Kick The Tyres Of Car Mechanic Simulator 2014

By Craig Pearson on November 4th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


For the purposes of this news post, I am going to run with the question that the Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 press release ponders: “Have you ever wondered what’s it like to own a mechanic workshop?” Yes. Yes I have. I long for the nuts, the bolts, the oil changes, and the satisfying clink of metal tools on metal bits. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of, but because of a horrendous allergy to the smell of pine, and a fear of breaking brakes, I am unable to be one. If only there was a way that I could have all the work of a car mechanic, but with none of the responsibility? If only I had a pair of trailers that would somehow lead the way, like a racing line to my heart.

That’s Car Mechanic Simulator 2014. It lets you peel apart a car’s outer layers, deal with customer demands, and then put it all back together again and hope those left over bolts are just spares. It looks ridiculously satisfying: turning the terror of car maintenance into a 3D puzzle., The question I have now is does the second trailer show a simplified method of stripping a car down, or is it is basically accurate? Someone out there please tell me.

It’s out this month, and I really want to watch a Tim Stone long play of it.

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53 Comments »

Top comments

  1. randomnine says:

    It doesn’t teach anything about the tools you’re using. It also misses out all the possible fun with bolts seizing, snapping, stripping their threads and generally being bastards (which is part of fixing any car that’s seen its fair share of British winters). It’s skipping maybe 70% of the steps involved and all of the swearing. The actual job takes 20 minutes or more a side and involves several non-obvious precautions to ensure you don’t ruin something or die.

    For an idea of how simplified or accurate it is, here’s a walkthrough of a brake pad change compared to the one in the second video. I’ve bolded the steps which are actually featured in the video:

    1. Loosen the tension on all five wheelnuts before jacking the car up; trying to do this after will just spin the wheel.
    2. Chock the opposite rear wheel so it won’t fall off the jack, then jack the car up.
    3. Undo and remove wheelnuts.
    4. Remove wheel.
    5. Remove caliper and hang it nearby with some wire, since the hose is still attached.
    6. Remove pads (from the caliper, not the disc).
    7. Attempt to remove brake disc. Hit the f***ing thing with a hammer until it actually comes off, because it’s inexplicably welded itself to the hub over the years.
    8. Clean hub surface before fitting new brake disc so it’ll fit properly.
    9. Fit new disc.
    10. Replace anti-squeal shims or carefully lubricate the back of the pads so the brakes don’t squeal.
    11. Remove brake fluid reservoir cap and remove some fluid (if near max).
    12. Force or wind the brake caliper pistons back so the new, thicker pads will fit.
    13. Check brake fluid level and refit brake fluid reservoir cap.
    14. Refit caliper. Torque bolts up to spec from service manual.
    15. Refit wheel and wheel nuts, working in a star pattern so the wheel centres properly.
    16. Let car down off jack and remove chocks.
    17. Torque up wheel nuts in a star pattern. Check manual for torque settings.
    18. Bed in the brake pads according to manufacturer’s instructions (if necessary) so they actually work first time you try a hard stop.
    19. Change the brake pads/disc on the other side too so the car won’t pull to one side under braking.
    20. Check wheel nut torques again after 100 miles so the wheel doesn’t fall off.

    So it’s quite simplified, and this is already one of the simpler tasks you can do. That said, the steps and parts that are shown are all broadly correct and necessary.

  1. luukdeman111 says:

    Every time one of these odd simulators comes up I always wonder why they all use the exact same title fond? Who started that trend?

    • jellydonut says:

      Microsoft Flight Simulator and all its Microsoft stablemates like the first train simulator, etc.

  2. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    This is surprisingly realistic. There’s not a thing wrong with that brake disc but change it anyway, another hundred quid on the bill :P

    • solidsquid says:

      What are you talking about, the break disc obviously has a degraded coupler and a twisted perimeter cam. Gonna cost you a bit to replace that, perimeter cams ain’t cheap, best just to replace the whole disc

      • PoLLeNSKi says:

        *sucks air through his teeth*

        From a quick poke about in the grindshaft I can clearly see the muffler bearing’s completely jiggered, the transmission winker’s had it and the less said about the headlamp gasket the better.

        Leave it with me over night love and I’ll check the windscreen lubricator and flux capacitor for wear and tear, I gotta warn you now though that you won’t see much change from a monkey by the time this is patched up for the road again

  3. UmmonTL says:

    No awkward floppy arm to control? I am disappointed but then mashing about with tools in a motor is probably less fun than doing the same in someone’s chest.

  4. Ernesto says:

    I’m disappointed. I was expecting bolts and nuts and gears and stuff flying around due to hilarious mouse controls. I guess it would be a challenge to even get the bonnet open. And to hold a wrench in juuust the right angle to slip over that nut… That’s a tough one.
    Maybe they add a SS13 legacy mode :D

    edit: You’d also have to utilize QWOP and ASKL to move around the car.

