I’m an auto expert and know more than most mechanics… but men still treat me like I have no clue.

One Automotive expert who knows more than a mechanic claims the male driver STILL treats her as if she has no clue.

Carla Hillier, 46, head of the petroleum industry, runs four hugely successful hardware stores and faces complex customer demands every day.

Carla Hillier, 46 years old, head of the petroleum industry, runs four hugely successful tool shops

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Carla Hillier, 46 years old, head of the petroleum industry, runs four hugely successful tool shopsCredit: Weber Shandwick
She faces complex queries from customers every day

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She faces complex queries from customers every dayCredit: Weber Shandwick

Even so, Carla – who has fallen in love with cars since childhood – still has to deal with rude customers who question her knowledge simply because she is a woman.

She describes an incident when a male shopper went Tool Academy for a wheel bearing tool.

The pro told The Sun: “I could see it was a VW bearing and he would need an M18 shaft socket – just through the knowledge I have about VW and the Audi Hub and the bearing.

“He said he needed to buy an M14 spline and asked how much it would cost.

“I gently told him it was the M18 you needed and he wanted me to show him the socket.

“He said no and asked if any mechanic was available to fix it and show him what he needed to do.”

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Carla spent several minutes trying to explain why she was right, but to no avail.

Annoyed, she found a male mechanic.

Carla added: “The craftsman walked around the shop and passed the customer and asked me: ‘Carla gentleman, what tools do you need?’

“He said to the customer, ‘As Carla said, M18 spline. This is the woman you want that information, she’s the best person you can ask for the stuff you need.”

“The client was quite embarrassed and apologized for not listening to me for what he asked for.”

Other awkward encounters have seen male clients carry tools and claim that Carla doesn’t know what they are.

While customer interactions are trying, auto parts experts say colleagues are always respectful.

She added: “I would never say I experienced sexism in my workplace when it comes to my management, staff or suppliers – they have always been very accepting and supportive. I.

“However, I feel sexist when it comes to some clients.

If I were a man, I would automatically be heard and customers and suppliers would assume that I know.

Carla Hillier

“It sounds so old in this day and age but it still happens from time to time when working in a commercial environment where men are dominant and an area where women are not taken seriously.”

She added: “I’ve had a lot of times where a customer wanted to speak to a man in a store or on the phone.

“I have a few male picks and packs on the Tool Academy team.

“There have been many times when a customer – if I were standing there in the store and my male employees were also with me – would say the customer would say over my head or around me to talk to one of the male employees of the store. I.”

Over the years, Carla has learned to make clients doubt her ability to “plug the chin”.

“Generally, as soon as they get over the fact that I’m a woman, they realize I know my stuff and 30 seconds later I tell them what they need to pay,” she added.

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“If I were a man, I would automatically be heard and customers and suppliers would assume I knew,” she said.

“I have to prove I know what I’m talking about and show that I know what they’re talking about, explain the details clearly, and use all my technical knowledge to wow them and reassure them to the best of my ability.”

While customer interactions are trying, Carla said colleagues are always respectful

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While customer interactions are trying, Carla said colleagues are always respectfulCredit: Weber Shandwick

https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8479119/car-expert-know-more-mechanics-male-drivers/ I’m an auto expert and know more than most mechanics… but men still treat me like I have no clue.

Fry Electronics Team

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