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I'm 13, I love cars, I don't have a garage nor any mechanical experience. What Do I do?

Well, my name is Sam and I'm 13. I've been in love with cars for the better half of a year and a half. My obsession began with Corvairs of all cars, and it's now graduated to early imports. However, I don't own a garage, and I've never worked on a car. What should I do?

43 REPLIES 43
Community Manager

Hello Sam, welcome to the car hobby! I know you will love it.  I recommend a few things for someone in your shoes to learn more about cars, do these things and you'll be far better off than most teenagers when getting their license. 

 

  • Watch Hagerty's redline rebuilds series on YouTube to get a "big picture" of how to work on a big project on a car: https://www.youtube.com/user/HagertyKnowsClassics/playlists 
  • Watch how to YouTube videos specific to cars you like, they won't all be very good quality but hopefully the details are correct and you'll learn more. 
  • Depending on where you live, you can often seek apprenticeships with local mechanics or car builders.  It's not a formal thing, it's more like visiting a shop that works on cars and ask questions on how you can learn more. 
  • Classes in School: many school districts (at least in my city) now have a learning garage to study Automotive Technology.  You may or may not want to pursue this full time, but it would be great for you to get in there and learn from a pro while getting school credit no matter what!

Tell me what you think. 

Intermediate Driver

@Sajeev has a great suggestion on the YouTube front that I'd like to expand on. If you don't know a direction you want to go in, but just want to gain general knowledge, on how to do simple maintenance or cheap upgrades, then I highly recommend you check out the channel Mighty Car Mods and look at some of their early stuff. It is all simple how to videos and at that time, they did everything in a driveway. Most importantly, they are not afraid to get help when the task is more specialized. A lot of channels do not show this, but they do which I believe sets a great example and earns a lot of respect from me. 

Community Manager

Oh I wanna add Engineering Explained and ChrisFix's YouTube channels to that list.  Good stuff overall. 

Detailer

I second the Mighty Car Mods suggestion. You can learn stuff there --and their feature length videos done in Japan will make you want to visit Japan.

 

Mechanical experience...

-if you have a back yard with a shed you can build a mini bike, dirt bike, etc. Mini bikes are not big dollars. Even bicycles. If you are lucky/wise you can flip projects to fund the next one. If you lose $ on a flip it's a couple of movie tickets as you are doing small $ projects.

 

-No shed... build a shed first!

 

-No back yard... convince the family to let you rebuild the engine in the house? (careful with fumes & chemical & fire ...lol).  ---maybe find a friend that has a place you can safely build a small project.

Intermediate Driver

Mighty Car Mods just released this video today and it is perfect for anyone looking to get into cars. It covers things such as basic maintenance and affordable, effective upgrades you can do to your car.

 

https://youtu.be/OM8l6fuzg_c

From stock to modified in one day - In this complete guide to modifying your car, you'll learn everything you need to know to get started working on your own...
Pit Crew

Having absolutely no mechanical experience as a kid, I found that learning to work on a single cylinder lawnmower engine was the perfect way to learn the basics of a 4 cycle internal combustion engine.

Next what good is an engine if it doesn't make anything go?

Install it into a mini-bike (my first was a modified bicycle frame) and now you can ride. Basic, yes, fun, YES!

A Go-Kart is just as fun and you learn some driving skills.

All of this can be done without a garage and a small amount of cash. Most of the components can be obtained from garage sales, swap meets and the junk pile at your local lawnmower shop. 

Many a race car driver/builder started this way. 

The more you learn and understand the basics now, you will continue to grow and expand your skills.

Good luck and have some fun.

Instructor

A friend of mine had a Corvair high school. Not sure of the year, but she drove the crap out of it. It wasn't a bad car at all. Different? Yes. Bad? No.

 

Don't let the lack of a garage stop you from wrenching. I got my first car when I was 10 as an inheritance, and did many a repair with it on ramps, on my back. 

 

My advice would be to find a car that you like, and is a good runner.  This way you aren't trying to do too much in the elements without a dedicated space to store/work on.

 

There are a lot of great guys with a lot if experience that you could learn from, as well as to help you from making some if the mistakes a lot of us older guys have. 

 

New Driver

My advice, have a goal, have a plan, have patience.  I see too many people in a hurry to quickly get a car on the road.  Take the time to do it right and your project car will be there for you to use for a long time. Its more fun cleaning and driving it than constantly repairing what you should have dealt with early on.

New Driver

When my son was 13 he asked me "Dad, what's my Mustang going to be?"  We agreed to purchase one to restore together.  We reached out to the local car community (car clubs and car guy friends) asking for someone to take the time to teach.  We found that true Car Guys love to share their knowledge with the younger generations.  He spent 4 1/2 years working in local garages on his car.  He learned to rebuild the engine with a man who became a grandpa figure to him! It was a benefit to both.  Someone young was interested in spending time with him learning something he was passionate about.  Same with the body work and paint.  It was truly amazing to see how the "more experienced" generations were willing to share their passion to someone who was excited to learn.  It was a great experience for all.  

I would encourage finding those "Car Guys" who are willing to teach. It isn't as difficult as it may sound. 

Thank you to all of you who are willing to share your knowledge and help the younger generations!  

 

My son ended up with a nice car and a LOVE of cars and specifically Mustang.  

His car is a 1965 Mustang Fastback GT.  

He founded the Millennial Mustang Registry to encourage the love of Mustang in his generation.  

www.millennialmustangregistry.com  

Check them out! all Millennials who are passionate about Mustang!