Educate not intimidate. Show and tell. Tell not sell. Service not sales. These are the four philosophies set by her grandfather that Audra Fordin still upholds as the fourth-generation owner and operator at Great Bear Auto Repair in Flushing, New York, 20 years after buying the shop.
As a kid, Audra only wanted to do one thing: work alongside her father and grandfather at Great Bear Auto Repair. While other kids her age spent their weekends playing, she was busy learning how to do wheel alignments in the pit.
“I was one of the guys growing up here and was treated like one of the guys … but not by the customers,” says Audra.
Gallery: How Mechanic and Shop Owner Audra Fordin Has Changed the Perception of Automotive Repair
Instead of looking to her as the authority, despite her credentials as a certified mechanic, the clientele would regularly ask someone else for assistance. It was a disconnect Audra knew she had to address early on, so she took the wheel, took charge, and set a course to pave the way for better communication with her customers.
Fast forward to the present day, the majority of Audra’s patrons are women who like seeing other women working alongside her. “Being a woman in the auto industry is an opportunity to empower other women,” she says. She decided to host a workshop, open the hood, and invite people to come, for free, to see what skills they could take on themselves.
Thus, the Women Auto Know and Drivers Auto Know sites were born to demystify auto repair. By breaking the car into eight essential segments and relating it to things customers could easily understand, Audra’s natural ability to teach kicked in, making those around her feel comfortable with their understanding of their vehicle. She started connecting drivers with trusted auto shops that were focused on education and customer care, sparking a positive change in the community.
“I have been marching this mission for Women Auto Know and proving that this disconnect is repairable,” Audra says. As a professional in her field, she’s made it her duty and responsibility to make sure drivers are empowered to make confident maintenance decisions.
“For four generations, Techron and Havoline have been used at my shop and I’ve recommended them to my customers because I use them in my own cars.” —Audra Fordin
“If you can give people information in a way that they can understand, then it’s like connecting the dots: the light bulbs go off,” she says. “Every driver that comes into my auto shop is empowered with information that they need so that they can make smart decisions about their car.”
Audra knows that informed drivers are safe drivers. “Thirteen percent of accidents that happen on the road are directly related to poor vehicle maintenance, which means you can control that if you have some information,” she says. It’s why it’s never been more important for her to focus on that first philosophical pillar – educate not intimidate.
Techron and Havoline have been long-trusted brands at Great Bear Auto Repair. “For four generations, Techron and Havoline have been used at my shop and I’ve recommended them to my customers because I use them in my own cars,” she says. As a certified mechanic, she knows that Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner is a great way to maintain your fuel and emission system.
Audra’s seen the positive benefits firsthand, which is why she encourages her customers and workshop attendees to use Techron and Havoline products in their vehicles, as well. “By keeping your engine and fuel injectors clean, you actually help your car to run better, you get better performance, and you have better gas mileage.”
To learn more about the benefits of using Techron and Havoline products in your vehicle, visit www.techronclean.com and www.chevronlubricants.com. Want to find a Women Auto Know workshop or trusted auto shop near you? Visit www.womenautoknow.com to become a more empowered driver.