  5. Aardvarkk says:

    I wonder if you can buy a pneumatic drill upgrade to speed the removal and replacement of the bolts.

  6. ArtyFishal says:

    This would be awesome as the tuning mode in a race sim.

    • reggiep says:

      Because the best thing to do to people who like to go fast is to drop them into the monotony of a mechanic sim.

      • Premium User Badge

        Makariel says:

        You would be surprised how much time I spent in GT5 tinkering tuning settings and choosing what colour to buy the car in.

  7. tobecooper says:

    Oh man, this looks like a modern version of Gearhead Garage! Yes, please!

    • Virtz says:

      Hell yes!
      Though what worries me compared to Gearhed Garage is the slow bolt (un)screwing and the (initial?) number of cars. But hey, more detailed car disassembly.

      • tobecooper says:

        Yeah, I thought the same thing. Maybe there will be a tool upgrade system too? You start with the wrenches and a weak arm, and then progress into automatic monster screw drills. Or something.

    • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

      Let’s have hope it doesn’t have the same imersion breaking stuff like Santa’s Sled.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      I’m glad I’m not alone having that exact thought upon reading this.

  8. solidsquid says:

    This… actually looks quite interesting if I’m honest, both from the point of view of getting to mess around with cars and the potential educational benefits of it. I have to wonder whether the information this has is actually able to be carried over to car repair work

    • Viroso says:

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking. I’d love an educational car repair game.

  9. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Apart from no torque wrench and bushes that just slide in it covers the basics.

    If it has replace/bypass DPF(Diesel particulate filter), refit turbo on a three monthly basis with the 1.6 PSA HDi engine and Renault Electronic Handbrake DLC then it’s nearer the mark.

    People should just buy an ELM327 Car OBD2 OBDII Wireless Bluetooth Code Reader(under a tenner) and install the FREE code reading software http://download.cnet.com/OBD2-ELM327-Car-Diagnostics/3000-20428_4-75805019.html or similar and actually see what goes on, get live sensor readings etc. The reader plugs into what looks like an old Serial port inside the car! It’s usually by the fuse box or behind a hinged panel under the dash.

    For us techies it’s good to actually see what is going on and how many sensors are used in a modern day engine. Or you could just buy this and click on some nuts!

    If you do your own maintenance then you can reset service lights on the dash, clear faults etc save you £100′s in garage fees. In some cars you can initiate a DPF refresh cycle and that can save you many £100′s
    Edit: Torque Lite is the best FREE software https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torquefree

    • Jerppa says:

      This _looks_ like English, but apparently it’s some kind of weird alien language.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        It’s just a Bluetooth device that interrogates the engine management system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELM327 and the software to translate read/write the data back to the EPROM(you can use free android/windows apps on a laptop, phone, tablet but not any Apple devices as they restrict Bluetooth apps to their proprietary store, you need a cable connection for an Apple device. Cable based OBD2 read/write systems are readily available, the Bluetooth ones offer the most flexibility).

    • grundus says:

      “ELM327 Car OBD2 OBDII Wireless Bluetooth Code Reader”? Psh, if you’re not DIY you’re DIW(rong). Can’t wait until my tachometer-controlled dil–personal massager project is finished, I predict a 1,000% increase in traffic accidents as a result of this device.

    • adam.jutzi says:

      Hear hear!
      I have similar software for my Audi. It needs a windows rig to work though, so more appropriate at Castle Shotgun.

    • solidsquid says:

      There’s apparently a Raspberry Pi project out there that lets you integrate with OBDII through an adaptor, which means you could potentially do whatever you wanted with the data, including logging it while driving

  10. bateleur says:

    That’s their box quote sorted, then:

    “I long for the nuts” – Craig Pearson (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    I used to splutter about these simulators but have had a change of oil.

    • Dog Pants says:

      People torque about how un-wheel-istic it looks, but I bet I’ll barely be able to wrench myself away.

      • Aardvarkk says:

        I just got over the shock that anyone would tire of these games.

  12. Hone McBone says:

    Looks interesting.. wait a transverse engine in a mustang? Not interested.

  13. randomnine says:

    It doesn’t teach anything about the tools you’re using. It also misses out all the possible fun with bolts seizing, snapping, stripping their threads and generally being bastards (which is part of fixing any car that’s seen its fair share of British winters). It’s skipping maybe 70% of the steps involved and all of the swearing. The actual job takes 20 minutes or more a side and involves several non-obvious precautions to ensure you don’t ruin something or die.

