• Molly N.

    This. Thank you.

  • Brigid

    I love this post. I love dooce writing, but nice to hear a new voice from a different, passionate women. More interviews are cool by me!

  • http://bravissimi.blogspot.com jess crawford!

    I love Audra! We have a shop in town (I’ll have to see if they’re on her list!) that has women mechanics and I try to send everybody I know there for that reason. Of course they’re also a great shop with very friendly people — male and female — who never make me feel intimidated. I grew up in a family of mechanics and I STILL don’t know most of this stuff, so on top of the normal embarrassment you feel about not knowing these things, I also feel guilty that I never learned! So thanks to Audra from sheepish people like me.

  • Elizabeth B

    This is soooo important – thank you for posting this! When I was divorced I found out exactly how much I don’t know about cars, but I’m lucky that I have a brother who is a mechanic. When he’s working on a car for anyone in the family he loves it when they stay and talk to him so he can teach them stuff, so the last time I took my car to him I stayed and he let me help, and I learned stuff for hours and hours (it was awesome), but it was just a drop in the bucket and I’m still intimidated going into any other shop. And I must say it’s not just women; it can be just as intimidating – or even more so – for a guy who doesn’t know anything about cars because they feel like they should know that stuff somehow, even if nobody taught them. My husband and son both hate going into shops because of that.

  • Heather Armstrong

    That’s a great point about men and well put. I love how she says it should be a topic of conversation for the *whole* family. Eventually my girls (ACK) will be driving and they need to know so much to stay safe.

  • americanrecluse

    I stopped halfway through this post, registered for her website, searched for the magnificent shop in the town where I used to live (which keeps thank you letters – many written by women – on the walls of their shop), then added them and wrote a review.

    I think this is awesome and as a lover of cars who wanted to be a mechanic, I’m kind of jealous of Audra.

  • Michael Mathews

    I worked in an auto parts store years ago, but a lot has changed and I am starting to feel intimidated at getting a newer car repaired.
    I think the best advice is to learn about your car: really get to know it and check it regularly. Most things give warning signs before they fail.

  • 2sp

    This is really a great idea and will help so many people. It took me a long time to find a trustworthy shop that cares enough to explain what’s going on in a way I understand–I’m lucky to have learned a lot from them, and I feel far more confident on the road. I’m going to ask them to take the pledge. Way to go Audra and thanks, Heather.

  • Heather Armstrong

    This is so awesome. I really hope she reads this comment.

  • adriana

    my uncle has been a mechanic ever since he came to this country more than 40 years ago and has been the proud owner of his very own successful shop for 19 years. his shop is immaculate, he’s very personable and amiable, and the most honest and straight-forth mechanic you’d ever meet. but he’s as old school as they get and could benefit from something like this. i’m sending it to him now. thanks for sharing heather and audra!

  • http://www.yourfridayafternoondistraction.com/ Joanne z Filmlady

    When I was a lot younger, I had a dream of setting up a national chain of women-owned-and-operated auto repair shops… specifically for women drivers who are afraid to deal with male mechanics. But I didn’t have the auto-repair experience I’d need to make it work properly, so I moved on to projects that help people in a different way (health-related, instead). Audra is as driven in her field as I am in mine. Audra, you’re AWESOME! Drive on!

  • KR

    Great story, great project. Thank you for sharing Audra’s story with us!

  • Women Auto Know

    Hi Elizabeth, it’s so important for us to want to learn. If we learn, we will feel empowered and more comfortable and confident. It’s great that you stay and listen to your brother. I’m sure he really appreciates the fact that you want to learn.

    It’s true that men can feel just as intimidated. We encourage everyone to learn about their cars! Thanks for reading and hope you signed up to be a member. Guys can also sign up!

  • Women Auto Know

    Great to hear this!! That shop sounds awesome and we’d love to see them take the pledge. Don’t be jealous–I’m sure you’re doing great things. You can always keep learning. It’s so fun to learn when it’s something you’re passionate about. Thanks for all your kind words and hope to see you join us over on twitter and/or Facebook!

  • Women Auto Know

    Thank you so much! It’s through your type of enthusiasm that gets us moving along. Having your shop take the pledge is great and we hope you’ll also leave a review too. Take care.

  • Elizabeth B

    Thanks Audra, I just signed up!

  • Mrs. Beasley

    Ms. Heather, could you please help Audra with her website? As a fellow residents of Queens, NY, I don’t have a car, but I wanted to encourage family members to get their mechanics/shops on board and ask them to take the pledge. I don’t know that my elderly parents could navigate the website successfully… I will try to walk them through it, but I’m not sure even I get it. When a visitor to Ms. Audra’s site registers a shop and a review, is the shop notified? How do we get them to take the pledge, besides, of course, showing up in person? With thanks to both of you fabulous women for all that you do!

