This Auto Care Center Inspires ‘Shecanics’

This inspired woman followed her dream, opening an auto care center.

A female car mechanic at work.

(Roman Chazov /

If your eyes glaze over when you look at your car’s engine — especially if you are a woman — this place is for you! The Girls Auto Clinic is devoted to empowering women, employing women “shecanics,” offering repair workshops for clients, and even pampering them while they wait for an oil change.

The Girls Auto Clinic, located in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, is the creation of Patrice Banks. Banks, a former engineer at DuPont, quit her high-paying job to follow a dream, according to Car and Driver

Always intimidated by male mechanics at the local auto shop, she often wondered if she really needed that new air filter they usually insisted on installing. Feeling diminished by her lack of knowledge and low self esteem at the auto shop, she enrolled in a night course to learn about cars.

Female crew of shecanics
Following a dream, Banks quit her day job, became a car mechanic, and hired a female crew that she affectionately calls shecanics. She also empowers her clients by offering free hands-on car workshops every month. “I want women to own their cars, and owning it means knowing it,” Banks told Car and Driver.

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At Girls Auto Clinic, 75 percent of the clientele are women, according to TIME.  And Banks knows that her clientele, who often arrive with kids, yearn for a quiet place to relax comfortably. The waiting room has board games and LEGO for kids, and for self care, a manicure and pedicure salon.

Banks has entered a market that is a man’s world, where only 9.5 percent of mechanics are female, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet she is determined to nourish her female side, sporting red high heels, which is also part of her company’s logo.

The women she hired have experienced struggles and discrimination working in a man’s world, according to TIME, but have found an accepting community in Banks’ garage. 

“What I love about these girls is that they’re really becoming themselves and who they've always wanted to be,” Banks told TIME. “That's what's so important about giving women the safe space to make their contribution.”

Mom mechanics inspire kids to follow their dreams
Some of her mechanics are moms who love bringing their kids to work, hoping to inspire them to also follow their dreams. Proud mechanic Rebecca Schindler said, “The only thing that’s going to stop you, ever, is yourself.”

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Banks and staff of proud shecanics feel like they are not just doing a nine-to-five job, but are part of a community and they enjoy this. After work on Fridays, they often jump onto a car lift and dance up there to disco music before going home. Schindler remarked, “I’ve been waiting so long for something like this to exist.”

For women who are daunted every time their car sputters or stalls, they can feel inspired to know that auto shops are not just a man’s world. In fact, Banks’ clinic has even inspired a pilot TV series called “Patty’s Auto,” according to yahoo!entertainment.

Thanks to Girls Auto Clinic, Banks, and her signature heels, as well as her dedicated team and the positive publicity, more young women may soon feel comfortable doing automotive diagnostics, taking apart a car engine, and dancing atop a car lift!

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