Yes She Can! Patrice Banks Fixes Cars Like A Girl & Empowers Other Women To Do The Same
“I would compare [cars] to your body. If you take it to a good mechanic and take care of it like you’re supposed to [meaning] you keep it healthy and maintained, it’s going to love you back, work well and last long. If you’re feeding it bad stuff, it’s going to break down and cost you a lot of money. Then you have to take it to the doctor, or the mechanic, and they have to figure out the diagnosis and how to give it it’s medicine so it can run again,” Banks explained.
Banks says her ultimate goal is to open a full-service repair garage for which she’ll hire female mechanics. The garage will also have a nail salon so that women can get their nails done while they wait. After she opens her garage, Banks plans to expand GAC workshops further than the Philadelphia area.
Why the red heels in the logo?
“When I was in school, I was going part-time in the evenings. I was still working full-time as an engineer, in corporate America. I was wearing heels, slacks and blouses to work every day. I forgot a change of clothes for school in the afternoon and we had to go to lab. We were taking starters out [that day]. [So] I’m underneath this GMC truck, removing a starter, and all you see is my legs coming out and my heels. Somebody snapped a picture of it. (The heels weren’t red. They were black.) I put it on Facebook. It was my most liked picture at that time. Everybody loved it. So, about a year later, when I was thinking of a logo, I thought ‘Everyone loved this picture. Why not?’” Banks said.
Banks says she chose red because it’s powerful, sexy and it stands out.
Though the response to GAC has been overwhelmingly positive since her Washington Post article, a small number of auto technicians, perhaps the ones who take advantage, misunderstand Banks’ intentions.
“They think I’m just trying to say that they take advantage of women and that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m just saying you’re not understanding women’s emotional needs and [that] they feel frustrated because you’re not communicating with them well and it’s probably because you don’t have women working on cars and women working here,” said Banks.
Banks says her goal is to help auto technicians to understand their #1 customer. Women outnumber men when it comes to having driver’s licenses, buying a car and taking their car to the repair shop.
Women also play a huge role in car sales, whether it be modeling next to a car in a commercial or the reason a guy thinks about buying the nicest car on the lot.
“I’m down for working with anyone who has the same vision, which is educating and empowering women and changing this industry, changing how it feels about women and how it looks. I want to see more women, not only working on cars but, [doing everything from] design, manufacturing, sales, and repair. I want to see more women in positions of leadership and influence.”
Fun Fact: Did you know that you don’t have to warm up your car? Sitting in the freezing cold for 15 minutes is a thing of the past. If your car is newer than 1995, warming it up isn’t necessary unless temperatures are in the negative. And even then, you only need to warm it up for about 30 seconds. This was necessary for our parents and their cars. But, thanks to newer technology, things have changed.
What everyone should know about cars: Everyone should know the year, make and model of their car because every car has it’s own maintenance schedule. While one car may need an oil change every 3000 miles, another car may only need an oil change every 10,000 miles. Knowing the year, make and model also helps when it comes to trying to figure out what kind of oil or light bulb you’ll need for minor repairs that you can do yourself.