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Girls Auto Clinic Empowers Female Drivers On And Off The Road

Every year, women spend $200 billion buying and repairing their cars. Despite all that money spent, 77% of women feel misunderstood, mistreated, and even taken advantage of when dealing with repairs and issues. Patrice Banks started Girls Auto Clinic to change that. There, women are the mechanics under the hood and rolling out from beneath a vehicle. 

The Philadelphia-area business is a Black-woman-owned and operated full-service auto repair shop. It’s designed to empower women to purchase and maintain automobiles confidently.

“I know for me, I hated to go get my oil changed. It was never something I looked forward to because I knew I was going to get hit on; it was an uncomfortable lounge, right? They had bad coffee and car magazines,” Banks said in a “Today Show” interview. “I wanted to create an experience that women looked forward to, so they would get their oil changed.” 

Photo Courtesy Girls Auto Clinic  

The idea for Girls Auto Clinic began when Banks, a DuPont engineer, decided to quit her job and enroll as an automotive tech student at Delaware Community College. Soon, she was teaching workshops in Philadelphia. She delivered a TEDx Talk and even wrote a car care book for women. 

She thought that with their staggering buying power and investment, women are an oft-overlooked component of the auto industry.

The next logical step became clear: put those ideals into a brick-and-mortar shop that supports a need in the lives of millions of female drivers.

Photo Courtesy Girls Auto Clinic 

“I made great money [at DuPont], I worked with some great people, but I didn’t feel like I was making a contribution,” Banks told “Forbes.” “I knew that staying in a job like that could be the riskiest thing for me.” 

Photo Courtesy Girls Auto Clinic Repair Center

Today, Girls Auto Clinic isn’t just about car care. It also offers auto tech apprenticeships for aspiring female mechanics and workshops and home video programs for women who want better understanding and even work on their own vehicles. 

“A ‘SheCANic” is what I call my car-savvy ladies. It’s not actually a woman mechanic,” she told the “Today Show.” “What I do with Girls Auto Clinic is I teach women, like, how to take care of their cars, what to do in an emergency, right, [and] how to talk to a mechanic.”  

There’s also a great place to hang out at the clinic for customers waiting on their vehicles: the Clutch Beauty Bar Lounge and Salon, where customers get a free manicure. Customers can also pay for services like pedicures, brow waxes, and facials to help pass the time while cars are worked on.

Photo Courtesy Clutch Beauty Bar by Girls Auto Clinic

“We’re here for women who believe in us and know that we’re doing the right thing and that we’re working hard for them,” Banks said to “Forbes.”

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