Friday, July 17, 2009

Introducing the Cheater Bar

So last time Lori introduced one of her favorite tools, the Jump Box. This time I thought I'd introduce one of mine...

<Drum roll please>

...the Cheater Bar!

"What on earth is that?" I can hear you asking yourself, I can almost see the furrowed brows and cocked heads through the computer as I write this. "It looks just like a pipe. What am I supossed to do with it?"

There are probably many things we could come up with to do with it if we got creative... not all of which am I here to endorse (at least not officially!) However, more than a nifty way to protect yourself against unwanted attention, or a handy tool for releasing your aggressions from a bad day on some poor inanimate (please) object... This simple piece of metal pipe is how little people like me get to act like we're VERY VERY strong!

Because as women our stregnth tends to be in our legs not our arms, and using our legs isn't always an option, the Cheater Bar levels the playing field. Simply slip it over the wrench your using and it instantly and dramatically multiplies your stregnth by increasing your leverage. The longer the pipe, the more everage, the stronger you 'become!'
It's simple, it's inexpesive, and it's totally underappreciated.

I have one in my tool box, one in my car and of course one at my house. The Cheater Bar is particularly handy for us ladies when changing a tire on the side of the road. Most places that put on tires use air tools, which means the bolts are *super* tight and often very difficult to get loose with just the tools that your car came with, especially if you live in a wet or snowy climate where rust makes the lugs even more difficult to get loose. One little piece of pipe could mean the difference between sitting and waiting perhaps hours for help, or getting on back on the road to safety.

There are a few companies selling fancy cheater bars online. For example check out these neat extendable lug wrenches at Or you can always go to your local hardware store and buy a piece of pipe like I do - sometimes you can get remenant pieces for free or at least very cheap. And don't worry, no one is gonna blame you if you find another use for it as well. In fact if you do - please share!

Happy wrenching...
The Wrench Wench

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No, see – we *are* the help….

I have to admit that sometimes I like to have fun with the reactions I get from people when they find out I am a mechanic… Is that a bad thing? ;)

Recently one of my customers called me to see if I could come to his rescue… his car stalled and wouldn’t start up again – it was parked at the parking lot at his work – not far from my shop and would I possibly be able to go check it out and see if I could get it fixed without having to get it towed? No problem. From the sounds of the symptoms I was pretty sure I knew what it was and if I was right it was something I could easily fix in the parking lot. He wasn’t going to be there, but the key was there and I could have at it.

I brought Christina (the other female technician that works for me) because we’d had a rough week and I had a hunch that this was gonna be fun… I thought I’d share ;)

We loaded some basic tools and testing equipment and headed on down… to the local fire house.

The guys were hanging out back when we pulled up… all eyes were on us as we got out of the car and walked over to my customers car and got the key. I went over and let them know who we were and what we were doing messing with one of their co-workers cars. They just nodded and stared with furrowed questioning brows. Christina and I got to work. Within minutes three or four more firemen appeared from within the house and made their way over to us… “Excuse us ladies – is your car stuck? You need some help?” We are both in uniform and have a spread of tools in front of us, so I thought it should be pretty obvious, but I turned and smiled – “No, thanks – we’re good. We ARE the help.” And then we watched them back pedal ;)

We went and got the part we needed, leaving them speechless, and then got on with installing it… as I worked we gathered a small crowd around us… they were really nice guys and while they weren’t at all rude or condescending – they were definitely intrigued and curious. The questions while I worked all seemed very skeptical, arms crossed - asking what I was doing… how I knew that was the problem… how long I’ve been a mechanic… how I learned to be a mechanic… where I worked…. And on and on…

When the time came for Christina to turn the key and test if we had fixed the car or not – a hush fell over the crowd. Because of the nature of the repair… it’s normal for it to take a few tries – so of course it looks like I don’t really know what I’m talking about after all. I see some smirks out of the corner of my eye just in time for the engine to right on cue start up and start purring like a kitten.

Immediately the crossed arms drop and the first voice I hear says slowly... “what did you say the name of your shop was again?” I pulled my cards out and passed them around smiling… they invited us in and gave us some freshly brewed ice tea and we all shook hands and smiled and waved as we drove off… Christina and I giggling like school girls to ourselves all the way back to the shop…

There are definitely times I wish that who I am and what I do was more “normal” and accepted… But then it's little moments like this that make all the struggle worthwhile ;)

Happy wrenching...

The Wrench Wench

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Women and Driving from the Radical Wrencher

The other day I was talking to a woman about my classes and she was telling me how she'd like to take it, but she didn't have a car. I hear this a lot because I live in the city, but to be honest...I don't understand it. Most people at some time in their life will own a vehicle and we all ride in them. Why not learn what we can about them?

I think that women often rely on men to repair and take care of their vehicles. Older women tell me they don't need the class because their husbands "do all that". Maybe it's just one more thing that women don't want to have to take on if they don't have to, but I think it's important to at least know enough about your vehicle to make educated decisions about repairs.

I thought for sure that when I started teaching these classes that I would get young women, just out of college, wanting to learn about how to maintain their vehicles. What I've found is that I have a lot of women 50 or older that no longer have a man in their life and want to know how to do things themselves.

Women are still taught very little about their vehicles and expected to call "dad" if there's a problem. Unfortunately "dad" can't help you if you're 500 miles from home. I think it's especially important for women to understand their vehicles from a safety perspective. You never know what that 'Good Samaritan' is going to do when they stop to help.

Bottom line, it doesn't matter if you own a vehicle or not. You probably will one day and I'm sure you ride in them. As a woman you owe it to yourself to take advantage of any knowledge you can learn to empower yourself. Let's not fool ourselves....understanding your vehicle is no more a man's place than cooking in the kitchen is a woman's!

P.S. My dad does all the cooking :)


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Filming with the Radical Wrencher

So last Sunday I packed up some bottled water and snacks and headed out for a day of video shooting. I have to tell you that I have a whole new respect for actors. I don't know how they do it. What seems like such a fun and glamorous job to me is tedious and exhausting at best.

Teaching a class to a group of women wins hands down as opposed to trying to give that same information to a camera lens. Words get jumbled, eyes wander and don't seem to look at the camera, thoughts of how to get my point across in a minute means I forget important's all a huge learning curve.

The funny thing is that I end up loving the end product and the idea that women who can't take my class get a visual of how to do things, like changing a headlight bulb. I'm sure I'll get better at it and maybe even one day I won't dread "shoot day"!

Everyone on the shoot is very encouraging and tells me how good everything looks, but inside I'm thinking I just want this to be over :)

So where can you see these videos you're probably asking? Well, I'm doing them for a new website that will launch in just a couple weeks called It's a great new website that will offer women access to information on health, finance, family, career, cooking, relationships, beauty/fashion, entertainment, DIY and more.

You'll be able to watch my videos, read informative articles from Bogi and ask us all of your car questions. I'm pretty excited for the launch, but you don't have to wait, go visit the site and sign up. There's already a free give-away!