A study published in 2015 in The Telegraph reported that the average woman driver visiting a garage for repairs was charged £45 more than the average male driver. In some parts of the country like Birmingham, women get charged even more.
Your first step — learning to do a few basic jobs yourself
If you want to fight back, there are two things that you need to do. To begin, you need to find good, reliable garages that treat you fairly (garage search services such as whocanfixmycar.com can be invaluable).
Then, you need to start educating yourself in how cars work, and learn a few basic DIY car repair skills. The more familiar you become with the inner workings of your car, the more it will show in the way you talk about cars, and the less ready mechanics at garages will be overcharging you.
What can you learn to do yourself?
Change a flat — Certainly, flats don’t occur as often today as they did before, and tubeless tires can be driven while flat. Nevertheless, learning how to change out a flat is an important part of your education.
You may not actually be able to get it done if the nuts are screwed on too tight. In every other case, however, tire changes are an elementary job. You should also learn how to use a tire pressure gauge while you’re at it. While it won’t be necessary if your car automatically reports tire pressure on a dash readout, it’s good education.
Keep an eye on those fluids — The average car has six different kinds of fluid — power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, engine oil and windshield wiper fluid. It can be dirty work changing out transmission fluid or engine oil. You’ll need to raise the car and crawl under it.
Nevertheless, it’s work that teaches you a lot, and it isn’t complicated. Once you learn how to do it, you’ll should be able to find a good mechanic do it for you if you aren’t interested in the hassle on a regular basis.
Jumpstart your car — Jumpstarting is a very important skill to learn for the times that your car has a dead battery. You need to keep the cables necessary, and you need to know how to connect your car’s battery to the battery of another car.
You simply need to connect the negative terminal of the battery of your car to the negative terminal of the battery on the other car first, and then do likewise with the positive terminals. You should make sure that you read correctly which the positive and negative terminals on the battery are, however, so that you don’t get the wires crossed, a mix-up that could end up in an explosion. Otherwise, it’s elementary, and still an impressive skill to possess.
If you find that you like working on your car, you can actually save significant money. For every oil change that you do yourself, you end up saving £30, for example. Even more importantly, when you learn about your car, it will begin to whet your appetite for more information. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to talk to any garage tech as an equal.
Joe Boyle enjoys writing how-to articles, helping people to save money and accomplish tasks on their own, whether that be car maintenance or DIY jobs around the home.