Galmatic Car Workshop

14 Jul

*This post was by T2, a co-author of In The Taratory from 2011-2013.*

About one month ago, I had a bit of a bingle. My poor little Yaris got rear-ended by a Ford Territory as I was turning onto the GDE – pushing me out into oncoming traffic (eek!). It was all rather inconvenient. Not only did I have to leech lifts off my housemate for the next three and a half weeks while my car was at the smash repairs, and put up with some characters on the ACTION bus service (ever had someone spew next to you, look at it momentarily, then go back to sleep? Yep, I now have), but I also was booked in for a “Galmatic” car workshop that weekend. And it was strictly BYO car.


Luckily, the instructor agreed that I could share her car for the afternoon. So off I trooped on the 55-minute journey to Bob Jane T-Mart Belconnen (after walking two kilometers to the bus stop and unwittingly catching a Belco-bound bus that detoured through what felt like every other suburb BUT Belconnen). I spotted the Galmatic girls immediately; all huddled around a Hyundai Lantra, craning their necks to watch as the instructor fiddled with the dipstick. I stealthily joined the group of eight, and pulled a jacket on – it was darn cold in the shade of the carpark!

Now, I’m proud to say that I am fairly savvy under the bonnet. After an incident at 16 that resulted in an overheated car and irate parents (hey, they didn’t exactly teach us what the point of coolant was at driving school!), I learnt quick-smart the importance of looking after my car’s health. I dutifully began to check the oil, coolant, water and tyre pressure levels every couple of weeks, and had no problems from that day forward (until ol’ mate Ford Territory caused some trouble, that is). I was already confident in my ability to carry out basic car checks, so was hoping that the Galmatic instructor would delve beyond the dipstick and into more challenging waters.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. I quickly realised that Galmatic was definitely geared at ladies who had never poked their head around the guts of their car before. This became clear when one girl realized that her car’s essential bits were bone dry – no oil, no coolant AND flat tyres. “Lucky I’m booked in for a service this week, hey!”, she exclaimed. Sigh. After this discovery, the instructor hastily showed how to check the oil and coolant, fill up the windscreen wiper juice (don’t use metho, we were told. I don’t know about you, but that thought had never even crossed my mind!), and adjust the settings once seated in the car. She admonished one of the girls for having 12 different key chains jangling on her main key in the ignition – for good reason. Apparently, if you’re involved in an accident, a heavy key chain has the potential to slice your thigh into mince-meat. Not pretty.

Admittedly, I was looking forward to having a refresher on changing a tyre. I haven’t yet been stuck with a flatty, but appreciate that knowing how to change one is an important skill to have. The group was surprised to see how easy the process was – simply jack the car up, loosen the nuts, and off you go! The instructor was enthusiastic and funny, which helped lighten the mood up and calm the nerves of the anxious ones. It was great to see the ladies increase their confidence with doing what is usually considered to be a ‘man’s job’. I was also very interested to hear about the benefits of using nitrogen in tyres. I’d always thought that it was primarily for use in racing cars. Although it does seem to be good for your car, at $10 a tyre, I think I may continue using regular old air from the servo. It seems to be doing a fine job so far.Image

We then moved onto jump-starting a dead battery and what to do in the event of an accident. Oh! Here’s another random handy trick we learnt: if you ever have problems with spiders crawling into your car through the air conditioning, simply rub a bit of lemon over the vents and hey presto! No more creepy crawlies.

The workshop had been advertised as a two-hour session, but we were well and truly finished in an hour. Although it was bloody cold standing outside in the shade and we longed to escape to the warmth, I couldn’t help thinking ‘… so that’s all?!’. I’d paid for a two-hour session, and felt like the hour-long commute to Belconnen really hadn’t been worth it. I also feel a bit gipped after jumping on the Galmatic website and realising that we were supposed to have been given a workshop certificate and ‘a great goody bag with vouchers and car stuff’. Hmmph.

Overall, I do consider the course to be an excellent introduction to car care for inexperienced female drivers. There were no silly questions, and everyone seemed comfortable with admitting they had no idea how to change a tyre or jump start a car. It was slightly too elementary for me, though, so it would be great if Galmatic offered an advanced workshop for the more confident lasses. But to you parents out there with newbie daughters on the roads, I’d definitely suggest you send them along to a Galmatic workshop. They’re held all over Sydney and every couple of months in Canberra. Then you (hopefully) won’t have to worry about picking your girl up and spending a fortune on her smoking engine, like mine did all those years ago…

** Note: After this review was published, Galmatic got in touch with me and kindly offered to send me a goodie bag and certificate of completion. Thanks Galmatic!

Date: 3-5pm, Saturday 26 May 2012

Attendees: T2 (plus eight other ladies)

Cost: $75 per person (but do look out for the Living Social deals, as they are around!)

Worthwhile factor: Very worthwhile for inexperienced drivers, but not so worthwhile for the experienced.

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One Response to “Galmatic Car Workshop”

  1. Gary Lum July 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    That’s awful about the accident. It’s great you didn’t get injured.

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