Stefanie Bursima educating group of women about car repairs
Thursday, March 7, 2024

Empowering women under the hood: Mechanical Engineering grad driving confidence in car repairs

Stefanie Burinsma, a Mechanical Engineering alumna (BASc' 15), has introduced a platform designed to empower women when it comes to car maintenance. The platform connects women needing vehicle repairs or advice with a network of trusted experts and educators to help reduce instances of fraud and discrimination.

The company's research has uncovered a shocking truth: 27 per cent of auto services are unnecessary upsells that are imposed on unsuspecting consumers. These services can collectively cost people in the U.S. and Canada a staggering $12 billion annually.

"Women are more susceptible to being oversold, patronized and underserviced, but they are absolutely capable of understanding everything about their car," Bruinsma said. "There should never be an opportunity to be swindled, especially based on gender."  

When an AutoCate member needs help or has questions about maintenance, repairs, or even purchasing a car, they are triaged on the platform, depending on their request. Then, a verified expert walks them through the issue to instill the owners' confidence in making the best decision for them and their cars.

"Resources to get car repair estimates and finding auto shops exist, but that's not getting at the core issue, which is gaining confidence in understanding how cars work and what needs to be fixed," Bruinsma said. "AutoCate gives you access to experts who work for you, like calling a family member for help when you don't know where to turn."  

AutoCate is currently recruiting members to test the platform and has scheduled several workshops this year to build community support. If you're interested, you can learn all about it on their website.

Get the full story in Waterloo News.