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5 Things NOT To Do Right After a Car Accident

Posted by admin on March 31st, 2015

Car_accident-thinkstock-57280364-sWe all try to be safe drivers and avoid accidents, but accidents happen. The average American will be involved in a least one car accident in their lifetime. The only way to avoid an accident with 100 percent certainty is to stay off the road, which isn’t a real option for any of us.

The surprising thing is, despite how common accidents are, few people actually know what to do when they happen.  Because of this, even the smartest and most competent drivers often make serious mistakes that have legal implications or hurt their chances of being covered by insurance.

Take a few minutes to learn a few things you should always avoid after any kind of driving accident.

Car_accident-thinkstock-4562529871. Do NOT Leave The Scene Of The Accident

In most situations, leaving the scene of an accident, even a minor one, is illegal. It can be grounds for prosecution as a hit-and-run. If there are injuries, then the penalties for a hit-and-run are much higher. Some states require that drivers stop and render aid to the other driver, and failure to do so is a crime. Your best option is to stay put until law enforcement arrives and offer help in any way that you can.

Car_accident-thinkstock-4565119632. Do NOT Agree Not To Call Authorities

Even when an accident is minor, the drivers should contact law enforcement. Law enforcement can create a record of the accident and provide aid if needed. If the accident is serious, you should call 911 immediately.

Some drivers try to make agreements with one another where they decide not to involve police. They think that because the accident is minor or because there was no serious damage, then law enforcement does not need to be involved. Unfortunately, this is a good way to let insurance companies out of paying for any damages related to this accident. Many times, no accident report means that the insurance company cannot start the claims process because they have no proof of how the damage or injuries occurred.

Additionally, sometimes there is a specific reason that the other driver does not want you to call the police—there may be a warrant out for their arrest or perhaps they are driving without a license or insurance. From a legal perspective, this is definitely the time that you want to call the police. Showing that the other driver didn’t have a license, for example, will likely help you if you should have to take legal action at some point.

When you talk to law enforcement, be sure to give them the complete story. This is the only record of the accident so you want to be sure that it is complete and accurate – just be sure to stick to the facts only, not what you think might havehappened, how you felt or anything else that could be used against you by your insurance company.

Car_accident-thinkstock-1651011383. Do NOT Ignore Injuries

Car accidents are traumatic, and occasionally drivers are so shocked by the entire experience that they forget to stop and realistically evaluate their injuries and their passengers’ injuries. It is always a good idea to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you think you are only bumped and bruised.

It’s possible that what you think is a minor injury is actually a more serious wound. For example, broken ribs and internal bleeding are difficult to detect just by looking at someone, and the pain may not set in immediately. When it comes to an injury, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Car_accident-thinkstock-4530622954. Do NOT Apologize Or Admit Fault

Although it’s natural to want to apologize to the other driver, just don’t. Even your instinctual, heartfelt apology can later be misconstrued to be an admission of fault, which is a good way to give your insurance company reason not to pay your claim.  And if you have any injuries, admitting fault would mean that the other driver has no legal liability to cover possible injury-related costs.  You can tell law enforcement what happened without admitting that the accident was your fault.

This is particularly important when it is unclear whose fault the accident actually was. If you ran a red light while the other driver did nothing wrong, then whether you admit fault or not probably won’t matter much in the long run. But that doesn’t mean you should apologize immediately; stick to the facts. You can find out more about who determines fault in car accidents here.

Car_accident-thinkstock-1775727555. Do NOT Call Your Insurance Company

I know, you’re always told to immediately call your insurance provider following any incident with your vehicle.  But you should actually hold off if it’s an accident.  You may be a bit frazzled and emotional, which could easily cause you to say something which they could use as a reason not to pay your claim.  It’s best to wait till you’re calm, collected and prepared for what to say.

Additionally, you’ll want to wait until after you’ve been examined by a doctor.  If there are serious injuries of any kind, you may even want to speak to a lawyer before you call.  The first conversation you have with your insurance provider is crucial in determining what happens next, so it’s always better to wait until you have a full picture of the situation.

It’s hard to have the presence of mind to make the right calls after a car accident.  Even if you’re OK, the experience is scary.  So it’s crucial to be very familiar with the recommended process so that you don’t accidentally do or say something that could make the situation even worse than it already is.


