Women and cars
I took a road trip this summer, making a full circuit from Florida up to Connecticut and back with stops in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. I decided to take my deceased husband’s truck for the trip, before the bank repossessed it and as a final tribute to our life journey together. I had avoided Jose’s vehicle during his final months and afterward. So for the trip, I knew I should check all the systems before hitting the road; the last thing I wanted was for the truck to overheat in the middle of July.
I worked up the nerve to getting into the truck and then driving the truck to the Auto Train station in Florida an hour away. I still couldn’t bring myself to get intimate with the vehicle- i.e. open the glove box, check the bed or look under the hood. However, after the one hour vehicle primer of driving to the vehicle drop off in Sanford and the 17 hour train ride to Virginia, I had more time to get in sync with the purpose of the trip. I picked up my daughter in DC and we drove to Philadelphia 3 hours away. Still not comfortable with checking her out myself- partly because of my insecurity since Jose had been a mechanic and took care of our vehicles and because of sentiment- I stopped at a Valvoline Quick Lube station in New Jersey.
I was welcomed by a young female technician and immediately I was at ease. I took it as a sign that everything would be okay. I felt more able to be myself and let down my guard- you know that guard that goes up when a women takes her car to the auto mechanic shop.
She was knowledgeable and friendly, but also very honest. I thought based on the maintenance sticker, I needed to change the oil to continue my 1500 mile trip. She advised that my oil was fine and even sold me DEF fluid for the truck at cost once I told her it was our last ride with her.
Recently my niece and daughter had vehicle events, spurred mostly by ignorance of auto maintenance and mechanics. It’s a sad story that many women in relationships rely on men to take care of our vehicles, but when you get stuck in a broken vehicle, you are usually the driver and not with your significant other. So, we all need to be more aware of basic car maintenance and vehicle information. As a mechanical engineer, I know more about cars than most men or women, but still I haven’t had to execute repairs or maintenance myself.
I came across the Girls Auto Clinic and I started reading about the journey of its founder Patrice Banks. She wrote a book that I highly recommend you own for yourself and to gift the women in your life who drive.