    For an idea of how simplified or accurate it is, here’s a walkthrough of a brake pad change compared to the one in the second video. I’ve bolded the steps which are actually featured in the video:

    1. Loosen the tension on all five wheelnuts before jacking the car up; trying to do this after will just spin the wheel.
    2. Chock the opposite rear wheel so it won’t fall off the jack, then jack the car up.
    3. Undo and remove wheelnuts.
    4. Remove wheel.
    5. Remove caliper and hang it nearby with some wire, since the hose is still attached.
    6. Remove pads (from the caliper, not the disc).
    7. Attempt to remove brake disc. Hit the f***ing thing with a hammer until it actually comes off, because it’s inexplicably welded itself to the hub over the years.
    8. Clean hub surface before fitting new brake disc so it’ll fit properly.
    9. Fit new disc.
    10. Replace anti-squeal shims or carefully lubricate the back of the pads so the brakes don’t squeal.
    11. Remove brake fluid reservoir cap and remove some fluid (if near max).
    12. Force or wind the brake caliper pistons back so the new, thicker pads will fit.
    13. Check brake fluid level and refit brake fluid reservoir cap.
    14. Refit caliper. Torque bolts up to spec from service manual.
    15. Refit wheel and wheel nuts, working in a star pattern so the wheel centres properly.
    16. Let car down off jack and remove chocks.
    17. Torque up wheel nuts in a star pattern. Check manual for torque settings.
    18. Bed in the brake pads according to manufacturer’s instructions (if necessary) so they actually work first time you try a hard stop.
    19. Change the brake pads/disc on the other side too so the car won’t pull to one side under braking.
    20. Check wheel nut torques again after 100 miles so the wheel doesn’t fall off.

    So it’s quite simplified, and this is already one of the simpler tasks you can do. That said, the steps and parts that are shown are all broadly correct and necessary.

    • grundus says:

      Wow, you know lots!

    • DrollRemark says:

      You forgot steps 3a, 6a, 7a, 12a and 15a – Make cup of tea and consider next step carefully.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Comments like this are why RPS is great.

      (Well, that and the likes of Lord Custard Smingleigh, but don’t let it go to his head. He’s already constructed thirty-seven different thrones in elevated positions around the city of Loughborough from which he keeps trying to issue royal edicts.)

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Don’t hit it, hitting things with a hammer isn’t the best way, break out the MIG and do a ring round the face of the hub, never fails. A lot less heat than torching and no chance of creating extra problems with wayward/rebounding hammer blows. One of the many life savers and old school ‘lead not filler’ car restorer taught me. Anything that is metal and stuck but is sacrificial, a ring of weld will free it up!

      Edit: Fuck it, I’m going to be pedantic, you should bleed the brakes after winding/pushing the caliper pistons back in, sorry :D

      • His Dudeness says:

        I’m not as sorry to be pedantic but here goes. No need to bleed the brakes since OP did not disconnect brake hoses (his step 5). Pushing/winding pistons back into the caliper doesn’t cause air to enter the system unless your piston seals are fucked. And that would open up a whole different story then.

        Whilst the MIG trick will no doubt work, doing any kind of welding to cast iron components is wrought with just as many potential problems further down the line as using a brass mallet or similar strong arm ‘techniques’. ;-)

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          Oh yes you do, the seals work to keep the pressure in. not out, they are designed to work one way!. I never do but if you read a work schedule they say ‘BLEED BRAKES’./

          Do you not understand what a sacrificial part is?

          • His Dudeness says:

            Look, you want to waste time bleeding the brakes…fine, no one’s stopping you and it won’t do any harm. Folks who earn a crust doing that stuff and understand how it works know the seals are not going to let pressure.fluid go by when pushed/wound back provided the seals, pistons and calipers are in good nick.

            So, we agree to disagree. You do it your way and the OP, myself and any mechanic I have worked with / trained will keep on doing it our way.

      • fredc says:

        My discs don’t stick to the hubs because I clean and lightly lube the mating surfaces. Also, I don’t put lugnuts on with an air wrench and the alcoholic rage of the professional mechanic.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I clean and lightly lube the mating surfaces

          Hurr hurr, chortle, etc.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          I hope you use copper slip, only lube that should go anywhere near brakes!

    • zaphod42 says:

      I feel like you’re being overly critical out of some perceived need to defend your skill. The question is, is the real process far more complex, are steps missing, and are the steps shown accurate? And the answer is, for the most part, no, some minor ones only, and yes.

      Obviously its going to take way longer in real life. Simply unscrewing each bolt is going to take far, far longer. But nobody would ever want to put up with that in a game. At that point, you want to be getting paid for doing WORK. It may be a simulator, but its for playing around and having fun. It should be accurate, but not to the point of tedium. I’m surprised they didn’t just give him a powered drill to take off the lug nuts in a flash.

