Why I Stopped / Newsletter Response

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3 months 3 days ago #201057 by Xander
Why I Stopped / Newsletter Response was created by Xander
I don't know if Eric will read this or if it even means much since I'm just one person in a pool of a million ETCG fans, but I read the 1/19 newsletter and felt like I should respond at least from my point of view.

**Disclaimer: This will be long**

I started watching the EricTheCarGuy because I was in a desperate'ish situation and as mention in the newsletter, I really felt the connection. Everything in the videos was relatable, the being poor and not having the expensive equipment, yet finding a diy workaround or improvised tool.

These videos made me want to watch more, to learn more about car mechanics even if only to work on my own car.

I am not a mechanic, not by any stretch. I'm a technically inclined IT guy. It's not even what I really want to do which is web development, but so far it's just not been in the cards for me.

Why is that important? Besides being what I enjoy doing, a web developer is paid a lot more (in general and definitely at senior levels). This goes to why I stopped watching EricTheCarGuy.

It may or may not already be apparent, but for me and my situation, watching EricTtheCarGuy began leading to depression. I saw all these really cool videos on fixing things up and making modifications, with my Celica GTS it got me really excited to work on my car. That excitement became a HARD crash.

I had all these ideas, I figured out everything I needed to get my car in top condition, then I figured out what it would cost. I'm not specifically poor mind you, but my budget didn't leave room for consistently dropping big chunks of money for repairs. In one of Eric's videos, he gave the advice to take the money it would cost to have a mechanic to do it and invest it in tools, build up a collection that way, which is pretty sound advice... Unless you can't afford it.

In another of Eric's videos he gave the advice that it's cheaper to do maintenance and spend a little now rather than have a big expense in the future. Again, completely good advice if you can afford it. When you can't it becomes a gambling game. How potentially bad can an issue become vs how bad can I not afford it. For example, my Celica has no AC. Blower and everything works, probably just needs recharged. However I just can't drop $50-$100 to bother to fix it.

A more real example, my Celica needs the front ball joint replaced. It actually got to the point where the bolt that secures it came off. The bolt stayed in place and it didn't catastrophically fail, but it was bad. Replacing the bearing didn't seem like to much of a challenge, the part was pretty reasonable, and I have a solid tool collection so I decided to replace it myself. I got to the point of removing the ball joint, needed the tool. The OEM tool is rather pricey and specialized. I tried renting a universal from AutoZone, but none of them worked for it. I THINK it comes in some of the bigger universal set, but those cost about as much as the individual tool. So ultimately I gave up on it. There's an alternative way to get it off but requires removing the axle to have room, but that also requires tools I don't have. I was able to use the nuts from the replacement to get it secured as a temp fix.

Mechanics aside, Eric mentioned in the newsletters he doesn't like social media or what it represents at least which stood out to me. That he likes having a personal interaction with people. I think that is also part of what makes him great. I wish I could be that person sometimes. I like the idea of it. Just being neighbors and going over to hang out on weekends, going up to people with warm greetings, ect. From my side I just can't. Social anxieties and what not. Once I know someone, I absolutely am known to talk a lot, but the initial contact is such a grind that most people get put off.

For me, social media gives me enough of a barrier that I can comfortably talk to random strangers. Xander (Leon Alexander) isn't even my real name. It's more an online persona where I can be free in a way that I can't in person. Oddly I handle interactions in real life very well so there's no reason for my nervousness. First time I went to replace break pads, they were rust welded on, it was a Sunday, and I absolutely could not get it off. I actually ended up having to call a 24/7 mechanic to come out and get it off with a torch. We got along great. I let him bum a cigarette, he explained a bit about my brakes, cut me a discount since he wasn't having to do most of the work, offered to use his corporate/business discount to get me parts, ect.

When I go into a parts store, I'm almost always met with gruff people which just amplifies the difficulty in trying to make that personal connection

More to the point, without things like social media and these entertainment platforms, it reminds me that these warm kind people really are out there in a way that would otherwise be inaccessible without it.

I don't think though that Eric should feel bad or the need to apologize for his dislike of social media, the ability to be so personable and do so much good for people is already such a gift. It allows him to do projects like when he was doing free car restorations and repairs for people who didn't have the money to get it done themselves.

Eric mentions not thinking with a social media mind in that if he followed social media he wouldn't care what Eric was doing right now behind the scenes. I think there in could be part of the missing pieces. When he had a small dirty little shop and limited tools, we got to see a lot of who Eric was as a person. I feel like it made people want to get to know him better. It's like "look, he struggles like the rest of us, yet still does these amazing things".

I would argue that after getting the bigger shop and super expensive tools, it would become even more important to see that real side. Honestly, I think that's why so many people who've stuck around like the Fairmont videos. Yeah it's a neat car, but more than that, it's a passion, it's a project that is wrestled with and overcome, the personality shines though. People want to see the projects, but they want to know EricTheCarGuy too. That's why people will travel from all over to meet him. It's not cause he's a Youtube celeb with cool cars, it's because he seems like a genuine cool person that you'd like to hang out with.

If he was my next door neighbor, I’d be over his house every weekend handing him wrenches while he fixed or built things.


Yeah, absolutely that^ Unfortunately we can't all have Eric as the neighbor to constantly work on projects with. The videos are a 'next best thing'. We can't be there handing Eric a wrench, but we can sure watch him and feel like we're there with him.

Complete speculation on my part, but maybe that's part of what is creating the depression. Being on this side of the camera we can imagine being there, but from his side being in front of the camera, not so much. I think that in part, now that he his life has such fulfillment, what's missing is being able to just hang out and work on projects, not worrying about if he's capturing the right angles, not having to stop and move a camera, or stop on a project to go edit videos for most of the day. I imagine at this point it would feel like the creating videos was just getting in the way or slowing him down.

Anyway, I'll wrap it up here. I felt like a lot of effort and heart went into the newsletter and seems like he's searching for answers. So I figured I'd just throw my opinion out there. If even part of it helps out or gives him happiness, then this was a success.

Vehicle: 2001 Toyota Celica GT-S
Trans: 6spd Standard
Engine: 2ZZ-GE

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