Posted by admin on July 7th, 2014

I have to admit that when it came to the newest marketing tool of wrapping your vehicle, I was extremely skeptical.  Having dealt with vinyl decals for years in the collision industry, I was well aware of the difficulty of installation and removal.  This,  as well as the damage they can do to the finish when they are removed, made me very wary and not one to either do it, or recommend it.

One of my good friends, Mike Bothwell, owns Compelling Signs in Tucker, GA, and was well aware of my cynicism.  He contacted me recently regarding another matter, and mentioned that he was going to redo the wrap on his car.  I was intrigued.  He invited me to his shop to observe and I was excited to participate and learn more.

Mike had an American flag on the hood of his Acura that had been installed about two years ago.  After some discussion about the new design, we were going to remove the old and begin the new.  the new design was a carbon fiber looking material for the hood, top, and rear deck.  The sides are going to be matte black with his company logo overlayed.

The first step of removing the existing wrap had me on my toes, but all it took was peeling back a corner and then carefully pulling the rest off the hood.  What remained was some of the adhesive used to insure the edges remained stuck.  This residue was cleaned with a citrus solution and them wiped down with alcohol.  The revealed hood was pristine.  It took very little time, and if he were not installing a new wrap, the vehicle could continue it’s life as though it has never been covered.  I was delighted, and somewhat amazed, since this same procedure with old vinyl would have been a long, frustrating process.

Since the new hood piece was not going to have any graphics, the 3M material could be taken straight from the roll, cut to make sure it covered, and the new installation began.  Mike’s tech, Jason, took the lead in the project.  We folded the mater back on itself and began to remove the backing.  Once this was done, the real artistry began.

The new materials are amazing.  They can stretch and be heated to reduce if you go too far.  Rather than being stuck when a bubble or wrinkle appears. you can just pull it up and pull at that area and the problem disappears.  This is plastic rather than vinyl, so it has a memory and is much more resilient and forgiving.  To Mike and Jason’s credit, they were extremely patient with me.  I had a plethora or questions they answered with aplomb and never got frustrated.  The materials used are extremely durable, and when installed correctly will not peel off in traffic or weather, and will last 5-7 years depending upon which material you choose.  If you use the 3M product, it is warranted by the manufacturer.

I learned that the only limitation to a wrap is your imagination.  Most of them are “printable”, which means that whatever you are promoting can be put on the material before it is installed on the vehicle.  As you can see from the pictures below, the hood on the Acura was just plain carbon fiber, while the Ale Yeah wrap, for which Compelling Signs won a national award, is very detailed.

This technology has come a long way from putting magnetic signs on your vehicle, and it much more eye catching.  The cost to completely wrap a vehicle can range from $2000-$4000 and would constitute a big part of your marketing budget, but with the right design and proper installation, would certainly enhance your image.

However, commercial reasons are not the only applications.  If you are a “car nut”, you can customize your vehicle with this process just as easily, without advertising.  My two favorite patterns are the carbon fiber and matte black.  I watched a video where a MINI had it’s top, rings around headlights, mirrors, and fender moldings covered in matte black and it really differentiated it from the norm.  As you know, we MINI owners are always wanting to have the most unique vehicle on the road.

I want to let you that even a hard headed cynic like me can learn new things and change their mind about something when presented with the entire story.  Thank you Mike and Jason of Compelling Signs.

Mike's Acura

How A Free Dinner Could Cost You A Fortune

Posted by admin on April 3rd, 2014

I found a new friend who “gets women” especially when it comes to managing finances during a life changing experience.  Russ Thornton  of Wealth Care for Women shared the following information.

You’ve likely heard the adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

But what about a free dinner?

Many financial advisors, brokers and insurance types market their services to women like you by offering to wine and dine you. But they usually skip the wine and serve tea instead. And dinner is typically chicken of some sort or another.

While you’re enjoying your free meal, they “educate” you about the benefits of hiring them to help you manage your money. And the education they provide typically revolves around a specific financial product or tactic.

Sounds innocent enough, right?

But while you’re washing down your chicken and rice with some sweet tea, there is some psychology at play here . . .

Using a bit of social psychology called reciprocity, these advisors are hoping to trigger something in your subconscious to make you feel like you owe them something. They are feeding you after all.

And while I haven’t heard of any advisors asking you to whip out your checkbook while dessert is being served, you can almost certainly count on them to ask (or expect) you to schedule a meeting with them. That’s when you’ll get the full sales pitch.

There’s some more psychology at work here, but I think you’re probably getting the idea.

