I may be yelling into the void here, but I’m sure there are plenty of you that love cars and don’t understand the entire mechanics of a vehicle. And that’s ok. Not all of us were born from our mothers’ wombs with wrenches in-hand and a need to take everything encountered apart, just to eventually put it back together.
Admittedly, I am not technologically inept when it comes to cars, but I’m not really the savant like Jason Torchinsky or David Tracy either. On my list of garage accomplishments: I once rescued a friend’s van in Detroit with my MacGyvering skills (drunk and in the middle of the night). I still occasionally do the oil changes and basic maintenance on my car and motorcycles. I also helped tear apart the top ends of my engine(s) when my GM vehicles hit that magical mileage that always leads to a head gasket leak. I can do stuff, but leave me alone too long, there’s still a 50/50 chance that I figure it out or potentially destroy something.
If you’re in the same situation, maybe you too, appreciate anything that will further expand your knowledge without losing your only means of transportation. Let me introduce you to something that maybe could expand your horizons: the Car Mechanic Simulator.
In this game you are the car buyer, mechanic, paint technician and seller, which in most dealerships, are all separate jobs, so good luck juggling that work!
You’re essentially starting the game by repairing a lot of old barn-found, Honda-looking cars, with the names obviously changed to avoid licensing (talking about you, very obvious Honda CRX with whatever name that is). Once in your parking lot, you’ll buff out the rust, repaint, then take care of the “innards.”
The slightly beneficial aspect of this game is the repair portion, where you learn to identify, disassemble, purchase and reassemble parts on the vehicle correctly. You can’t just remove a part. There’s a sequence to the process. If you need to replace a portion of the exhaust, you have to remove parts as-needed to properly install them. Need to replace the air filter? You’ll have to remove the air filter cover first.
You can even switch between the car fully together, or separated to better see where something goes or what needs to be attended to.
To those of you that are pure gearheads and good with your hands, you’re lightyears ahead of many of us, and this game will likely bore or irritate you. But for others, it provides insight into how things fit together in cars. The lather, rinse and repeat to the repairs provides enough repetition to help you remember basically what parts go where, as we know it differs from model to manufacturer. And the best part, it’s a cheap way to gain perspective and insight without having to make a major investment in tools and a bucket of orange scrub.
This version was originally released for Switch back in 2019, so it’s not a new game by any means. In fact, other gaming platforms like Steam, XBox and PlayStation also carry versions of the game. XBox takes it one step further by featuring branded simulators to work on vehicles like Porsche and Dodge.
This is not meant to be an exciting game. I’m sure if you had to actually bid on cars and had time limits on repairs or other freak accidents happening (like pinching your finger between the car and the airlift ...) maybe it would spice things up. But this is meant to be a game, much like a puzzle, where you “work” on a car. And maybe, you learn a little in the process.
Let’s be real. You’re not going to become the best car mechanic ever, as the game touts, but you’ll at least be worthy of your title in Nintendo’s digital realm, and maybe that’s enough.