9 emotions you’ll experience in the garage

Kyle Smith

Not everyone wants to admit it, but the garage is a place filled with emotion. Our beloved cars turn this empty space for beach chairs and lawn equipment storage to a repository for hopes, dreams, nightmares, fond memories of the past, and excitement for the future. Take this list as a reminder of the feelings that we sometimes experience in the garage, but don’t always acknowledge. We hope this serves as a moment to stop and reflect on how the machines in our lives are more than just parts fastened together.

A notice to readers: Comments on new Hagerty articles have been disabled due to technical issues since July 29th. Don’t worry, the comments are coming back soon, and when they do, we’ll have a contest or giveaway to reward our readers for their patience. Never stop driving! — Jack Baruth

Relief …

Kyle's Garage stud removal feature image
Kyle Smith

… when that bolt breaks loose without stripping. When it comes to strong feelings in the garage, the relief that hits when all the bits and pieces of a project come apart in the desired fashion is one of them. Much like flying in an airplane, a boring trip is often the best outcome.

Fury …

stripped out stud hole
That’s not good. Kyle Smith

… when the next bolt strips. It was supposed to be a simple job, now it’s a rescue mission. Buckle up and mentally prepare to put in the leg work to save your project.


Austin Healey 1275 on workbench
Kyle Smith

… that sinks in when problem A is fixed, only to have problem B rear its head just when you thought things were going well. Maybe the diagnostics said replacing part A would solve your issue, but when the work finished, that first fire-up shows the same problem. A real punch in the gut, that feeling. But don’t let the hit stop you from leaving your corner and taking on round two.

Confusion …

Goldwing carbs disassembled
Kyle Smith

… as you hold that “leftover” nut, but somehow everything works as it should. Where does this shiny piece of metal belong? Stare at it long enough and you might remember. Until then, it will enjoy a new home in the spare hardware jug.

Camaraderie …

working the wiring under the Sunbeam Tiger dash
Kyle Smith

… of working (or just hanging out) with your close friends. Having a buddy drop by to turn wrenches with you is time well-spent, no matter how much work you get done. Even if those wrenches, in the face of failure, are replaced with cold beverages, spending time among greasy projects for some bench racing beats sitting around or fiddling with your phone.

Stupor …

valve in piston
Kyle Smith

… when your engine goes from good compression to infinite compression. No more words.

Satisfaction …

torque flywheel Austin Healey
Kyle Smith

… at the click of a torque wrench confirming the perfect tension on an assembly. That tactile snick just puts the mind at ease. Things are going to be alright!

Pride …

hands repairing corvair shifter
Kyle Smith

… in looking down at your hands covered in oil and grease. Fixing things can be hard, but refusing to back down from a challenge teaches good habits, no matter the outcome.

Joy …

Ford Model A on road
Kyle Smith

… that comes from the sheer proximity of a beloved project. Admiring and appreciating your car for what it is, right now and in this moment, teaches us to live in the present as well as look to what’s coming down the road.

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