So what, you might be asking yourself right about now. A free meal is just that . . . free food.

If you’re able to fend off the advances of these financial salespeople, eat your chicken and leave, you’ll be labeled a “plate licker.”

But being considered a plate licker is nothing compared to the alternative.

What if instead of just eating a free meal, you’re helping this advisor win a luxury Italian sports car? With your hard earned savings and investments. The same savings and investments that need to last the rest of your days.

Read this Wall Street Journal article by Jason Zweig. It’s a pretty short article, but is well worth the few minutes of time to read it. Once you’ve read it, pass it along to someone else you know.

Here’s another example of what you need to be aware of and protect yourself against.

Of course not every financial dinner seminar is an attempt to put your money into a high-commission, high-expense insurance product. And there are professional advisors out there who are laser focused on your best interests (yours truly, for example), but as I mentioned in last weeks’ email, you’ve got to be a healthy skeptic.

Even if there’s a plated chicken dinner in front of you.

I’m regularly being asked by women (and their friends) to give them a second opinion on their investments. I’m amazed at how often there are expensive insurance products (usually annuities) involved.

I was recently asked by a woman to review her 81-year-old Mom’s investment portfolio. She had over 90% in stocks – that’s more aggressive than my approximately 60% allocation to the stock market. And I’m not 81. Oh, and she had 2 variable annuities in her portfolio that both cost over 2.5% per year in total expenses.

Sadly, the portfolio above isn’t the exception. It seems to be the rule.

Have questions about investments, annuities, or other personal financial planning concepts? That’s what my Wednesday Q&A meetings are for.

And if you have any questions or need anything before our next Q&A meeting, it’s easy to get in touch with Russ at http://wealthcareforwomen.com/.


Women: Educate Yourself before You Buy a Vehicle

Posted by admin on March 29th, 2014

We have a guest contributor to our blog.  Danielle Edwards share our views on what it takes to be an empowered buyer.  I hope you enjoy her article.

Although women buy 54% of all cars in the U.S., and influence 84% of all car purchasing decisions, the misconception still remains that we don’t know what we’re talking about when it comes to vehicle buying. Automobiles have long been considered a “man’s realm”, and we’ve all heard stories of women being taken advantage of by car dealers and mechanics. These outdated assumptions can leave us feeling unsure of ourselves when we set out to purchase a car.

So what’s the best way to combat and overcome these stereotypes? By educating yourself! Walking into a dealership armed with knowledge and a clear-cut sense of what you want will simplify the buying process, lesson your risk of being cheated, and leave you feeling empowered.

Consider your Needs

The first place to start when preparing to buy a car is to figure out what you really need.

What size vehicle will suit your lifestyle? Are you more concerned with space or fuel efficiency? Will you be taking your vehicle on rugged terrain or will it be used solely for city driving? Do you live in an area with severe weather and need something with all or 4-wheel drive?

Consider doing some “window shopping” online at a site such as www.cars.com or peruse some automobile magazines to help you figure out which make and model best suits your needs. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for before you walk into a dealership will save you the hassle of having to listen to sales pitches on more expensive models you know aren’t right for you.

Do your Research

Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three models, find out absolutely everything you can about each one. Learn the pros and cons of each vehicle, compare your chosen models to previous years’ models, and read as many reviews on them as you can.

Private websites such as www.autotrader.com and government sites like www.usa.gov will provide you with information on your chosen cars’ reliability, gas efficiency, safety, and more. Don’t forget to research “extras”-sales people are known for trying to persuade buyers to purchase things they don’t really need, and knowing just what types of additions you truly want and need beforehand will save you time.

Lastly, do your research on local dealerships-ask trusted friends and family members which dealers they prefer, check customer-review driven websites such as Angie’s List to find out if the dealership has a negative reputation, and call around and to see which dealers sell the vehicle you’re looking for.

Be Confident

After you’ve settled on the car that’s right for you, walk into your chosen dealership with your head held high and the confidence that comes with knowing you are equipped with all the information you need to make a good decision.

If your salesperson attempts to distract you with pitches about extras or other models, cut them off by asking very specific questions to let him or her know that you did your homework and mean business. Make it known that you’ve already decided on what you want and are ready to head straight to the test drive phase.


