Auto Service World
News   April 18, 2024   by Adam Malik

New program aims to better educate women about auto repair

Stefanie Bruinsma (centre) speaks to a group of attendees at an AutoCate workshop in Toronto.

A new membership-based platform is looking to change the way women interact with automotive repair services.

AutoCate, founded by Stefanie Bruinsma, a University of Waterloo mechanical engineering graduate and mechanic, connects car owners with trusted auto repair experts and educators, aiming to dismantle the prevalent fraud and discrimination in the sector.

Although AutoCate welcomes all members, its mission is particularly geared towards supporting female car owners, who often face higher charges than men for the same services due to misconceptions about their automotive knowledge.

“The reality is that women are just as capable of understanding their vehicles,” Bruinsma said, emphasizing the platform’s goal to eradicate the gender-based exploitation rampant in the industry.

The announcement about the program from the University of Waterloo noted that it differentiates itself by offering more than just referrals to repair services. When members encounter car-related issues, they receive tailored guidance based on the problem’s urgency. An expert then provides step-by-step advice, empowering car owners to make informed decisions about their vehicles.

Highlighting the necessity of such a service, AutoCate’s research indicates that 27 per cent of auto services recommended to consumers are unnecessary, contributing to an additional $12 billion in annual costs across the U.S. and Canada. The program aims to to instill confidence in consumers, enabling them to discern essential repairs from upsells.

Bruinsma collaborated with a diverse team, including chief technology officer Sirisha Rambhaltla, assistant professor at the University of Waterloo, automotive technicians Emily Pyke and Mary Marshall, and coding specialist Amy Temple. They are supported by a group of “Cates” – women who have recently learned basic auto maintenance skills and share this knowledge through AutoCate workshops.

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1 Comment » for New program aims to better educate women about auto repair
  1. Robert Nurse says:

    In todays world of micro managing and analyzing data seems to be the norm for any industry. We all now use data as a crystal ball to predict our futures especially with the introduction of AI. But is the data being accumulated actually the correct data to benefit consumers. Is it being used for the good of consumers or is it just a means of manipulating people for others to create revenue? AutoCate’s researched data sinuates that there is “27% of auto services recommended to consumers are unnecessary contributing to $12 billion in annual cost across US and Canada.” This data is the exact opposite of any vehicle digital inspection software research. All the VDI software companies are stating we as an industry have billions of dollars of loss revenue leaving our bays. So which one of these two data analytics are correct? Personally I don’t believe either one. Data and AI can be a very useful tool for manufactures and consumers but unfortunately data can also be used to upsell useless software systems and rip off consumers.

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