Reviewing “Ladies, Start Your Engines,” taught by Lori Johnson. Held at Roseville Chevrolet, August 5.
I don’t consider myself a dainty flower. So when someone invited me to attend a car care clinic taught by a woman especially for women—entitled “Ladies, Start Your Engines”, no less—I thought, “Good grief, will we be working with pink wrenches?” I avoid tool sets that come in pastels. I can’t garden with gloves on because I have to get my hands dirty. And I always figured I’d rather go to a co-ed car care workshop because I just want the facts, and I don’t want to be treated with kid gloves or talked down to. Don’t build something or plan something especially for me just because I’m a girl!
Just treat me like a person and let’s get on with it!
So that’s what I said to Lori after the class, when I admitted that I arrived with low expectations. Her response? “That’s sad, because it’s probably based on the way you’ve been treated.” She was also quick to explain that she stopped teaching co-ed classes because men tended to dominate the discussions while women faded into the background (hm, sound familiar?).
What really works for Ladies, Start Your Engines is Lori herself. She’s not there just to teach a bunch of ladies what’s what. She’s there because she has passion for her craft—and 20 years of experience to back it up. Her passion comes through in straightforward delivery, conversational demonstration, and sporadic moments of nerdy, auto-mechanic insights and humor. I loved it.
And what do you know – it worked on me. Before tonight, I’d already changed a few tires, installed new windshield wipers, and even changed a headlight on my car. But I learned some new stuff thanks to Lori. Like:
• If I take my car in for tire work, I can ask the mechanics to use a torque wrench instead of a power tool on the lug nuts. That way the nuts won’t be sealed with super human strength should I need to change the tire myself.
• Speaking of lug nuts, all it takes it the weight of my dainty self to loosen those things. At Lori’s clinic, everyone took a turn literally stepping up on the wrench to see how it’s done.
• I have an old car. Apparently newer cars can go 7500 miles between oil changes. Ahh, well.
• Did I say I have an old car? Apparently windshield wipers are a lot fancier and easier to install today as well. Ahh, well, again.
• The tire pressure printed on a tire is the max pressure for that tire. You need to check the car’s owner’s manual to find the recommended tire pressure when it’s on your vehicle.
I went in a skeptic, but left feeling pretty smart about car care. Eager to go home and practice changing my tire, check the air pressure on my spare. Because I can. And should.
That’s why I had to fess up to her at the end of class. As we wrapped up our conversation, she said, “Did you notice the sales guys were lurking around during the presentation? They were waiting to hear if I said something wrong.”
But I disagree with Lori on that one. I think they were trying to learn something.