As soon as you’ve completed your test drive and are happy with the vehicle you’ve chosen, it’s time to negotiate. Many women aren’t even aware that negotiations on price are an option, but to get the best price possible, you must negotiate. The price quoted is not always the lowest price the dealer will accept, so sitting down and working out a deal you’re both happy with might get you that car you want far cheaper than you’d expect.

Although purchasing a car on your own might seem like a daunting process, arming yourself with as much information as possible will help make the transaction smooth and efficient. And don’t forget that the Internet is your friend during this process! There are numerous websites out there that can help answer any questions you have during this process, and some of the best include:





About CR of Adrian

CR of Adrian is proud to be one of Southeast Michigan’s premier Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram dealerships. CR is committed to providing you with the best used vehicles around, and are dedicated to helping women complete the buying process without any undo pressure or negative assumptions. For more information, please contact CR of Adrian or go to the link for our website above and paste it to your browser.

What Good Maintenance Will Do

Posted by admin on January 2nd, 2013


They certainly don’t make them like that anymore.

man Owned & Drove the same car for 82 YEARS.

Can you imagine
even having the same car for 82 years!

“How Long Have You
Owned a Car?”

Mr. Allen Swift ( Springfield , MA.) received this
1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly-P1 Roadster from his father, brand new - as a
graduation gift in 1928.

He drove it up until his death last
year…..at the age of 102 !!!

He was the oldest living owner of a
car that was purchased new.

Just thought you’d like to see

It was donated to a Springfield museum after his

It has 1,070,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch,
dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition. (82 years).
That’s approximately 13,048 miles per year (1087 per

1,070,000 that’s miles not kilometres!!

That’s British engineering of a bygone era. I don’t think they
make them like that any


Posted by admin on November 9th, 2012

IOn November 12, 2012, Gail Dunn of Women’s Automotive Connection will be featured on the Marie Show on the Hallmark Channel.  Be sure to tune in.  Marie is so much fun to be with and watch.california-for-marie-0212

Hollywood Greets Women’s Automotive Connection

Posted by admin on September 19th, 2012



I promised to tell the story of my trip to California, which included filming a segment for the new Marie Osmond Show on the Hallmark Channel, and being at a filming of the Tonight Show and meeting Jay Leno. To do so, I have to take you back to how it began.

After a year on the air with a weekly one hour show on WBCX, 89.1 FM, called Garage Gab, I learned that the knowledge I was sharing would be helpful to many in the general public.

So, I worked with some terrific people to put together a pilot for a half hour TV show. After many months of filming, editing, designing and producing the packaging, I believe we had put together something that would get the attention needed to move forward with marketing.

After I was on Motorweek, I had made some contacts around the country. One of these gave the pilot package to Jay Leno. Jay called me one evening and we talked about the package, cars and his opinion of what we were offering. This was in April 2012, and he was very complimentary and encouraging about the project.

In May, I was contacted by Beth Cochran, a producer for Marie on Hallmark with a request that I come out to California and film a segment for the new show they were putting together.

That is how we began this part of the journey. After finding out what kind of material was expected, we put together a plan to drive out to California. I contacted Jay’s office and got us access to the Tonight Show and Jay to go along with the filming we were going to do for Marie.

We left on September 4 and drove 3 ½ days across the country in my MINI. The trip was a spectacular view of parts of the country I had never seen in the southwest.

I cannot put into words the beauty of the scenery we saw; you would have to just go there. Of special note was Texas Canyon in Arizona. All I can say is “breathtaking”!!

Once in California, things began to happen quickly. We had reserved seats for the Tonight Show on September 6th and went to the “green room” after to meet, talk, and have pictures taken with Jay Leno. The staff of that show was so very accommodating and pleasant. When we left, we went to Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. Every Friday night, locals bring in all of their classic cars to put on display. There we saw ’64 Nova, ’72 Grand Torino, Super Bee, ’58 Mercedes Convertible, ’56 and ’57 Bel Airs, and many others that brought back memories. MINI was the only one of her breed in attendance.

That Saturday, we drove out to Malibu, which was a real disappointment to me. It is so built up along the shore that you cannot see the ocean. Funny though, we stopped for a cold drink at a fast food restaurant (remember we are in Malibu, California) and the only restroom they had was a porta-potty outside. Laughed so much it hurt. We came back the northern route and did find some places to get a view of the Pacific.

On Sunday, we were invited to the home of Vicki Mack, a photographer of some note, who is well connected in the entertainment industry. She lives in Palos Verdes and the scenery there was much more picturesque that the valley. Don Christy took us on a tour of the area and we got quite a history lesson on the area.

