It takes a lot of gumption to work on your own car, whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced wrencher searching for misplaced motivation. Personally, I've got some parts waiting to be installed on my own BMW 128i but have been lacking the drive lately to do it. One of my go-to methods for raising my wrenching spirits is watching people on YouTube do their own wrenching, and then saying out loud, by myself, awkwardly, "screw it, if they can take the time to do it, so can I."
Here are five YouTube channels in no particular order that I've really taken a shine to (they double as a source for gearhead ASMR, too). They're helpful, entertaining, and thoroughly gumption-summoning. None of them even cover the BMW 128i or its N52 heart, but they're fascinating sources of knowledge nonetheless. All of them deserve way more subscribers, too, so let’s check them out.
This channel might be my current favorite. Sreten, the guy in front of the camera, lives in Hamburg, Germany, and takes really good care of a bunch of excellent BMWs. He's brought old 8 Series, 7 Series, 5 Series, and 3 Series back from the dead and has a very thorough attention to detail. Watching his videos has inspired me to experience a little mission creep while working under the hood of my own Bimmer. I take my sweet time, clean stuff as I move along, replace stuff that probably functions fine but doesn't look good, and possess high standards for how my ride functions. This has led to several consecutive weeks (perhaps a record for 1 Series owners) of no warning lights lit up on my dash, so it's been nothing but a positive influence!
This dude's channel is dedicated to some immensely cool B5 Audi S4 tuning. Sadly, it looks like he hasn't uploaded anything in a while, but his past videos are aplenty and high quality. While I don't own a B5 S4 (I wish I did), his video on pulling the motor is so friggin' good—he explains all the details so well, and it's a testament that if you take your time, have the right tools, and follow all the steps, it's not as intimidating as one might think. I also really enjoy his video on replacing the timing belt and timing the B5 S4's twin-turbo 2.7-liter engine. I’ll definitely check out his content that covers swapping in a badass built VR6.
As great as this channel is, it's also dangerous to my wallet, as I can't help but scour Craigslist for a B5 S4 project immediately after watching it.
I Do Cars
This channel is mostly dedicated to tearing down common engines and figuring out what made them fail, which is so cool in itself. The owner, Eric, runs an auto salvage business in the St. Louis area, and between his entertaining sense of humor and no-B.S. filming methods, he's put together some excellent videos. He also makes videos about wrenching on cars in his own stable, which I must say are all killer. Last I checked, he's completely redoing some things on a recent 996 Porsche 911 purchase, and even had (or still has, I'm not sure) a Lotus Esprit V8.
Based in the United Kingdom, this dude picks up salvage cars and restores them into clean, usable transportation. He doesn't seem to do much in terms of modification, but his videos on slowly rebuilding stuff back to its former glory are great nonetheless. He's done wrenching forays into some cars I've always really dug, too, including a Mark Five Volkswagen Golf GTI and R32.
Greg Peters is an authority on all things NA and NB Miatas. Well, actually all generations, but he's done some extensive work to the first two of this iconic little sports car and shows no sign of slowing down. Based in San Diego (poor guy, he's so far away from SoCal tracks), he's created a bunch of thorough explainers on how to install a wideband O2 sensor, building engines, swapping bushings and suspension components, and more. Unlike that famous line from The Fast and the Furious, you don't have to spend 10 grand on a standalone fuel management system, you just need some motivation, instruction, and all the necessary components to get Megasquirt working. His channel's here to help you along with that.
What are some of your favorite YouTube channels for this kind of stuff? Especially ones that maybe don't have the highest subscriber counts.