McKenna Patterson Photography

Author and social media influencer Mechanic Shop Femme is coming to Dallas

MELISSA WHITLER | Dallas Voice Fellow

Chaya Milchtein, known online as Mechanic Shop Femme, is going on tour across the country to promote her new guide on car ownership — except, instead of hitting the bookstores, Milchtein will be visiting LGBTQ-, PoC-, and women-owned mechanic shops. She’ll be here in North Dallas at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at Kwik Kar Marsh, 1049 Marsh Lane in Carrollton.

With the automotive industry historically exclusionary to women and queer folks, Chaya Milchtein is working to make it more open and approachable. Her work as a journalist made it natural for her to transfer her knowledge and experience to a book written, as she says, for everyone.

“This book was written with every car owner in mind,” Milchtein said. “Even people who have been driving for a long time can learn something.”

The guide covers everything from the process of buying a car to maintenance and repairs, accompanied by data and real-life stories. The book tour was arranged by Milchtein herself with the goal of introducing local followers to a queer-affirming repair shop. And as it happens, April is National Car Month, the perfect time to offer this kind of education and resources.

Finding a mechanic shop can be intimidating, especially for LGBTQ folks. With this event, people can be introduced to a place where they will be respected and where they can support a locally-owned business.

Kwik Kar Marsh is independently owned and operated by Corrine Hudson who immigrated from Madagascar when she was only 14 years old and went on to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. After tiring of working for a thankless corporation, Hudson invested her entire retirement savings into opening this shop. Designed with inclusivity and integrity in mind, Kwik Kar Marsh is a great option for LGBTQ folks looking for a mechanic shop.

Milchtein knows firsthand the struggle of being a queer, plus-sized woman working in the automotive industry. She has been openly queer from the first shop she walked into and acknowledges that it made her journey more complicated.

“From the very beginning it felt worth it to me to bring my full self, even though it is a very conservative industry,” Milchtein said. She emphasized that mechanics don’t just deal with their colleagues but the general public as well.

After dealing with rude customers and inappropriate bosses, Milchtein decided to work for herself full time. “I’m okay if I’m not for everybody, if who I am and how I bring myself puts off certain people,” Milchtein said. “Now I’m able to choose the work I do, and the people who are prejudiced against me are just going to miss out.”

Despite this hardship, Milchtein has forged her own path as Mechanic Shop Femme. In addition to her educational content on social media, she also offers online classes and public workshops. Her focus is empowerment through education so that people are met with dignity and respect.

And after a decade doing this work, Milchtein has seen changes. “What keeps me going is the positive stories I hear from people I’ve helped, and the support I receive online,” she said.

Don’t miss out on your chance to meet Chaya Milchtein at her book tour stop in Dallas. Tickets are $5, and proceeds will go toward the Jill Trotta Scholarship, a fund established by Milchtein in honor of her mentor, a queer woman and master mechanic. The scholarship will provide funds to women and queer people wanting to enter the automotive industry.

Milchtein described her goal as “making life easier for the next generation.” As someone who knows what it’s like to be in need, Chaya Milchtein is dong the work to make the automotive industry more inclusive and accessible for those historically left out.

For more information about the tour or her book, visit