Patrice Banks helping one woman at a time with auto mechanics

Patrice Banks helping one woman at a time with auto mechanics

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By Tara Woods – The Collegiate Staff

“Girls Auto Clinic: Glove Box Guide” is a must-have book for every person, woman or man, who is car-clueless.

I have always been a “what can I do?” kind of girl. Whether it came to making the first move, planning a trip, or even being stranded on the side of the highway. I hate being helpless, and even worse, not understanding.

When I opened up this book on my 20th birthday my dad beamed at me, and I was a little confused. He told me that now I no longer have to sit and wait around for him whenever my car breaks down.

I started reading that night.  

Patrice Banks, the sassy brunette you see on the cover, was a self proclaimed “auto-airhead,” even though her day job was as a materials engineering consultant for a chemical company. With a degree that not many women have ventured into yet, Banks knew she wanted to do more with her life and wanted to help uplift and empower women.

So, she started asking every woman what she feels most uncomfortable with, and the answer was an overwhelming amount of women saying – cars.

She went back to auto mechanic school at Delaware Technical Community College. Being the only female in the class inspired and motivated her to work even harder. And now she wants more women in the field, even though it might be intimidating.

“Your contribution is needed to make the world a better place,” Banks says. “Your emotional strength, softness, cleverness, are needed. Believe and know that it is for you and you can do it. Ladies, we are so capable. More than we know. Your gut knows it. Your heart knows it. Don’t let people stop you because they didn’t find their passion or they can’t think big like you. Don’t forget what you are here for and your mission. If people give you problems just remember you aren’t here for them. Never lose confidence in yourself. Know – like you know the sun’s going to rise – that you can do it.”

Before she was even out of school, she started hosting “Girls Auto Clinic” workshops, and they have been full ever since.

After working for a shop called “Guy Auto Clinic” for a few years, she opened up Girls Auto Clinic, along with a nail salon and blowout bar –Clutch Beauty Bar– right next door in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. The shop is run by all female mechanics, and Banks hopes her success will inspire more women to join the field.

I think my story inspires people,” Banks said. “Like I say, I was an auto-airhead, and I think that helps a lot of the women who I am trying to reach believe that they can do it too.”

In the first 16 pages of her book, Banks tells the story of how she became a #SheCANic, and directly after that she let’s all of us in on what the hell is going on under the hood of our cars. The book is meant to be kept in the glove box your car, so when your check engine light comes on you know what it means; or if you blow a tire, she can walk you through it.
To beef up on auto knowledge, readers can check out Banks’ book, “Girls Auto Clinic” and visit her blog that is updated regularly with articles and advice about cars.  There is also a community page where readers can post direct questions.

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