Monday, I had to burn off some gas in the MINI before I turned it over to the studio on Tuesday. So, I just meandered throughout the San Fernando Valley just taking in all of the unique topography. I had no destination in mind, and enjoyed just seeing the sights.

The schedule for Tuesday turned pretty hectic. I needed some clean clothes, there was still too much gas in the car, and the MINI needed to be detailed and dolled up to turn over to the studio by 3:30. Having accomplished all of that, we went to studio. The producers, Beth Cochran and Ned Truslow, were waiting for us and gave us the lay of the land.

There were a couple of things that took me by surprise while we were there.

The MINI had to be back through a relatively narrow door to get her on stage. I offered to do this, as I was unsure that anyone there had experience with a convertible and its blind spots. It was an easy task and one that I was VERY happy to do for them.

The other was the plan for the segment we were going to film. Since it is Marie’s show, I went out with the impression that she would be asking questions of me and I would be telling and showing responses. Ned advised me that I would be “driving the train” on the filming and Marie would follow my lead. Needless to say, I had to revise my thinking.

On Wednesday, we arrived at the studio at noon for hair, make up, and a run through. Once again, I had to get the MINI in place. Then, Ned (standing in for Marie) and I did a quick run through of the sequence of items we were going to cover. The director said we would have about half an hour before shooting, so I headed off stage. They changed their minds, and said we were going to shoot immediately. Marie, who is such a friendly and charming lady, came on stage for us to get started. After we became acquainted and let the audience in on what we were going to do, off we went!

I only had a few minutes and according to the producer, we nailed the timing!! Whew! No much time to think and certainly nothing in the plan that would allow us to retake it if I flubbed anything. Thankfully, I didn’t.

At this point, I need to say how overwhelmed I was. Upon returning to the hotel, I broke down in tears. Just thinking of all of the help and support I had in getting to where I had just been left me feeling so grateful and happy. So many people had expressed how proud they were of me, and I have never had that in my life. Thanks to EVERYONE!

A celebration was in order and we found a place on Venture Blvd called Brats Brothers. I indulged in a genuine German Bratwurst with an authentic German beer. Dessert was the most scrumptious strudel with almond whipped cream that I have ever put in my mouth.

The next morning, we packed up and headed on via I-40 (having gone out I-20) for another view of the southern tier of states. The only glitch we ran into was n Gallup, NM. Upon arrival in the evening, there were no hotel rooms in the entire town, and the next nearest accommodations were in Grants, NM, an hour away. So the second day of driving home ended up with us stopping later than we liked.

Got home around 8:30 Saturday night, September 15th and was happy to be here. I can tell you, though, drivers in Atlanta are much more aggressive than they are in LA. There may be more of them out there, but they do not try to kill each other on the roads.

Today, September 19th, I was back in my seat on WBCX and in the trenches after playing catch up for three days.

I do not know what will come of the contacts we made while we were in California, but it was an awesome trip.

The next chapter is waiting to be written and I cannot wait for the next adventure.

WAC is Hollywood Bound

Posted by admin on September 2nd, 2012

As most of you who are close to me know, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to again be on television.  This time to do a segment for the new Marie Osmond show on the Hallmark network.  car-shots-004I will be in the Los Angeles area for about a week, and have an opportunity to be at a filming of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well.

These terrific events are incredible for the Women’s Automotive Connection.  However, I would be very remiss if I did not acknowledge the vast number of folks in my network who have supported and encouraged me as we have grown.

My clients have always been the best testimonials of why you do not have to spend all of your money buying, servicing or repairing a car.  Each and everyone of the has been a joy to work with.  They, in their own way, have taught me so many new lessons and for that I am so grateful.

To list all of those that I am grateful to would take a book, but there are several that deserve mention.  First of all my BFF’s Liza Kirby, Kelly Hogue, Kay Hendricks, Bonnie Dobbs, and Gina Jones are the cornerstone of what keeps me both grounded and positive.  John Miller, my coach, is such a wealth of knowledge of wisdom, and has never failed to share it with me.  For those who have not been named, you know I value your friendship and support, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

No one rises alone, and faith will always get you further than anything I know of.  I am posting this today to make sure that everyone knows I will be taking all of you along on this journey.  Certainly I will have more fun actually being there than you will hearing about it.

