
Patrice Banks, owner of Girls Auto Clinic (GAC), was inspired to create GAC after several negative experiences with auto repairs. Like many women, she felt like she was being taken advantage of because she didn’t know enough about cars to understand whether or not the services being offered to her were necessary. And in some cases, they weren’t.
After paying nearly $1,500 for an auto repair that caused more problems, the former Dupont engineer decided to enroll in the automotive technology program at Delaware Technical Community College. Soon after, she traded in her fairly new car for a “hoopty,” which she purchased on Craigslist for hands-on experience.
“I called myself an ‘auto airhead’. I knew nothing about cars before I started studying and that’s why I got into it. I was tired of being taken advantage of,” Banks shared.
“The first time I changed a headlight in my car, I felt so good. You couldn’t tell me nothing. Like Kanye West, ‘You can’t tell me nothin’. It’s that feeling. It’s very empowering. I want to share it with other women.”
She was inspired by another female mechanic to begin holding workshops for women who are interested in learning valuable car tips. She also wrote “The GAC Glove Box Guide,” which includes photo-illustrated tips on understanding your car.
The Girls Auto Clinic workshop sells out every month in the Philadelphia tri-state area. And the best part, they’re absolutely free.
“I believe in education and everyone should have access to it. They will always be free. So, I don’t make money off them. I sell my books there. But, other than that I don’t make money. So, I’m trying to find a way to monetize it through sponsorships, donations, or grants so that I can start expanding and hiring other female mechanics to host them,” said Banks.
She has coined the term and hashtag #sheCANic, which has many meanings including:
- She treats her car as she does her own body. She does not want to be her own physician. But, she does want to know how to secure her own health and how to prevent sickness and disease.