Girls Auto Clinic: Educating and Empowering Women, One Car At a Time

How Patrice Banks turned a frustrating, costly experience into a movement

Patrice Banks (Image:

Still, she often encountered people who didn’t want a new mechanic —and a woman, at that—working on their cars. So, Banks decided to take another big leap: she sold her late model car and bought a “hoopty” on Craigslist as a fixer-upper to put her skills to the test.

She says the decision was an easy one for her, saying, “it just made sense.”

Banks was determined not to just let her vision for Girls Auto Clinic lie dormant. She started conducting free, monthly auto workshops for local women in the area. When asked why she offers them for free, she told me the education component of GAC is one of her highest priorities and is something she is fiercely passionate about.

During those workshops, Banks creates a small, welcoming experience for attendees, with the expressed intention of helping women feel comfortable working on their own cars – becoming what she likes to call, SheCanics.

That’s right, ladies – you learn how to do some of the more basic maintenance yourself. All workshops are interactive and each woman learns on her own car.

The workshops have been so successful, that they’ve earned GAC local media attention and sponsorships from empowering organizations like the Girl Scouts.

Banks uses visual presentations to demonstrate how car parts should look and explains how important it is for everyone to know their VIN number, proper amount of tire pressure and oil grade. She also provides valuable insight on how to handle the dreaded “upsell” at auto repair shops.

And while all vehicle maintenance shouldn’t be DIY, Banks’ main goal is to empower women to feel confident about caring for their cars as they do their own bodies and understanding their cars just as much (or more) as her male counterparts.

But, if you’re not in the area where she conducts her free monthly workshops, Banks has written a book called the Girls Auto Clinic Glovebox Guide. The book provides valuable information, full of pictures and instructions, helping you answer the questions: How can I tell if I need brakes?  How often am I supposed to change my air filter?  What does that light on my dashboard mean? What should I do if my car overheats?

Ever the innovative, enterprising entrepreneur, Banks has a larger goal of opening her own brick and mortar shop and plans to make history by opening up a full service auto repair shop catering women in service and in style, a first of its kind. She’s recently launched a crowdfunding campaign, that’s steadily gaining traction,  to educate and inspire others to invest in the dream.

For more information on how you can support the Girls Auto Clinic shop, visit here.

Courtney Herring is the founder of The Champ Media Agency and a consulting entreproducer dedicated to helping time-starved entrepreneurs create effective content strategy to nurture inspired and engaged online communities. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.


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