I have the most epic car. I’m not sure when I first started to crave a Mini Cooper, but it may have had something to do with Charlize Theron’s moves in the Italian Job remake. Mine is blue though, and the roof comes down. Epic.
It has one small problem though. Whenever I sit in it these days, on goes the warning light, and ‘ding’ shouts the alarm. My car needs a service. Of course, I know the phone number of the service centre, there is a really nice lounge there to wait in, and the coffee machine makes a great flat white (this is Mini/BMW, after all). They’ll even give me a wifi code on arrival. But I procrastinate.
I cross my fingers whenever I see a family sitting on the edge of the hard shoulder, awaiting a breakdown truck. I’m not a feeble female; I’m good with a drill, I can wield a lawnmower more-or-less safely, and I’m the go-to girl for flat pack furniture in our house. But that time I burst a tyre on a kerb at the service station – well, let’s just say I did women drivers everywhere no favours as I begged for help in McDonald’s on the A12.
I’m not alone, it seems, in my lack of car know-how. Three quarters of women admit that they don’t check their cars before winter* – and the increased likelihood of mechanical failure – sets in. Mostly, they say it’s because they don’t know how, and 21% even wouldn’t be able to tell if their oil was low. Cue another flasing light on my dashboard – I do know that, but I’m not sure I’d be able to undertake any procedure which would successfully extinguish it.
Which is why, on Monday 12 October, I’ll be spending the evening with Halfords, at a free Winter Motor Workshop – for women only. Yes, I’ll be able to admit my auto-inadequacy in front of lots of like-minded women, none of whom will roll their eyes, and all of whom will gush: “Oooh me too,” and “No! I had no idea what that twiddly thing was for, either!”
I’m being flippant of course, and laughing at myself as much as anything. My lack of mechanical expertise isn’t shared by all women, but it does leave me feeling a bit reliant on others – not a feeling I enjoy, and one which I’m sure costs me more money than it needs to.
Racing fan Jodie Kidd is backing the initiative being run on Monday evening at 420 of Halfords stores, where women will learn how to check oil, wiper blades and lights, as well as gleaning tips from the experts on car maintenance throughout the winter months. Jodie says:
My love of cars and driving is no secret, and over my years of racing I’ve learnt the mechanics of a car – I think it is so important for women to know how to maintain their cars and to understand what’s going on beneath the bonnet.
So will you join me on Monday? Book your free place at a Women’s Winter Motor Workshop here. Halfords also holds free Kids’ Bike Workshops, which have been attended by 62,000 children and their parents, as well as free Women’s Bike Workshops which were attended by 2,500 women.
*Disclosure: this post is in partnership with Halfords. Research was conducted on behalf of Halfords.