Passing the DIY torch


I’m showing my 14-year-old how to replace the brakes on our '98 BMW. He’s way more into it than I hoped, which is probably because he’s putting in labor now to get the car when he gets his license, ha ha

I’m curious how others have shown their kids the ropes because I have two more behind him.

What has your family done?


@LarryWebster This is a great question. I know for our family it all about the concept of helping. My father was no expert mechanic but he liked to do his own work. From fixing the lawn tractor to doing simple oil changes in the driveway; he wanted us to be involved. He loved when either my brother or I would assist him in the driveway or garage. And I think my brother and I enjoyed helping as much as he appreciated the help. It definitely paid off as we both now work in the automotive industry and he now calls us with all his mechanical questions.


@KacyS I keep the sessions short. Stop when we have a success. I think you always want them to leave feeling good. Patience helps.


I would almost say to leave the project or take a break before a success at times. Leave it with a “We need to do research because “X” isnt working.” Then if it stays on the mind and have to think about the theory behind it.

I guess I do that now, but not sure if 14 year old me would have tolerated it.


Looking for some sort of project car for me and Finn. My main issue (aside from lack of funds) is that my garage space is limited. Also, by “project” car I mean one that runs when I buy it, but I can have fun upgrading parts and maintaining it. Got my eyes on a 1978 Saab 99 Turbo at the moment. I’ve found that there are a decent amount of parts available and some good online forums for getting info.


@Ben Get a vintage scooter. It’ll take as long and cost as much as a car, but takes up much less space.


@Ben - I would echo what @Mike stated. A vintage motorcycle or scooter can be great fun and can have a huge before/after look with minimal investment. It’s a great way to have consistent “wins” because the projects usually take a little less time.

There is still plenty of affordable vintage motorcycles out there begging for restoration or at least fixing up.


I bought a lawn kart for $150 and my kids and I fixed that up. There wasn’t a bunch to do, but enough for them to get the idea. Then we drove it around the neighborhood a few times before realizing we had no use for it.

Oh also: You can just get a an old lawnmower that you can simple take apart.


@Kyle and @Mike - I have a 70s Kawasaki KE100 in my garage. Finn loves it. We work on it from time to time but it really needs a full rebuild. Maybe that’s what I’ll start on with him next Spring/Summer!