Women are buying nearly half the new cars in the U.S., and outnumber men on American highways, but when it comes to fixing a flat or changing a brake light, many of us find it to be a daunting task. Car repair can be scary for anyone, but with WYSK Audra Fordin in the driver’s seat, more and more women are learning what they “auto” know.
Audra, the owner of Great Bear Auto Repair and Body Shop in NY, and founder of Women AUTO Know, is on a mission to take the fear out of auto repair by educating women about their cars and empowering them to take control of the auto repair experience.
Following in the footsteps of her father, Audra spent most of her childhood in her family’s auto repair shop. “Being a woman in a predominately male industry has always been a challenge, but I was born and bred to be in the automotive industry. Like the movie My Cousin Vinny, my great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles and cousins were all in the auto repair business. I bought the business from my dad in 1998 and became the fourth generation, and first female owner of Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop,” Audra shares on her website.
Of the 800,000 auto repair mechanics across the country, only 1.2% of them are women. Experiencing this imbalance first hand, Audra knew that repair shops could do better to serve female customers. With that in mind, in 2009, she shifted her business philosophy to “tell not sell” and launched Women AUTO Know, to put car maintenance control back in female drivers’ hands.
“Just by showing basic auto maintenance, women better understand and are more confident when bringing their cars in for service, as well as being able to do minor repair themselves like light bulbs and fuses,” said Audra.
In addition to the monthly car maintenance workshops Audra hosts, Women AUTO Know encourages other auto shops to sign a pledge that outlines a code of conduct, signifying a commitment to providing a female friendly environment. By signing up for a free membership on the Women AUTO Know site, drivers can access a database of these female friendly shops, which also includes customer reviews.
Audra is living her dream: she’s a mom, girl scouts leader and business owner, using her skills to educate others, and encouraging the next generation into the auto repair industry.
“With the Women AUTO Know movement, we can empower women everywhere, transform the auto repair industry, and bring it up to the 21st century.”