Garage Talk with the Humble Mechanic
Garage Talk with the Humble Mechanic
October 28, 2021
Our interview with the Humble Mechanic (aka - Charles) began with the notion that, for one reason or another, “everyone has a bad mechanic story.” One of Charles’ prime life missions is to shatter that notion, and to give voice to the vast majority of auto mechanics who simply wish to say, “we want to fix your car.” As a longtime industry professional, Charles now makes a living by creating dynamic and informative content for an ever-growing community of avid automotive enthusiasts, experts, and DIY mechanics.
Behind the Wrench
While we want to give a brief backstory to the origins of the Humble Mechanic, the title of this section also pays homage to Charles’ automotive podcast episodes where he dives “Behind the Wrench” with industry professionals such as Eric the Car Guy. Those who’ve seen the Humble Mechanic on YouTube probably remember the energy of his videos, a remarkable passion that’s stayed with him since his first days of bringing his auto expertise to the internet.
Charles began his journey as a dealership technician, eventually becoming the shop foreman after reaching a high level of mechanical proficiency. The attitude of the dealership was to develop and maintain a great relationship with its customers, and Charles enjoyed reframing the (sometimes problematic) narrative of auto mechanics with hard work and terrific service. After a while though, Charles recalls that he met his “goal of becoming a master tech, and didn’t want to be a service advisor.” He began to look for his next challenge.
Online Automotive Community
At the time, a strong online automotive platform did not exist. Car sales had a presence, but certainly not what Charles considered a “community” – an online resource for connecting, educating, and inspiring people interested in car mechanics. After a first attempt while still with the dealership, Charles decided he needed to “do it on his own” and taught himself video capture and editing, social media, and a host of other skills needed to get his idea off the ground. With a wife and a one-year old son at home, he took a risk and stepped away from a stable job to pursue his dream.
Long-time fans can appreciate the transformation of early-days Humble Mechanic in a 400 square foot car garage to the 940 square foot shop – both packed with a dozen or more cars at a time, on rotation and ranging from junker to gem. As videos gained viewership Charles expanded his website, kept up a steady presence on YouTube and Patreon, and brought value to the automotive community day after day. He continues the give and take from fans by choosing upcoming projects based on what’s interesting to him and what is an opportunity to serve followers and subscribers. A quick glance at his “Guest Posting” guidelines on his website gives a peek into the Humble Mechanic ethos.
Where to Start
If you’re new to the Humble Mechanic, don’t worry – there are a few good places to begin. Check these out:
- Drag Build: for a fun series, Gears and Gasoline challenged the Humble Mechanic to a $5,000 drag race build – which resulted in a nitrus blow-out and other interesting mechanical adventures…
- VR6 Engine Rebuild: Charles has a ton of videos with VR6 updates and parts changeovers. This video details the R32 engine rebuild and shows how to install cams, cam adjusters, a cylinder head, head gaskets, water pump, and has links to much more.
- Podcast: If you’re working in the garage or out for a long drive, the Humble Mechanic podcast covers a lot of ground from answering viewer questions to addressing national issues for the automotive community.
October Auto Care
One of Charles’ favorite fall season subjects when it comes to auto care is preparation. October is a great month to nip a few easy tasks in the bud before they have a chance to become a problem, and to adjust vehicle readiness for the coming changes in weather. Here are a few top tips from the Humble Mechanic to take into the garage this autumn:
- Vehicle battery. It’s #1 for a reason – a failed battery can leave you stuck in a hard spot or land you out in the hold. Inspect for cracks, corrosion, and loose wires every time you change your oil and watch out for signs of a dying battery. Carry jumper cables in your car but do not to jump a frozen battery.
- Wiper blades. As Charles says, “we don't think about them until they don't work.” Inspect periodically and change blades before they wear out – don’t wait for a reminder from heavy rainstorms or snow.
- While engine oil and transmission & brake fluids are always important, the onset of cold weather signals the time to check the antifreeze requirements for your vehicle and change washer fluid from a summer to winter blend.
- While October might be a little early for winter tires in most states, it’s a good idea to check tread levels and ensure they are good to go. Tire pressure will also fluctuate as the weather cools down, so once the thermometer begins to drop keep an eye on pressure levels and refill as necessary.
- It’s not a bad idea to throw a coat of wax on your car going into fall, especially if you live in the “salt belt” regions of the North East, Great Lakes, and other northern states that use road salt to help control transportation flow in heavy inclement weather.
WD-40® Brand Partner
When performing auto maintenance or working on other products, Charles takes care to use superior performance products such as those from the WD-40 Specialist® line. Some of his favorites are WD-40 Specialist Dry Lube for its dirt & dust resistant lubrication, WD-40 Specialist Silicone for use on plastic-to-metal components, and WD-40 Specialist Penetrant with EZ-REACH® to break up rust and save time on disassembly.
Pro Tip: To lubricate & protect engine lifts, jack stands, and other shop equipment with vertical surfaces, Charles uses WD-40 Specialist Gel Lube. Learn more in his video on YouTube featuring the Humble Mechanic using the product in action.