Tag Archive for: DIY

So you might be thinking, “Why the hell is Charles talking crap about the internet and fixing car”. I spend almost every second of the day working on cars, or working on this site (and some other side projects), why would I say something like that? Heck this community even has its own Automotive Forum.

Well, for one, its true! The internet CAN NOT fix your car. You can not type “replace my timing belt” into Google and expect it to be replaced. That would be stupid right? Well the same goes for everything else. I wish I could count the number of times someone has come in to the dealer and said “Well, (insert website here) said that this is what is wrong with my car”. Oh, and you usually have to say it with a snotty voice. 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that customers need to be informed. I think the more information that the customer has, the better an experience they will have. Doing research on issues with your car is an important to help from being taken advantage of. I would recommend having the following information.

  • Understand your owners manual.This will also give you maintenance information too.
  • Your service history, Unless you have 1 place you bring your car, always have service information with you
  • If you do find some information about a problem you are having, print it out, and bring it to the repair place. It very well could help gt your car fixed faster and cheaper. Just don’t act like a tool about it.

I rely really heavy on information that customers provide. Researching the issue you are having with your car might help you explain the problem better. Even if it does not apply to the car. I would much rather not need information, than not have it.

I guess what I am saying is it all boils down to attitude. I would like to beleive that when a customer puts a lot of time into researching their car it’s because they LOVE their car. The sad truth is, it comes off like they just want to prove the dealer wrong(sounds like my mother in-law). If you find information that might help your mechanic, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell them. Let them figure out if it applies or not.

Just to be 100% clear, I love the internet. I dig all of the really cool social media platforms(I think Pinterest is about to BLOW up), the amount of information is endless. I used YouTube nonstop when building this site. I had no idea how to do any  of this stuff. I am really thankful for the help I got and continue to get. But I would never expect someone to just do it for me. I studied the information, and did the work myself. That is exactly how it works. 🙂

Since VW issued a few new updates last week, it seems like a perfect time to talk about recalls, and what that actually means.

If you peruse the VW Facebook page, or any other platform that people can complain(cough “vw forum” cough), you will find that so many people think that any repair should be a recall. As we all know, just because something is broken, doesn’t mean it warrants a recall. So what the heck is a recall anyway? I did some research and had a hard time finding a definitive answer. So you get my interpretation of what a recall is. To me a recall is,

A vehicle repair that is required to maintain safe operation of a vehicle. A known issue has been identified by the NTSB, and the car manufacturer is required to notify customers of an outstanding repair.

Here are the key things you need to understand about a recall.

  1. The car manufacturer will notify customers of the issue and repair
  2. They are generally a safety related issue, but not always
  3. There will not be a charge for the repair

So does that mean if you get a flat tire, you should have a recall on your car? NOPE! Does it mean that a car company put the cup holder above the radio, and because YOU spilled coffee into the radio the company has to fix it? Yet again, not so much, even though it was a stupid design. 😉 Yep, everything is not a recall. I would recommend not fretting though, just because your car has a recall does not mean that you are in danger.

I remember VW had a recall on some of the A5(2005-2007) Golf and Jetta. My wife called me asking how many cars had headlights that have caught on fire. Well would you believe that we have not had ANY headlights catch on fire? She had seen a segment on the news talking about Jetta and Golf headlights. The news said something completely stupid about headlights and now they would explode(or something equally stupid). It turns out, we installed caps in the adjusters. No big deal. Recalls can expire, so make sure you have your information on file with the manufacturer.

Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)
Now we have Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs for short. A TSB is issued by the manufacturer, but not mandated by the government. Basically all a TSB does is give a mechanics information to make a repair. It does not mean ANYTHING beyond that. There is no warranty associated with a TSB. There are people that will argue that if a manufacturer issues a TSB, they know there is a problem. If they know there is a problem, then the manufacturer should pay for the repair. I say it is worth a phone call, to ask if they will help you out. Officially, a TSB only give repair information, NOTHING else.

Required Vehicle Update (RVU)
I am not sure if other car companies have this, but I know VW does. A RVU is somewhere between a recall and a TSB. Customers are not notified about the repair, but they don’t have to pay for the repair. There are a lot of software updates done this way.

Every time a customer brings thier car to my dealer, we check for all open recalls, and RVUs. TSBs are only used if a customers car has a certain issue. It can be sort of confusing, but if you bring your car to a good dealer, they should be checking these things for you. If you DIY, give your local dealer a call and ask them to check your VIN(vehicle identification number) and check for any open recalls.

I hope that clears up Recalls, TSBs and other releases of information.
Remember, sign up for email alerts, you will be the first to get post updates, insider info, first dibs on contests, which will ramp up as the new site gets finished. Also, check out the Automotive forum, its not just for mechanics.

Oh, here is the retooled version of the new logo. It will be on Facebook. Just a sign of things to come

So this 07 VW Passat gets towed in on Friday. The customer said something on the engine broke.

We towed it in the shop and found out the engine mount on the passenger side of the car was broken. This is not something that happens all that often, but I have seen it before.

We installed the engine support and removed the mount. This is what we found.


It was obvious that someone had “repaired” the mount. The problem withy the way that it broke is, it actually broke the lower part of the engine. The proper way to fix that is to replace the engine block(the block is the bottom end of the engine). I think that someone would be able to weld it, but we have to stand behind our work.

We called the customer and told him what had happened. He got really mad at us, saying “You guys did all the work on this car”. We had done work on the car, but it was MONTHS ago, and there is not one person in my dealer that would do something that awful.

