A while back, we counted down the Top 10 Web Shows for Black Thumbs. While any of those candidates is sure to supply hours of entertainment, we’re not sure it’s quite enough to get you through the long, cold months ahead. So, we’re back with four excellent YouTube channels for gearheads. We curated this list with quality over quantity in mind. So, if you want to learn and laugh, then go ahead and hit “Subscribe” ASAP because we’re certain these are winners: Donut Media, The Hoonigans, Engineering Explained, and Humble Mechanic.
Donut Media is the place where pop culture and car culture meet to form an irreverently funny and instructional series of web shows. A Wheelhouse episode is dropped every Monday, hosted by Nolan Sykes. “Wheelhouse explores the history, psychology, and sociology working behind the scenes of the car world.”
What does this mean exactly? Well, you’ll be sure to get a varied dose of wider car culture at the start of every week with topics like “Did Communists Make Any Good Cars?” and “The Politics of Potholes” to “Why People Love Porsche” and “What Makes a Great Race Track?”
Tune in on Wednesdays for “Science Garage” when Bart Bidlingmeyer breaks down in easy-to-digest terms things like how ignition systems work, the science of stock cars, and why diesel is cooler than gasoline. (Trust us when we say the Dad jokes only add to the shtick.)
Not to be outdone, James Pumphrey’s “Up To Speed” drops every Thursday giving you a sometimes-screamy, always-hilarious rundown on everything you need to know about your favorite makes and models. And now joining the lineup on Tuesdays is comedian Byron Bowers. Hosting the show “Miracle Whips,” Byron explores the very important question on every gearhead’s mind: If you could only drive one car for the rest of your life, what would it be? We’re stoked to see this show resurrected with Byron at the wheel. What can we say? We respond to his signature humor and tell-it-like-it-is style…
Started as a Rallycross racing team by Ken Block, The Hoonigans has now grown into an entire subculture and indomitable brand. The YouTube channel features daily videos covering all-things-hoonage, i.e. aggressive driving and the fun badassery that accompanies it. From wild builds to epic burnouts to the extremely serious and scientific experiment of seeing if banana peels will actually make a car spin out, à la Mario Kart style—these guys are serving up everything auto you never even knew you needed in your life.
Most exciting is the soon-to-arrive-any-day-now “GymkhanaTEN”—the tenth installment in Ken Block’s world-famous viral video series. Block amps things up for this anniversary, with five different racecars filmed in five different locations around the world. Promised to be “the most insane Ken Block film yet,” this is one you can’t afford to miss.
And if a daily dose on YouTube isn’t enough for you, their accompanying website offers plenty of entertaining content to hold you over. PLUS, The Hoonigans announced that an Amazon Original Unscripted Series telling the story behind “GymkhanaTEN” is dropping soon as well. This series gives behind-the-scenes access to fans, as it follows Block and his team as they create TEN. It also provides a look back at Block’s life up to this point, including the previous nine films.
Their mission statement to “just make cars fun” is one we can fully get behind.
If you’re the type of gearhead eager to understand the science behind your prized ride—and all its sweet modifications—this channel has the answers you seek. Host Jason Fenske is a graduated mechanical engineer with a passion for cars and he’s excited to share his insane wealth of knowledge with you. With a friendly demeanor, simple diagrams, and easy-to-understand explanations, Jason is the teacher you always wished for.
Covering topics like “Who Makes the Most Impressive Engine?” or “What is Double Clutching?” or “5 Suspension Mods That Can Ruin Your Car,” Jason applies a thoughtful and logical scientific method to his content. And with videos dating back to 2011, you’ll have plenty of said content to enjoy.
And if a new video every Wednesday isn’t enough to satisfy your thirst for automotive science, head over to the official website for legitimate lesson plans on how cars work, tool suggestions, a robust enthusiast forum, and incredibly sound advice for those considering a career in mechanics or engineering. Jason is also active on Facebook and Instagram—and is seriously raising the IQ level of information available on Twitter. With over 2 million subscribers, don’t make the mistake of dismissing this YouTube channel as “too technical.”
If you already tune into Engineering Explained, you’re probably familiar with Charles Sanville of Humble Mechanic, as he guest stars in several videos. Getting his start as a certified Volkswagen technician, Charles first launched his site and YouTube channel back in 2011 as way to better connect with his customers.
Charles teaches about cars and parts, offers DIY videos, product recommendations, and helpful tricks of the trade. Having trained and mentored young technicians for over a decade, he has a lot to offer via personal experiences, and shares it in a “humble” and approachable way. (Hence, the title.) While his content is aimed at a level above noob, it’s still enjoyable for all skill sets and is sure to teach you something new.
Videos are posted a few times a week, with companion content found on the podcast of the same name. There’s also a blog on the official site. And if you really love what Charles is serving up, purchase a Crew Membership. For $65 a year, you get exclusive videos, discounts, and VW/Audi training materials.
So, what are you waiting for? This content was crafted with enthusiasts like YOU in mind. Get cracking and start hittin’ those big red subscription buttons.