Driving Without Being Taken For a Ride

Monday, August 25, 2014

Picture courtesy of Nordic Motors

Having a great and trustworthy auto-mechanic is something I value very highly for three reasons: 
  1. I am entirely car dependent in my day to day existence.
  2. My car is over a decade old requiring frequent TLC.
  3. I don’t like to get ripped off. 

There are interesting studies done on gender and car servicing, such as those captured in this article for example. These findings align with what I have personally heard anecdotally and what is captured in surveys done on the same topic as well. Basically, women are generally quoted higher up front repair prices and receive worse service than men, but this difference is greatly reduced when women appear to have car knowledge or set clear cost expectations.

So if you don’t mind doing homework on topic such as car radiators and leaking seals, or you are passionate about cars and how they operate you should be all set. In the latter case, please consider becoming a mechanic if you are not already to help even out the current gender gap in this specific trade. If, however, you are like me and prefer to spend your research time on other topics, such as female mechanics in France, you will likely find yourself overpaying at your auto shop.

You could of course move to France. In France there are auto-mechanic shops where all the mechanics are women servicing the vehicles of a predominately female clientele. They allegedly even offer pedicures and massages while you wait, a car service haven! Fantastique pensez-vous pas? I could not find any studies on their pricing but I assume they entered the market to cater to women like me who value not having their gender drive the outcome of the business transaction, and while doing so perhaps also serve their own desire not to deal with a largely male dominated trade.  

Although I am not an advocate for gender segregation as the solution to gender challenges, I think initiatives as this one in France can help facilitate change across an industry. Time will tell I guess! If France is not an option for you just now though, as is the case for me, finding your own local car service haven is gold. The owner of my car service haven and I share a common cultural background and although that certainly bonds us, it is my pure gut feeling that I am being treated fairly that fuels my loyalty. More than fairly in fact!  Recently my car started to make noises that sounded so unhealthy that I took it into the shop although I absolutely could not be without transportation that day and had no luck arranging rides. Explaining my dilemma to the owner he offered his personal car up for the day and I took it. Fantastic indeed!  

Finding a car service haven is not always easy, so when you do, I encourage you to shout it to the world, loudly, to help such places flourish. On that note if you need a good mechanic in the San Francisco Bay Area let me know.

“A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
- Publilius Syrus

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