Kristen Hall-Geisler and Jody Devere know a thing or two about cars. Well-known, respected members of the car writing community, both offer education and advice to consumers as well as assistance to repair centers directly. With this in mind, the two ladies recently joined forces to share their opinions in interviews presented in partnership with “Compare The Market,” a UK-based comparison website helping consumers to make informed decisions about buying, maintaining, and insuring their automobiles.
What was your first car and what’s the story behind that purchase?
Kristen: The first car I bought was a Ford Escort while I was in college. It was a terrible car. I bought it cheap, but I still had to have a loan -- a process I knew nothing about. I bought it from a private seller, who told me nothing because I didn't know what to ask. It conked out in traffic when it rained, it needed engine repairs every couple of months, and it once stranded my then-boyfriend (now husband) in the dark in a Florida swamp. I learned a lot the hard way with that car, which I sold on to the next poor sucker before graduating.
Jody: My first car was a bright orange Volkswagen Beetle. The story behind the purchase was simple. I was a young wife and went with my husband and the salesman only talked to my husband, even though the car was for me!
Have you got one car-buying tip for women?
Jody: Do your homework! There are many resources online to help prepare you to get the best deal not only on the price of the vehicle but also on the financing terms. Know your credit score and I suggest getting pre-approved for a car loan of your choosing from your own credit union or bank prior to the dealership.
Kristen: My one car-buying tip for women is to use their comparison shopping prowess for car buying. We spend hours looking at purses online before we buy the one that fits our needs, and we try on 30 pairs of jeans before we buy the ones that fit exactly right. We've got practice with this stuff, and yet women often feel like fish out of water at the dealership. We know how to find what's right for us at a price we can live with, and we need to be fearless in bringing that expertise to the dealership.
Pro Tip: Car insurance comparison sites such as Compare The Market are on hand to offer assistance when it comes to making a choice and more information on that particular subject can be found here.)
Earlier this year, researchers from Northwestern University found that auto-repair shops are more likely to overcharge uninformed female shoppers than equally clueless men. What women can do to avoid getting overcharged for car repairs?
Kristen: If women bring even a tiny bit of knowledge to the repair shop with them, they will fare better. Playing dumb and helpless may seem like a good way to get the male mechanics on your side, but research by the Kellogg Business School has shown they'll just take advantage. Looking up your likely automotive problem and having an idea of what it might cost to repair not only gets you a better deal from the mechanic, but if you then ask for a discount, you're more likely to get it. Work the knowledge, ladies.
Jody: Education is the key here. I suggest women attend a basic car care clinic to educate themselves on the basic needs to keep their cars healthy and to understand the basic systems of a vehicle, many of our Certified Female Friendly repair shops hold these clinics around the country. Another great resource is the Car Care Council online interactive Car Care Guide located at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mercury/carcareguide/.
A well-known and respected member of the car writing community, Kristen has been covering all things cars since 2001. She writes profiles, how-tos and reviews of all types of automobile, from super economic electric vehicles to gas guzzling supercars. She is a contributor to the New York Times and online resources including How Stuff Works.
Earlier this year Kristen’s first book, Take the Wheel: A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car Her Own Damn Self, was published, further enhancing her public profile. More information on Kristen and her various works can be found here and her website is located at kristenhallgeisler.com.
As CEO of AskPatty.com, Jody DeVere provides automotive education and advice specifically to women consumers. In addition to this, she offers training and assistance to car dealerships with her primary goal being to promote, mentor and support careers for women in the car industry.
Jody can boast over 25 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur in the sales and marketing arena of the automotive field. A frequent speaker at high-profile events organized by the likes of Mercedes Benz, her wide-ranging knowhow continues to be called upon from all corners of the motoring world.
More information on Jody can be found by visiting jodydevere.com.