On the Marie! show we will be covering tires, dash lights, brakes, and fluids.  This will be a chance to educate our audience on what they need to watch for and how to keep their vehicles in top running condition.  Another great friend of mine, my 2006 MINI Cooper S convertible, will be joining me on the show.

We have put together a pilot for a TV show that we are marketing in the hopes of making more of this information available to a larger audience.  I have always found that the tidbits offered may often seem trivial, but are  immensely important, and people comment that “if I had only known that”.

So thanks to you all.  Wish me luck and I will report on the air date and the events of the trip when I return.


Every day we’re faced with an onslaught of tough decisions. How do I ask by boss for more money? Does the shirt go with the shoes? Where did I put my car keys? Luckily, how upgrading your four-wheeled steed with sizzling style and high-flying power isn’t one of those decisions. With a few simple additions you can boost your ride’s appearance and horsepower to new heights. Let’s start under the hood of your ride with a quick and easy upgrade that delivers a big boost in horsepower and torque: an air filter. Adding an aftermarket air filter to your ride delivers an instant surge of power-producing oxygen to your engine. Available in either custom fit or universal, air filters are hands down the easiest way to get those ponies galloping and your heart racing.

With the beast beneath the hood taken care of, it’s time give your stock lighting a boost. The right set of automotive lights takes the weak system the factory gave you and adds a dash of sultry style and out-of-this-world brightness. Driving lights come in a vast array of sizes and shapes designed increase both your vision and style of your ride. So, whether you’re looking to soup up your weekender with a set of flashy LED taillights or transform your daily-driver’s headlight array into a brilliant blue display, aftermarket driving lights are the way to go.

Next up, it’s time to dress your front end with a smoking hot car bra. With a supple layer of fabric, these beauties highlight your assets up front like nothing else on the road. And, since it’s the first thing people see as you pull up, car bras are custom tailored for a perfect fit. Plus, they block bugs and rocks from hitting your paint allowing your ride to maintain its perky appearance. Available in an astounding assortment of patterns and styles, car bras augment your front end in truly customized fashion.

Another simple and stylish addition for all you truck fanatics out there is a tonneau cover. Tonneau covers are engineered to create an impenetrable wall between the inside of your truck bed and Mother Nature’s nastiest. So, all your gear stays fresh no matter what she’s kicking up outside. Best yet, from the robust protection of hard folding tonneau covers to quick and easy access of a soft tonneau, truck bed covers come in a nearly endless array of options suited for your specific needs.

No matter what you drive, a custom set of car seat covers is the perfect way to enhance the elegance of your interior. From a set of sophisticated leather covers to a set stamped with the flavor of the Hawaiian islands, seat covers offer endless customization options. Available in either custom-cut matched to your exact vehicle or in budget-friendly semi-custom, the seat cover to match your exact needs is just waiting for you.

Huffington Post Features Womens Automotive Connection

Posted by admin on January 25th, 2012

Have you heard that joke about women drivers? Your first reaction is probably, “Which one?” Women often get a bum rap when it comes to automotive issues. So after spending much of her career in the auto industry, watching women being taken advantage of by mechanics and car salespeople, Gail Dunn decided to take matters into her own hands.

At the age of 62, with 15 years of experience working around cars, Dunn set out to educate drivers, one oil change at a time, through the Women’s Automotive Connection. A former business consultant, experienced estimator and longtime manager of a body shop, Dunn had built a reputation for herself in the industry as a no-nonsense advocate for her customers’ needs — traits she now relies on as her own boss.

Founded in 2007, Atlanta-based Women’s Automotive Connection provides automotive advice, assistance and service to those without the time or expertise to address problems related to the maintenance and repair of their vehicles. But Dunn’s greater mission revolves around her greatest passion — to teach car owners about the games some of the dishonest people in the automotive industry play in an effort to “relieve” car owners of their money, and to build a fleet of astute, competent customers. And the boys are starting to notice too.

What was your career background prior to starting the Women’s Automotive Connection?

I was a consultant in organizational development. I basically fixed broken companies. But I got to a point where I was working 80 hours per week and didn’t want to do that anymore.

What led you to decide to start your own business, post retirement?

I knew I would get bored, because I had retired once before and that’s exactly what happened. And I realized I didn’t want to work for somebody else anymore. The easiest thing was to be on my own, and it sounded great to be able to make my own schedule and my own decisions.

