When I see your social media posts recounting horrible vehicle repair experiences, where you’re sure they overcharged you for a problem they didn’t even fix, I feel your anger and disappointment.
When I hear you say, “I don’t like bringing my car to the mechanic because I don’t know when they are taking advantage of me,” I cringe.
When you tell me that the repair shop was pressuring you to approve a repair and you weren’t sure you really needed it, but now you don’t know what to do. I don’t blame you for shedding tears over it.
When you say, “I don’t like going to the auto repair shop because I feel like they treat me differently because I’m a woman,” it really frustrates me to hear that.
Ladies, we should not be having these experiences. We should certainly not be having them just because we are women. We should not be worried about being overcharged, about paying for an unnecessary repair, or being taken advantage of because we are women. We should not put our wallet, our safety, or the safety of our family in a compromising position because auto repair is a man’s world and we are women. We should not be broken down on the side of the road because, while we knew something wasn’t quite right, we dreaded bringing the vehicle in to be looked over. It’s uncalled for.
Ladies, you deserve respect by everyone – including the man (or woman) who is helping you keep your vehicle safe and reliable.
Men, women deserve your respect. So, respect her. Even if you don’t know her, respect her, You might be the only man in her life that has ever shown her what a gentleman is.
Before becoming a mechanic’s wife, that was me. I was that woman who called Dad every time her car made a noise because she was scared and didn’t know what to do. I was that woman who handed her cell phone over to the mechanic, daddy on the other end, because she couldn’t understand what he was talking about. Why must the mechanic speak Man? Why can’t he just speak Human? I’m grateful to my dad for filling the gap between me and the auto repair shop, but do you know what? My dad isn’t a mechanic. He worked in insurance sales. He may have tinkered with cars in the driveway here and there in the 1970’s, but when it came to auto repair, he mainly relied on life experience.
Now that I am a mechanic’s wife, I have a different perspective. I have the perspective that no one should ever feel like they are being overcharged, taken advantage of, or talked over, under, or down to.
Women – while you are the most vulnerable to feeling this way, you are not alone. A lot of men whose father’s didn’t tinker in the driveway with them aren’t confident in understanding mechanic talk. Even if they did have those kinds of father’s, they may have learned a thing or two that is incorrect. Whether you are a man or woman or teenager who’s just gotten their driver’s license and first car, you should be treated right by your mechanic.You should be and you can be.
Ladies, stop waiting until you feel like your vehicle is going to break down before you finally relent and start typing “auto repair near me” into Google. The right man is out there waiting to treat you and your vehicle right. Don’t wait until your car is about to give up on you. That’s like being in labor and not going to the hospital or birthing center until you are ready to push. You don’t want to have that baby in the passenger seat of a car! The doctor or midwife wants to walk with you throughout the process of your pregnancy. They want to labor with you from the start – not just when you are ready to push. Then, all you have to focus on is your beautiful family.
There’s a mechanic out there ready to use plain English, to take the time necessary to discuss your options until you understand what is happening with your vehicle.
There’s a mechanic who’s not interested in just telling you what’s wrong, he will gladly show you.
There’s a mechanic who wants to use his expertise, time, and resources to serve you to his fullest.
There’s an auto repair shop who will give you a clear honest answer about what is wrong with your vehicle, a reliable budget estimate of the cost of repair, and honest advice about how long they would or wouldn’t let their mom drive a car in that condition.
Talk to friends, talk to family, check out the article Six Qualities to Look for in An Auto Mechanic Shop. There is a great auto repair shop out there. Go find it!
In general, the auto repair industry has a bad reputation for treating customers poorly, not communicating well, issuing bills that don’t make sense, and not fixing the problem right the first time. Auto repair is a rough industry (I can tell you honestly from both sides), but I know that there are shops out there ready to build a relationship with you. Look for one with honest communication, quality-focused automotive repair, fairness in practice, and kindness in action. You don’t deserve anything less than that.
You matter and your vehicle matters because you need to get to work, school, church, soccer practice or the retirement home knowing that you can get there safely and reliably. You should be able to look into the face of your mother, husband, child, and friend with a smile because you know that you and your family have been cared for.
The Mechanic’s Wife