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  • chinchillamagic

    Really, Heather, all breathless over this Amex/Great Bear PR stunt? “…too many women are intimidated to step foot into an auto repair shop.
    That intimidation in turn leads to roadside breakdowns, accidents,
    injuries, and preventable deaths.” Evidence for any of this? I didn’t think so. I don’t know any women who are intimidated by a garage or, even more absurd, allow their cars to fall into dangerous disrepair because they are turned into jelly at the prospect of speaking to a mechanic. We females have to deal with men in a wide variety of circumstances every day–and we do. Please don’t portray women as little wusses who scared of talking to a man at a retail business just because he has grease on his hands. It’s insulting. As for Audra’s deal–I don’t want to know about how my car works any more than I want to know how my furnace or my computer works. I don’t have the time or the interest. I just want someone competent and honest to call upon when they need fixing. Maybe Audra can work on getting rid of the thieves that are rampant in her industry–that’s the real problem with auto repair.

  • EarlGreyHot

    Ah. The great »I’ve never experienced that, so it can’t be true«-attack. So convincing.

    There was no portraying of women as »wusses«. They simply acknowledge the fact that women (and men) have very different comfort levels in regards of dealing with men, and men in such a rather male-dominated sort of industry in particular. it’s not simply a retail business. It’s great that you know no such discomfort, and you know what? I have no problem with it either. But I do know women/people who at least delay going to a shop, because they don’t want to be taken advantage of.

    A car also doesn’t have to be in dangerous disrepair to be not safe to drive with. Tires in particular are often neglected, and then you get a blowout on the highway or simply keep sliding when you break on wet asphalt. Don’t try telling me no accidents and deaths are caused by things like this.

    I’m not sure why you pride yourself on not wanting to know about this, because that stuff is just as important and basic as other measure you take in your house for example, or about your general health. You’re not saying »I don’t brush my teeth because my body should have made them strong enough to get by without it«.

    The funny thing is, it looks like you got all up in arms about assumptions you made about her goals, and didn’t actually take them in. Because in your last paragraph you say:
    »I just want someone competent and honest to call upon when they need fixing. Maybe Audra can work on getting rid of the thieves that are rampant in her industry–that’s the real problem with auto repair.«

    And that’s pretty much what she’s going for.

  • Kelly F.

    Dear Heather, I’ve been reading your website for years and this is my first comment. I am really moved by this post, and so grateful for what Audra is doing and that you posted her story. I have had some awful experiences with auto mechanics and repair shops. People who talk down to me or lose patience when I’m trying to understand their complicated explanations. When I was 18, a mechanic told me “don’t worry your pretty little head, honey” about an engine problem they were going to fix. The problem was never fixed properly, but I was so uspet to be treated that way that I never returned! And, so glad to know to know about “fix-a-flat” in a can! Thank you both very very much!

  • Heather

    I am feeling very lucky right now. Growing up my dad had me in the garage with him and when I started driving he insisted that I know certain things, like how to change oil, change break pads, a tire. He taught me what a car acts and sounds like when the fuel filter is bad, or the starter is going. My now ex-husband took me out in the snow and made situations for me that I had to get out of. It taught me how to drive in any weather and I feel confidant driving in all the different conditions Michigan has to offer. I work with attorneys and most of them would have no idea what to do if their car had an issue, that also goes for house repairs. I am lucky to have my dad, he taught me so much. As a single mom and a home owner, so much of it comes in handy. I can fix so many things on my own or at least know what is wrong so I can have someone else fix it. This is a wonderful thing that Audra is doing. I am going to share this site with many. Thanks for sharing Heather (and American Express).

  • Lisa Jetonne

    A worthy mission, and a brilliant concept. My husband is a tire sales manager for a national company, his second career after one spent on the repair/engine building side, and it’s truly astonishing how many people (men and women both) are so overwhelmed by the complexity of new cars that they overlook basic preventive care. I do wish the website was more streamlined and friendly. It reminds me of an auto-parts shop program…which is maybe not the best face, considering the mission. I’m far more web-savvy than most of my female friends, but (ironically), trying to navigate it felt a bit like opening the hood of my car…discouraging. Looking forward to good things from Audra and her project, and wishing her the best.

  • LaShaune DeJean

    I love Audra. She worked on my car years and years ago when I lived in Queens. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to auto repair and doesn’t make you feel stupid when you ask questions. Great Bear is a fantastic place and I’m super delighted to see this post. Just freaking AWESOME!

  • Women Auto Know

    We love you, Jess! Definitely see if your shop in town is involved. If not, tell them to be! In fact, if you send us your address at mary@womenautoknow.com; we’ll send you some postcards and stickers. Bring one into your shop, and tell them to Take the Pledge!

  • Women Auto Know

    Good On You!!

  • Women Auto Know

    Thanks, LaShaune!

  • Women Auto Know

    We’re gettin’ there! Your feedback is greatly appreciated! Please send to mary@womenautoknow.com Thanks, again!

  • Women Auto Know

    Hi Kelly, thank you so much for your input. I’m sure everyone understands that feeling we get from being talked to in a condescending manner. It’s only fair that we have our questions answered if we are paying for service. I’m glad that you didn’t return to a place that did not treat you respectfully. Have you found a auto shop that you are loyal to yet? We’d love to know about your experiences–good or bad on our site!