“The Vigor is how I got fired from Acura,” said EricTheCarGuy, an Acura technician-turned-Internet celebrity who found success as one of the first how-to auto repair video creators online. “We replaced an engine in a car, and the parts manager never put the engine on the books when he got paid. He pocketed the money. Because I was the one who installed the engine, they suspected me of being in on the scam. That’s how I lost my job of eight years — that Acura Vigor.”
Today, it’s come full-circle: nearly 1 million subscribers follow EricTheCarGuy on YouTube, where his videos have about 150 million views. His website, EricTheCarGuy.com, reveals the hidden hindrances that can slow down DIY car repair. He helps families through Fixing It Forward, a project that helps families in need get their vehicles back on the road to get life back to normal. And, thanks to a recent partnership with Pull-A-Part, he’s tracked down rare and hard-to-find OEM parts for the two Acura Vigor projects that link him to his past and future.
“The car I own now was owned by a customer who, after I finished servicing the car, came to the service writer, asked for the tech and wanted to shake my hand because the car had never run so good,” Eric said. “Eight years later, I got a call from the customer. Their mother, who owned the car, passed away. They wanted to know if I’d take the car for $200. I gave them $500, and that’s how I got the car I have now.”
Eric recently recorded a new series of videos co-created for DIYandDrive, the official Pull-A-Part blog. In these videos, Eric guides first-time DIY mechanics through repair processes that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars at a dealer. Educating and empowering new audiences is the goal of the project, as new videos go live through the remainder of 2016.
“My followers were already onto this,” Eric said. “Since I’ve started going to Pull-A-Part, it’s become an addiction. It’ll be new to some followers, and it will give them another alternative — but, ultimately, the goal is the same: to help viewers who watch my videos, whether in shortform or in long diatribes.”
Eric remembers going to salvage yards with his grandfather when he was as young as 12 years old. Since he was young, he quips, he’s definitely needed his tetanus shot. Upon visiting Pull-A-Part for the first time, he noticed the accessibility and approachability of the yard itself. Unlike other full-service salvage yards, Pull-A-Part’s open-display yard allows access to what Eric calls an “even playing field”, where every car and part is fully visible to end customers who can evaluate the condition of every part they pull themselves. Another benefit to the open model: full access to hidden treasure, like the Acura Vigor Eric spotted on the yard during a recent photoshoot.
“To me, driving around in an Acura Vigor is a giant middle finger to the service manager who fired me out of simple suspicion,” said Eric, who now has a multitude of project cars. “I have my own business now — I help people as opposed to being attached to one brand. I’m done with it and onto something new.”