Remember that classic moment in "My Cousin Vinny" when Marisa Tomei’s character blows away the courtroom with her encyclopedic knowledge of car tires?
Lauren Fix ’86, is a real-live version of Tomei’s character. Yep–she knows that much about cars.
Known professionally as The Car Coach®, Fix is dedicated to educating people about buying and maintaining cars and driving safely. With her down-to-earth advice and demeanor, she has become a sought-after guest on "The Today Show," Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, "Ali and Jack," and a host of other media outlets from coast-to-coast and in Canada. Fix also appears regularly on a television show, "Talk 2 DIY—Automotive," which runs seven days a week on the Scripps-owned network DIY.
Not bad for a kid who just liked to talk to her dad about cars. Fix’s father “always had cool cars in the garage,” she says. “Corvettes, Barracudas. Ferraris. I’d always ask him what he was working on, and he’d say ‘let me show you what I’m doing.’” That initial foray into her dad’s world led the teen-aged Fix to work at her father’s brake remanufacturing shop. There, she even developed new products like a drum-to-disc brake conversion kit for Ford Mustangs. Also while still a teen, she took her interest in another direction. After tagging along with her brother to an autocross race, she took up amateur car racing. Later, with experience and several titles under her belt, she began teaching others how to race cars–all while continuing to work at the brake shop.
When Fix decided to go to college, she didn’t go into automotive engineering. “My father told me that engineers don’t make money,” she says, laughing. She enrolled at UB with a major, business administration, that meshed perfectly with her other passion: “I love to get companies going and make them successful,” she says. Indeed, by the age of 18, she had already started and sold her own t-shirt business.
The year of her graduation from UB coincided with Fix’s biggest business venture to that point. She started her own auto racing school, which ran three times a year at Watkins Glen Speedway. As time progressed, she remembers, people began to recognize her name and her expertise. “As a female in this business,” she says, “that’s rare. You have to qualify yourself.” A producer at "Motorweek" on PBS asked her to appear on the show. “He liked how I talked about cars and said I should train dealers,” she says. With that, Fix jumped into another venture, eventually becoming the lead trainer for Jaguar, Infiniti, Ford and other carmakers. She also “learned a lot about the industry.”
In 1998, she got the call–from "The Oprah Winfrey Show’s" producer, who’d found Fix’s name on the Internet. She appeared on the show to talk about driving safety, winter driving techniques and other topics geared toward women. Oprah invited Fix back in 2000 and 2002. Her appearances led ultimately to many of the activities in which she’s now involved.
In addition to her work on Talk 2 DIY—Automotive and other media appearances, she serves as spokesperson for Pennzoil and Fix-a-Flat, as well as for the Car Care Council, which educates consumers about automobile safety and pride of ownership. She’s co-executive producer and host of a television show called Get Car Smarts that will air this fall on the PAX Network. She’s got an informative website at www.laurenfix.com. Oh, and did we mention the book she’s writing–her third–called The Car Bible? “It’s a motivational book to get people to work on their cars, make smart decisions, and not make bad decisions,” she says.
Her dreams include nothing less than becoming well-known outside of the automotive world. Says Fix, “I’d love to have my own line of products so that non-automotive people can walk into any mass merchandiser or drug store, and recognize that Lauren Fix makes this product, and it’s the best quality and the best price.” Her track record (no pun intended) makes that dream seem entirely possible.
Written by Grace Lazzara