Some people would rather not think about what’s under the hood of their car, but there are many people that find working on cars enjoyable. For me, I started taking an interest in mechanics after I’d started longing for the cool style of a classic car. What I found out after I’d purchased my ’55 Studebaker, was that I LOVED working in the garage. At the beginning, every task was daunting—there was automotive vocabulary to learn, tools to figure out and so much I didn’t know. But little-by-little, I gained skills and confidence which boosted me to doing larger and more complex jobs.
As I began teaching basic car care classes for ladies in Los Angeles, I’ve been onslaught with ladies asking if there are classes in their own state or area. What is totally awesome, is that I’m far from the only one doing this—anyone claiming they can’t find another lady who loves and works on cars hasn’t looked very hard! To help out other sisters looking for somewhere to start sparking their love of cars and getting a little automotive knowledge, I’ve compiled a list of female automotive classes and events that I know of. These are all very welcoming environments that are meant to be a beginner’s introduction to new skills and areas in the garage, usually low-cost and lasting a couple hours to a full weekend.
Know of something in your area that I missed? Please leave a comment—I will add on to this list!
This March kicked off the first #WomanAndMachine event in San Antonio (with other events happening in Massachusetts and Atlanta), with lady automotive leaders giving workshops and presentations plus spreading a whole lot of good vibes. Led by a quartet of awesome ladies, including Faye Hadley (@pistonsandpixiedust), Alexis Dabilis (@initialdabilis), Karen Sullivan (@ksullivan_gng_mag) and Jasmine Lawrence (@theladygreasemonkey ). They’ve held events for the community offering everything from engine timing to how to get a start in racing all during a full-day extravaganza with lots of classes, cars, ladies and other industry peeps there to aid and encourage you.
Their next event is coming soon! October 7th in Atlanta at Pull-A-Part North Atlanta from 10a-5p. Visit their Instagram page for a registration link, @womanandmachine.
For those who love to get off the pavement, there is plenty to know to keep you safe and capable of having even more fun! Charlene Bower launched the Ladies Offroad Network (@ladiesoffroadnetwork) to join women in the ‘wheeling world and provide opportunities for networking and growth. She hosts a slew of offroad trail trainings and more at stops in numerous states across the country. Classes cover things ranging from how to use a winch to how to plug or change a tire.
Find out more at ladiesoffroadnetwork.com.
These are the classes I launched—and now that I’ve moved to Texas, Megan (@megwithawrench) has taken the reins (plus, I’ll still drop in for a surprise class from time-to-time!) The Automobile Driving Museum is a super welcoming place and extremely supportive of women learning about cars. Car Care 101 is an introduction to cars, maintenance, what’s under the hood, how an engine works and how to be confident in dealing with automotive repair shops. In Car Care 201 we learn the basics of how to deal with common car emergencies, including how to change a tire. Finally, with an opportunity to get a little greasy, Car Care 301 teaches how to properly change oil in your car—a great first hands-on job.
Check the calendar at the Automobile Driving Museum’s website for availability and registration. September’s class is already sold out, so hurry for October registration!
The babes behind Real Deal (@realdealrevolution) are Jessi Combs (@thejessicombs) and Theresa Contreras (@designmuse) and they are aiming to “empower and educate others regarding the positive influences associated with design, speed, being hands-on and grabbing life by the balls!” In addition to holding various workshops around Southern California for everything from welding, custom paint and forging metal you can find them out at events doing mini-classes and demos.
Headed up by Pati Fairchild, instructor of paint and body at El Camino College, this is a few hour, free class held at the college (usually) that spans all sorts of different automotive-related skills. One event may be learning how to weld, another may be learning about suspension, how to metal flake, how to detail a car—the list is endless. These classes are golden opportunities to get your hands dirty, learn some new things and meet some other car-ladies as well!
These events are shared on Facebook via a group dubbed Girls in the Garage.
There’s no better way to learn than to get in there and put your hands to work! Launched this spring, Project Jimmi is the Automobile Driving Museum’s all-ladies restoration project. Until the build is complete, days will be set and women of all skill levels are welcome to take part. Work days will have a learning component, followed by work on the truck.
See more at the build’s Instagram page, @55jimmi, or email MarisolR@theadm.org to join.
After doing a year-long all-female build of a ’57 Chevy pickup dubbed the “Chevy Montage,” with 90 women taking part in the build that unveiled at the SEMA Show in 2017, Bogi’s Garage (@bogisgarage) continues to open its doors and build community while teaching new skills. Currently hosting another Chevy pickup build, @highyellow56, headed by two ladies who helped with the Chevy Montage—there is always something exciting going on here! Weekend-long workshops on custom painting or body work to opportunities to just help out and pick up a wrench for those who want to enter the world of automotive enthusiasts.
Bogi Latiner also owns and operates a full-service auto repair in Phoenix, which happens to have basic under the hood car care classes and is also available to book for groups or events. If you’re looking to become more knowledgable and confident about your everyday car, these are the perfect workshops for you!
View events or reach out to find out more at 180automotive.com.
Photo courtesy of Car Krush
San Antonio, Texas
Faye Hadley (@pistonsandpixiedust) runs a mobile auto repair business in San Antonio and is passionate about sharing her knowledge and empowering her community. Faye is part of the crew who runs #womanandmachine events, plus she holds other classes in her area including a full series on engine building.
*Also stay tuned for more in Texas, as I’ll be starting up classes in my new home-state in 2019!
Nobody rocks it quite like the ladies of Car Krush. In addition to holding car movie nights, block parties and selling some cool t-shirts they also give community car workshops. I hear this year they’ll be embarking on their own car build as well.
Hit them up to see what’s happening @carkrush or CarKrush.com.
Headed up by Alexis Dabilis (@initialdabilis), The Drift Kitchen brings a female-friendly atmosphere and driving instruction to the New England area (they have some cute stickers too). Attending track days can be tons of fun, but its no surprise that some women feel intimidated to show up as a noob. You don’t need a purpose-built car to attend an event, head out and get a handle on executing perfect donuts, figure-8s, and clutchkicking.
Whether its a “Women, Whips & Wine” introduction to cars class or hosting a #womanandmachine event, Jasmine Lawrence is an automotive technician and owner of Steelettos Garage and does what she can to empower other women and educate them about cars.
An automotive garage catered to women, Girls Auto Clinic also holds monthly workshops to get to know more about your car. A female-friendly atmosphere seeking to empower women, drop by or find out what classes they’re offering if you’re in the area.
Pennsylvania & Beyond
Based in Pennsylvania, but traveling to shops, clubs, dealerships & organizations across the country, Lori Johnson teaches women-only hands-on learning courses. Covering all of the topics that general consumers need to know to feel confident around their cars, this is a great introduction to how your car works.
There IS a place to get connected. There ARE plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty and start learning… so what are you waiting for! In fact, there’s even numerous publications dedicated to gearhead gals—I wrote about some of them here. Getting in the garage changed my life & I’m so glad I took the risk—are you ready?
These 13 ladies car training opportunities can’t be the only ones—leave a comment with any that I missed & I’ll continue adding to the list.