She talks the way she drives, straightforward and with a purpose. Now, more folks have a good way of hearing her again.
Baxter resident LeeAnn Shattuck, or “The Car Chick” as her decades-long career in all things automotive deemed her, recently launched a new podcast. “The Straight Shift with the Car Chick” began in mid-November.
“It’s a 30-minute podcast that I’m releasing twice a month to start,” Shattuck said. “It’s all about giving people the ‘straight shift’ on all things cars.”
Shattuck wrapped up an eight-year run this spring of her syndicated radio show. She has an internet channel, and is developing a television show about restoring classic cars on a budget. She had another cable television show, too. Shattuck also races cars, speaks to groups and runs a car-buying service. Her main goal is to empower consumers, particularly women.
“Empowering women, but it empowers men just the same,” she said. “I just tend to have a different take on things in the auto industry. The question I get from most people are, if my mechanic says I need this for my car, how do I know if I need it?”
Answers come through a “very direct, sometimes snarky” approach that Shattuck admits is “almost in your face, honest information.” She will “call BS on people a lot,” both auto industry workers and consumers. Her goal is to connect both, and sort through the industry talk that can confuse people.
“I translate motorhead language into English,” Shattuck said.
People connecting with the Car Chick through her podcast or other media shouldn’t expect much sympathy if the problems they’ve encountered are their own fault.
“A lot of the problems are self-inflicted by the car owners,” Shattuck said. “They decide not to do this maintenance that their mechanic says is important.”
She guides buyers through that process, too, but wants to get people away from the idea that all sellers are trying to take advantage of the deal.
“No, most of them aren’t,” Shattuck said. “They’re just better at this car selling game than you are at buying. They’re a business, not a charity.”
She plans to vary guests. The first episode featured holiday car shopping mistakes and how to avoid them. The second had a female shop owner from Vermont talking about winterizing cars.
“If you’re going up north for the holidays, it’s a good thing to know,” Shattuck said.
The next guest led an all-female team restoring an old Chevy pick-up. Women thriving in the automotive industry is a theme for the Car Chick. The podcast, even as opposed to the radio show, gives her more freedom to feature them and her latest takes.
“Being the sole host of it, I have the flexibility to give a whole lot of information in a condensed amount of time,” Shattuck said.
The passion for cars began years ago. Shattuck began racing about 25 years ago. Her Car Chick work began more than a dozen years ago. She came to the Fort Mill area from Charlotte in 2003.
“I have loved cars my entire life, and I started learning about cars and learning how to drive when I was about 4,” she said.
Yet even she has room to learn. People who grew up on cars like she did, may still need a tuneup on issues related to ever more technological vehicles. Recalls and service requests aren’t just for the pistons and carburetor anymore.
“It changes all the time,” Shattuck said. “Cars are more computer now than they are machines, in some ways.”
Even trends like self-driving cars have Shattuck learning more by the day. Originally, she wasn’t for it.
“I thought, this is only going to make people be lazy drivers, lazier than they already are,” Shattuck said. “Most people don’t drive. They just aim. And they don't do that very well.”
But she thought about the appeal for others.
“There has been a huge change,” Shattuck said. “It’s a combination of several things. One, no matter where you live, traffic is getting worse. Traffic sucks no matter where you are.”
Then, a driver on a cell phone hit her car.
“Our lives are only getting crazier,” Shattuck said, estimating 90 percent of drivers could probably use a little help from their cars. “There are more and more distractions. The cars are going to be better drivers than those people, so I’m all for safety.”
Just as long as she still gets to drive herself. And help others along the way.
“I’m a car person, and I want to empower women through cars,” Shattuck said.
Want to hear her?
“The Straight Shift with the Car Chick” is online at thecharchick.com, as well as podcast sites including iTunes, Google Music Play, Youtube.