Auto repair is nothing to fear. So many women are afraid to pop open their hoods. That’s sad, because auto awareness can transform you into a stronger and more resourceful woman. Here are five surprising ways auto awareness made me a better person. Moms will be able to relate with #2.

1. I’ve learned to embrace prevention.

One of the first things I learned when I became a car mechanic? Most car problems are the result of neglect. I’ll demonstrate with an analogy.

Sure, some people are born with medical conditions; but more often, illness is caused by our lifestyle choices. You don’t just “catch” heart disease. It’s the result of eating poorly for years.

The same is true for your car. Your tire isn’t going to “randomly” blow out one day. Blow-outs are a direct consequence of failing to check your tire tread and inflation. If you’re 100% aware of your tire condition, it should never happen.

Preventive auto repair isn’t as simple as getting an oil change or tire rotation every now and then. Your car contains 30,000 parts. It’s a complicated machine that requires maintenance. Look inside your owner’s manual to discover what your car needs to remain in good shape.

Does prevention cost money? Yes! But neglect has a bigger price-tag. The cost of ignoring (COI) a car problem can be steep. I’d rather invest $100-200 on a preventive repair today than risk having to spend $1,000-2,000 on an emergency repair tomorrow. Don’t you agree?

2. I’m a positive role-model for my kids.  

I own and operate Great Bear Auto Repair & Body Shop in Flushing, NY. I’ve seen so many mangled cars over the years. This encourages me to make better driving decisions.

This isn’t about self-interest. It’s about the safety of my children (and anyone else who rides in the passenger seat). When you see cars that look like they were in a demolition derby at your garage every day, it makes you want to drive safe so you don’t end up in a similar situation.

Your driving habits will rub off on your children (for better or worse). You can’t merely say, “Don’t text and drive!” You have to lead by example. You can’t just say, “Focus on the road!” You have to demonstrate what you mean. Words matter, but they aren’t half as important as your actions. If the two aren’t in alignment, your kids won’t hear a word you say.

3. I can keep my cool in emergency situations.

In my experience (and according to research), most car wrecks are a result of human error. That’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s true. Don’t shoot the messenger!

Let’s say a car is going 70 MPH on the Interstate and the driver suddenly slams the brakes. You’re traveling behind them and only have a few seconds to react. What will you do?

  • A: Slam your brakes
  • B: Swerve out of the way
  • C: Slam into them, because you were too busy staring at your smartphone

Obviously “C” isn’t the right decision. Taking your eyes off the road for even a brief moment could cause an accident. At 55 MPH, you travel the length of a football field every 5 seconds.

“A” and “B” depend on the context. If there’s another vehicle tailgating you, it might not be smart to slam your brakes. If there’s not a safety guardrail to prevent you from rolling down a steep hill or mountain, swerving might not be the best option.

This demonstrates why you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you’re not aware, your mind will go to “panic mode” as soon as you end up in an emergency situation. It’s hard to make a good decision when you’re too frazzled to think straight. Concentrate!

4. I’m more patient with the problem solving process.

Auto repair isn’t a cut-and-dry process. I hate when customers call to ask for a price quote, because it’s impossible to provide a price quote before we inspect the vehicle.

“How much money will it cost to fix my overheating engine?” Tough question! That could be caused by a coolant leak, busted thermostat, broken cooling fan, poor airflow in the radiator…

I could continue, but you get the idea. There are several potential causes of this car problem. They all require different parts, repairs, services, man-hours, and etc. The cost will depend on what your car needs (and we can’t know what your car needs until after we inspect it!).

It’s challenging to determine the specific cause of a car problem. We might have to take the car on a test drive and run some diagnostic tests before we can make an educated guess. This process used to drive me crazy, but now I appreciate it. I’ve learned to be patient, whether I’m fixing a car or addressing a personal issue. Success requires time and patience!

5. I don’t need a knight in shining armor to “save” me.

Too many women depend on men. Maybe you have a dad, brother, grandpa, or husband who checks out your car when something goes wrong.

That’s okay, but what do you think will happen if your car breaks down far away from home? Will you have a clue what to do when you’re left to your own devices? If not, that’s bad!

At bare minimum, you should know how to pop open your hood and check your fluids. Performing this basic task once a month will prevent the majority of car problems. Believe me!

Ask one of the “car smart” guys (or gals) in your life to show you where fluids are located. Alternatively, you could find a person-to-person advisor (PPA) at an auto shop near you. They’d be happy to provide you with a quick auto awareness tutorial. It just takes 15 minutes!

Imagine how strong, powerful, and resourceful it would feel to get back on the road yourself. It’s nice to have caring men in your life, but don’t depend on them. That’s too much pressure. You need to become the master of your own automotive universe. Maybe you’ll inspire a friend, sister, or daughter to do the same thing!

Auto repair isn’t so bad, huh? Share this blog with your friends so they can learn how to boost their auto awareness like you. They will appreciate the advice! 

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