One of the major goals of the Women’s Automotive Connection is to help women feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about the auto-repair process. What are some of the negative repair experiences you encountered personally – and that you saw other women encounter — prior to starting the company?

My own short story is that I had a ‘96 Jeep Grand Cherokee that wouldn’t start. At the time, I was managing a body shop at a dealership. I looked at it and knew exactly what it needed. I went in on a Monday morning and told them I needed a fuel pump put in a Jeep and just left the car there. Later, someone brought my car over, and I asked what I owed them. They told me I didn’t need what I said I needed and charged me for a completely different repair. Obviously, two days later, it once again wouldn’t start. So, I bought my own fuel pump and had one of the guys at my body shop put it in.

It made me angry, because they thought they knew more than I did. A lot of shops do this: They put a band-aid on a problem instead of fixing it. I think a lot of people — both women and men — have similar experiences with car repairs. A lot of my clients have had experiences like mine where the shop tells them they need more than they think they do, and it becomes too much of a guessing game. And then they’ll just agree to it, even if it’s not the repair they need.

And what is the overarching mission of the Women’s Automotive Connection?

Primarily we’re here to assist people in buying, selling and repairing vehicles. But we want to educate. We do automotive boot camps. And I have a weekly podcast called “Garage Gab.” I educate women and the public on the games people play when they try to, as I call it, “relieve you of your money.” And I don’t mind spending money if it’s necessary, but if someone is ripping me off, I’m going to get upset.

I have a lot of fun at the boot camps, and think it’s amazing the questions people ask. There are a lot of basic things people don’t know about vehicles. Once they learn them, they are capable and competent and able to deal with the automotive industry without being taken advantage of.

I think the whole country realizes there is a lot of game-playing going on in the auto industry, whether related to buying or repairing. The honest brokers get upset because the whole industry gets a bad name thanks to those who are dishonest. I want to educate people about the process, but also find honest repair shops I can refer my clients to so they know it will be done right the first time and that someone will take responsibility for the work they do.

And which types of services do you offer your customers?

It varies. I offer consultations to clients over the phone to help them get to the right shop. I also do some brokering to connect people to the right car for them. As mentioned, I also offer educational automotive boot camps and do the weekly car repair podcast.

Everything I do is about giving people the education they need to find honest mechanical shops and brokers. In terms of figuring out who is honest, I have my ways. One of the things I will tell people who call from other cities for help with choosing a shop is to go to that shop, get an oil change and sit in the waiting room to see how customers are treated. I think people are afraid to challenge a mechanic or technician. They automatically think the mechanic knows more than they know. But customers who educate themselves often know as much as any mechanic.

Have you found that a lot of your customers come in with similar issues? What are some of the most common ones?

The biggest issue on new cars that really bothers people is the “check engine” light. That light has nothing to do with your engine and everything to do with your emissions. People see that light on the dash and panic. Then they go to a mechanic and pay a lot of money for something they probably didn’t need. The light might just mean something simple — like they didn’t tighten their gas cap.

Have you attracted male customers too?

A lot of men come to me. I’ve been involved in the Chamber of Commerce for a while now and know a lot of the men there who have become customers. They realize they don’t know a lot about modern cars either. Cars today are basically rolling computers. It’s funny in a way, because the men who come to me as customers would rather ask me for help than admit to another man that they don’t know the answer. I’ve been able to get so many male customers because the ones I help become big fans of mine and then tell their other friends.

I would say the ratio of male to female clients is probably 50/50. That’s not what I intended, but it’s what ended up happening. Actually, I’ve learned that guys get treated the same way women get treated when they go in for repairs or to buy cars.

Have you discovered specific entrepreneurial challenges related to starting a business after age 60 that younger entrepreneurs might not face?

It’s hard to say, because I didn’t start a business when I was younger. But I find that my age has actually been a help to me. At my age, people look at me and understand I have experience. I don’t know that someone much younger starting a business like this would have the same credibility. Sometimes this gray hair I have is a sign of experience and maybe a little wisdom. And that works in my favor.

In general, I don’t think there have been any real challenges that I couldn’t overcome. My biggest challenge was getting people to understand what I did. But the uniqueness of it has given me some extra visibility that the rest of the world doesn’t have.

When people get older, their focus changes from “I want everything” to “I want to see how I can help other people.” A lot of people I know who are running businesses over 50 or 60 really are there to try to help other people.channel-11-at-scotts-auto-center-032

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