German Autowerke’s Emergency Repair Tech Session Tailored For Women
At first glance, this appeared to be a typical Saturday afternoon tech session. But on April 11, a very special event took place. For one thing, the person hosting this tech session was not permitted to join us . Instead, his expert mechanic, Patty Ferron, was getting ready to instruct her first club tech session tailored for women. Several female club members soon arrived and pulled their bimmers into the large open shop area inside of German Autowerkes. We quickly learned this was going to be a hands-on tech session!
We began our session by learning how to remove a wheel on each of our cars. Patty demonstrated how to loosen lug nuts using a foot, not a hand. Since wom ens’ legs are relatively stronger than their arms, this technique proved successful when arms and hands failed, especially when your mechanic has tightened your lug nuts by machine. After we removed our wheels and put on a spare (most were flat or extremely low on air), we had a chance to try tightening our lug nuts by hand. Could we “torque” to 95 lbs.? Our instructor tested each of our lugnuts with a torque wrench. A piece of cake.
Next we took an inventory of our emergency equipment. Flares, first aid kits, flashlights? Tools, spare tires, jacks? The list went on. I flunked this section. Patty explained to us what each item is for, and showed us how and when and where to use it.
Patty has been working on my cars for years. For those of you who haven’t met Patty, she is a petite 5’4″, with a quick smile and an easy laugh. She is one of the finest mechanics I have ever met. Although Michael Cammack (German Autowerke himself) takes full credit for teaching Patty everything she knows, it is Patty’s basic qualities that make her exceptional. Patty has a natural ability to analyze a situation, consider the possibilities, and go for it while making it look so easy! Patty really seemed to enjoy teaching this tech session and made learning how to cope with emergency road crises fun and easy.
Before I knew it, several hours had passed and Patty had taken us through emergency procedures, trouble-shoot ing, checking our tool kits, taking inven tory of our emergency equipment, and answering many questions about what kinds of things we should ask and look for when we get our bimmers serviced. We have replaced spark plugs, changed tires, and barely gotten our hands dirty. We now know what we need to do to make our cars and ourselves more pre pared for those emergencies that always seem to happen when you are alone, in the middle of nowhere, late at night.
I am anxiously awaiting the next tech session for women. Patty has received a lot of calls requesting a variety of topics . I can’t wait to see what she has planned for us. And who knows? Maybe next year the April guest editor will be a woman -watch it Joe Bob!
This article was originally published in the May 1987 edition of Zundfolge