The customer came by to take a look at the damage. The estimate was in the $7,000 price range. Obviously, he wasn’t a happy guy. Well, it turns out his son had done something to the car. I don’t even know what he was trying to do, but he is the one that added all the washers and nuts on the mount.


The customer decided to trade the car in for a new car. The shop will most likely bandage it back together, and send it to auction. Side Note- these are the problems cars at small buy here pay here lots have.

I am all for DIY, just know when your out of your league. Also, know what to call a professional. If you get in a bind like that, just STOP and get some help!!


Today is finally the day. I am launching TechnicianDatabase.com

From pretty much day one of starting this site, I knew that I wanted a better place for people to connect. I wanted to build a place for people to connect with mechanics and learn the truth about our jobs, the industry, car repairs, and so on. What I didn’t expect to find was great relationships with other mechanics. Where it is highly experienced mechanics, guys in or going to tech school, or just hobbyists, the connection has been outstanding.

The site went live today. I also started a few threads just to get things rolling. Here is the VERY important part about the forum, It is for you guys! This is just a continuation of our community. With that, make sure you are all cool to each other, and we all need to work to keep out spam!

One other thing, I started a “First 50” thread in the “Meet and Greet” section. What that will be is, the first 50 people to make a post will be forever locked as the “First 50” founders of the site. It be fair, I borrowed this idea from The Road to 100k. Its a great forum about building websites and blogs. If you guys ever plan on starting a blog, go to the forum and check it out. Everyone there is awesome and TONS of help. I am Humblemechanic on that forum(go figure). Oh, back to the 1st 50. When the first 50 have been locked in, I will give something cool away to someone in the 1st 50. I opened the forum to the folks on my email list this morning. I wanted to give them 1st shot at signing up. That is just one benefit of being on the email list. 😉

One more thing, as far as the logo I talked about yesterday, she didn’t have it ready. That is one problem with working with such an amazingly talented artist. She is actually a tattoo artist. On average, she books 6+ months out for an appointment. I am kinda bummed that she didn’t have it, but for real, this chick is crazy busy, and more importantly, it will be amazing.

Happy Friday guys!

Today I give you some tips on changing a tire. I also show you how the heck to use that jack for your Volkswagen. The usage of the jack is VW specific, but the tips and tricks will apply any time you have to change a tire.

I am still working out the kinks of shooting videos, but I think this came out pretty good.  No editing at all..  That is my goal, shoot and post!

Here are some close up pics of the jack, the tool kit and the proper place to put the jack!


Hey guys!

I wanted to my hand at shooting a video today. I shot this to show you guys the tool kit that I built for my wifes truck.  I spent just under $100 for everything that I got.


After watching the video, I realized I forgot to mension fuses. I couldn’t find any fuse packs at the store. I will try and find some and update you guys on where you can get them.  I am still trying to figure out what the hell I am doing so bear with me guys..  Also, Not the quality I filmed in was AWESOME, on the blog, it sucks, I will work on better quality…

Please post what you think of the video.  Is this something you guys want more of?  Did it suck?

Your inside look into the world of car repair and Volkswagen Dealer service

People tell me, almost daily, “I can just do that myself”. Normally, I laugh it off and think “good luck with that”. The truth is, lots of jobs can be done by someone with very little skills and just a few tools. I wont be teaching you how to do your our work, but here are some things that you need to consider when tackling a DIY repair on your car.


I think that about 70% of people do not let a mechanic fix their car because of price. We all look to save a buck everywhere we can. Saving $25 by replacing your own air filter seems like a good idea right? If your time is worth $25 per hour, and it takes you 3 hours, NOT worth it. If you can do it in about 1 hour or less, do it!


You will see that most of these completely overlap! If you can pay a mechanic to do a job that take him, or her 45 minutes, but you take you 4 hours, pay for it. You will spend more time screwing around with it than its worth, pay it and go do something fun, or go back to work!


Some jobs, most on VWs, require specialized tools. This can be something as common as pliers to remove clamps or Torx drive bits. It a tool that is only used for 1 certain job on 1 type of car. If the repair in question MIGHT require on of these tools, consider paying of the repair. If you can justify buying to tools(this is something I NEVER have a problem with:)) then it might be something you want to consider fixing yourself.


This one is tricky. There is so many great resources online to get repair information, that anyone can learn anything. A friend of mine Katie used a YouTube video to learn how to replace a filter in her car! The look on her face was a look of pure pride! The information is out there, don’t use that as an excuse.


This one is EASY. If you love working on your car, then DO IT! The cost of the tools, time, know-how will all be worth it. It will be worth it because you will enjoy the time working on your car.


There is a DIY caution that I want to give everyone. If you decide that you are going to work on your own car, I support that 100%! (I mean that is one of the points of this blog!) Just understand that if something gets messed up, it is NOT covered under warranty. It will most likely cost you more now. A mechanic will have to undo what you did, then fix the initial problem

Here are some really great DIY things that I recommend people doing(unless you are my customer)

  • Wiper Blades
  • Light Bulbs(some are a pain, ask me if you are not sure)
  • Cabin Air Filters
  • Engine Air Filters(some VW filters suck, ask me 1st)

There are other things that are DIY, but the the maintenance stuff is easier! I left off spark plugs because they need to be properly torqued( you need a torque wrench). I also left off oil changes. In my mind, its too much work, a big mess. My dealer charged ~$14 in labor for that service. WELL WORTH IT!

What do you guys like to do on your cars? Did I forget anything easy that people like to DIY?