Thought on New Automotive Class

I’ve had a couple of personal requests to teach some automotive knowledge. Now, the rules of our shop make it interesting, as generally I’d teach such things with a project car (similar to the race car, but with far more issues). We also have some rules that make it interesting as well – for instance I need to get checked out to teach the lift, as people need to lift their own cars, but I’ll work that out.

So, I’ve been brainstorming. I could teach some basic “here’s how you change your oil”, but I’ve found that most of my own automotive knowledge has come through fixing random things, and then fixing the things I messed up on my way there.

To that end, I’m thinking of something like an “open shop” time, where we’ll put someone’s car up on the lift and either diagnose problems or help fix them. This does require a couple of things, first the aforementioned lift cert, and people that are willing to let newbies touch their car (under some guidance). This would be recurring, most likely once or twice a month, until we get bored of it.

There would be standard disclaimers, such as if things get messed up… it’s your car. Makes it a tough proposition, but I’m thinking enough people may be interested in sharing it might make it worth out while. I have a '64 Newport I can bring in to get some love, to get the ball rolling (it’s for sale if anyone wants it!)

So, your thoughts?

  • I’ll participate, and let people touch my car
  • I want to help or learn, but no car to use
  • Not Interested
  • This is a horrible idea

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It may fall under the “Why automotive doesn’t have a fix your brakes class” reasoning, but that will be up to the chairs, officers, & BoD.

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I chatted with @hon1nbo a bit, and that would be one of the “forbidden” topics, and also why this would all be “at your own risk”. I mostly want to give a space where all the stupid questions can be asked and worked through.


“To that end, I’m thinking of something like an “open shop” time, where a member will volunteer put their car up on the lift to diagnose problems while others willing to learn can ask questions, look on, learn, maybe help fix them(with instruction from vehicle owner member).”

The member volunteer will likely spend 3x-5x the time fixing his car with the right group of students than if they were to do it themselves without the crowd though; or he could fix it in half the time with the the right crowd. :slight_smile:

On the other hand, the learning experience for the learner members would be awesome. At the very least, they can walk away with the knowledge of what not to do. :smiley:

I recall the last time I helped someone with a turbo Subaru who had bought a new aftermarket exhaust(because the dealer wanted to charge him $3k something for a new catalytic converter. the exhaust with the hi flow cat cost less than $3k) install it.
The dealer told him that it was a bad cat due to the error code they were getting(lean or bad or something, I don’t recall if he told me the exact code or not)
While we were installing it I found the real cause of the trouble code(vacuum leak in between MAF & engine, exhaust leak between turbo & cat).
It was a learning experience for him, and it reminded me why I avoid going to the dealer unless I have no other choice. :expressionless:

I also recall the time when @know helped me install brake cables, the task took much faster to finish than it would have had he not helped.


I have recently purchased a truck that needs some work… but I wouldnt want newbies besides myself touching it. People that I trust and have personally seen work on cars, sure. Like maybe a demo class. Loose steering (but i think my roommate and I are doing that this weekend), glow plug check engine lights (still needs diagnosis), ABS check engine lights (still needs diagnosis), general maintenance (fuel filters, oil change, transmission drain and refill, air filter), fix side mirror motors?, fix radio (it doesnt turn off), replace a couple of outside pieces with junk yard pieces, diagnosis a slow leak and fix.

Also my daily driver could use a couple of improvements. My A/C started chirping and I occasionally have a weird electrical issue with my dashboard. Nothing major but its on my to do list.

I have been mostly planning to do that stuff at home with my roommate over the next few months, but if circumstances were right I could be talked into bring in one of them in and ordering the parts to do it. I just have several things you could pick from.

Edit: The truck is too big for the DMS lift. Its easy for me to get under it without a lift though. So take that into consideration.


Basically, as long as it doesn’t involve brakes, the SRS, or airbags I don’t mind classes on basically whatever as long as they are on the schedule. However since this is an open format it won’t qualify for honorarium.


I would like to have the lift cert for when something does inevitably go wrong on my truck. I don’t have a problem with newbies messing with it (supervised) It can’t be worse than me digging around in it…:rofl:

Just curious, how would things need to be taught in automotive to qualify for honorarium and still be practical?

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I think something like this helps us at least two fold.

It helps build community & helps members learn. Both are equally important.


either teaching training required tools, or has to be a class making something with a curriculum. Those are requirements of honorariums in general.

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Good to know, though I’d do this anyway. I have the engine class I’m prepping that has at least an outline of a curriculum and more of a purpose, though I’ll probably still give the honorarium to the committee (especially if we buy the engine)

It will take longer, but as long as we have some fun and learn some things, then as you say, it can be awesome.

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I’m thinking this is fine too, especially if you don’t mind some gawkers watching as we figure out what’s up. :slight_smile:

What about a “How to change your tire” class, including what kind of jack to buy and where to put it without denting your car? I’d be very interested in that.


Could certainly be covered in something like this. We have a number of floor jacks and can even show how your emergency jack would work.


But we would be making friends and memories…


I’d pay to learn to change a tire. If the class doesn’t qualify for honorarium, you can pre-sell spaces with PayPal, Square, Stripe or cash. It’s good form to donate some portion of cash classes to the committee for wear and tear on the equipment.

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I think you could take it a step further, and add other easy maintenance things like replacing the blades on your windshield wipers, checking fluid levels, what kinds fluids go where…

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I have a 22yr (at least) Chevy trailblazer that needs to keep running (enough to do local errands, get me to DMS etc).

Happy to have it put on the lift (if it’s not too big) and let the ongoing class look and tinker with it. As long as people are gentle and supervised I don’t care who touches it.

I am very interested in this class to see if I can absorb some knowledge.

It currently has the engine light on (again)
and is making noises. I’m sure there are other issues. I literally black-out when the mechanic is talking to me because it’s so fear inducing.

Sounds like there’s enough interest to get started at least!

I did check into some liability that people keep warning me about. It’d be pretty hard to prove that we owed a duty of care, and that it was violated, and that it resulted in both loss and damage. There’s very little case law, both against makerspaces and teaching institutions in general, about this type of tort.

While nothing stops anybody from suing, I’m going to be very upfront about the fact this is knowledge sharing and I am not a master mechanic or anything.

So y’all, when is a good time to do this? This is when I’m available. We’ll start with one and go from there. Topics will be driven by what is desired:

  • Sunday Morning
  • Sunday Afternoon
  • Sunday Evening
  • Monday Evening
  • Tuesday Evening
  • Wednesday Evening
  • Thursday Evening
  • Friday Evening
  • Saturday Afternoon
  • Saturday Evening

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