      Now, for other repairs the simulator may not be as accurate, we don’t know. Changing brake pads isn’t all that complicated. But to answer RPS’ question, no; this is a pretty damn accurate portrayal of what its like. For people who don’t work on cars, you’re giving them the wrong impression by being so extremely specific. I think you’re looking for any tiny difference and that’s overly critical.

      • randomnine says:

        I guess I did come off as critical! That wasn’t my intent – I know busywork needs to be simplified to be fun. I agree manually winding out each bolt and so on would suck. I think this looks like fun and I’ll definitely be looking for a demo and waving it enthusiastically at people.

        Thing is, if you don’t know cars, how do you answer the question: will this teach me enough to change the brake pads and discs on my car? How close will it get me? What else will I need to learn? It says it’s a simulator, after all, the answer isn’t obvious unless you know how to do it already, and this might be a major reason people are interested. My intent was to help people who aren’t familiar with car work judge that for themselves rather than taking our word for it by building a picture of what a thorough teaching sim or beginner’s how-to guide might cover.

        I can’t agree that a step is minor if not realising you need to do it might be unsafe or risk damaging something.

      • Talksintext says:

        The minutiae and exertion of the process is the process basically. Car repair is one part following checklists and three parts swearing and sweating. I guess this is more fun, but the actual experience is not simulated at all. This just looks tedious without any real reward. The whole payoff of DIY car maintenance is accomplishing something in the face of adversity. That adversity being much of what was said in OP, plus about 20 other things unmentioned. Also, it’s exercise, mostly anaerobic. What exactly is this game offering that a showcase of the various components of a car (basically, this minus the mechanic thing) wouldn’t give you? Tedium. Because that’s what car repair is once you remove all the nuts and bolts: tedium.

    • fredc says:

      You missed out the fact that the video shows the player doing a brake job on the OEM scissor jack, which only a genuine ‘tard (a/k/a “customer”?) is likely to do. Anyone sensible would have a jackstand under a jacking point as well if they had to use the jack and any professional with a workshop is going to put it on a lift so they don’t (i) drop the car and (ii) fuck their back.

      As a non-pro, I would actually buy this if only it was detailed enough to teach me how you do the sort of expensive shit that one doesn’t do everyday. Transmission rebuild simulator 2014, grenaded valvetrain diagnosis and repair simulator 2015 etc. It looks like this is basically click to replace consumables / wear items simulator. If you are afraid of your car and don’t have any clue about how it works, this would actually be very useful, but if that’s the case you probably aren’t the target market for this sort of game.

  14. BouwsT says:

    This looks pretty accurate as far as component positions on vehicles, and for the type of person looking to get a good understanding of where things fit on a car it will do a pretty good job. As far as accuracy of completing the jobs… Not so much. Still, where do you stop? Remove the caliper bolts, slide pins and bushings. Find lower bolt seized into caliper. Get out the torch and heat the bolt to get it out… I loved gear head garage when I was a kid, but now that I’m working in the trade I don’t think I’d want to come home to this if it was “true to life”.

    Maybe if the game sells well it may get some licensed vehicle’s too, which would be cool!

    • zaphod42 says:

      Yeah seems as accurate as you’d want it to be. Any slower and you’d be bored / frustrated.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    They ought to train Halfords mechanics on this instead of Technical Lego.

  16. fish99 says:

    Will this help me fix my POS peugeot?

  17. Mctittles says:

    It actually looks better than I would have imagined from the title. I’d like to see some of this brought over into racing games.

  18. warcroft says:

    So, can you put the whole thing back together then realise you’ve left out a couple of bolts? Or will it not let you move to the next step unless you’ve completed the current step?

  19. Deviousfurball says:

    Generally what randomnine says is correct, there are some things on how the task is actually performed that is missing from the sim, that would cause an issue in real life.

    Will this simulator teach you how to be a mechanic? No, not really. There is a certain amount of physical and spatial aptitude to be a mechanic which can only be learned by actually doing the job (and hitting things with hammers :)).

    The cool thing it does seem to offer, is it could provide the problem solving side of mechanical engineering quite well. Later levels could consist of a customer approaching you and saying “There is a knocking noise and white smoke when I accelerate. Make it go away!”
    Most mechanics/engineers will be able to whittle this problem down to 4 likely culprits just from experience and the information given. The above bizarre request (or something like it) is surprisingly common. Much like someone contacting you for PC help, and you saying “Did the BIOS Post?” The reply would probably be “LOLWUT!”. An essential question for your trouble shooting, but lost on the person asking for help (PC Tech support simulator anyone? You heard it here first XD).

    This kind of problem solving and lateral thinking could be really fun and informative. I fear that it will walk a tricky middle ground that will not be challenging enough or unrealistic for a mechanic, and will be too complex and detail heavy for a budding clankey.
    With that said though, I’d quite like to try this game, and it’s almost guaranteed expansions, that are so popular for Devs to do now.