This Woman Was Tired of Being an 'Auto Airhead' So She Became a Mechanic

When Patrice Banks brought her car in for an oil change she always felt like she could be scammed as an "auto airhead," not knowing a thing about the mechanics of cars despite making a six-figure salary as an engineer.

"I felt taken advantage of plenty of times by repair shops regardless of size and name. My response to most statements of, 'You need this for your car,' was either a shrug followed by an 'ok' or a 'nope, not doing it.'" Banks writes. "I didn't have a trusted mechanic until I was 28 and even then I shopped around for no logically reason. I just thought they were too expensive."

Banks began looking for female mechanics in the Philadelphia area but when she couldn't find any, she knew it was time to take action. After learning the tricks of the trade while taking night classes in an automotive school, she traded in her job as an engineer for a new position at an auto repair shop.

"I couldn't believe so many women don't know how to do some of this stuff," she said in an interview with "I was in school with 18-year-old boys, not rocket scientists!"

Now Banks operates her own repair shop called the Girls Auto Clinic. "It is my goal to educate you, make you feel more comfortable with your vehicle and be proactive about auto repair and maintenance," she writes on her website adding, "A mechanic that talks like you and thinks like you! Finally!"

The clinic touts itself as a safe, judgment-free space for all car-related questions and plans to offer workshops for sororities, Girl Scout troops, and other groups of girls and women — whom Banks calls "sheCANics."

So find out if you are a #sheCANic with the checklist below:

#sheCANic [she-kan-ik] noun

  1. A female of any age who has mastered the mechanics of “yes I can” and uses them to get to “yes I did.”
  2. She is empowered through awareness, education, and support.
  3. She inspires other women to do the same.
  4. She knows she is smart enough to learn and understand her car as well as her male counterparts do.
  5. She treats her car as she does her own body. 
  6. 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. 

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Photo Credit: Andrew Renneisen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images