Issue 71 | August 21, 2014 | Auto Mechanics


We have had such great feedback on our course descriptions for both text and self-designs.  For that reason, we will keep this up.

Featured Course: Auto Mechanics

This is an example of a great self-designed course.



This is a student who has experienced the benefits of a well-planned self-designed course.
Have you ever noticed that when you are doing what you love, time flies, and you are so much in the "zone" you are not even aware of the ticking clock?  For Casey Tarter, his self-designed auto mechanics course must have been that way; there are so many activities described that he logged 210 hours worth, but only claimed 1 full credit. 





Casey's customized course description lists these activities:

  • Mechanics safety
  • Important tools and usage
  • Study of mechanics and specialized trades
  • Use of diagnostic tools
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Basic services
  • Electronics including battery, starting mechanisms, stereo, speakers, lighting
  • Tires and brakes

These were the resources for Casey's studies

  • The Golden Guide To Sports Cars by Francis Mortarini
  • Auto Magazines
  • Online Tutorials (lots of YouTube!!)
  • Guidance from Dad and our Neighbor Will who was a mechanic.

Casey's Activities

Beyond his studies, Casey purchased two cars and provided these services on each:

  • Changed tires
  • Replaced fuel filters and fuel pumps
  • Changed spark plugs and performed a tune-up
  • Installed a stereo system and LED
  • Changed headlight and taillight assemblies. 
  • Applied Plasti Dip

But that wasn't all.  Casey also volunteered at a body shop where he helped do body and prep work on two cars that were later featured in local car shows, online and in magazines. See them at  What an opportunity!

Within the portfolio contents were detailed, labeled diagrams of the combustion engine, the basic carburetor, and the fuel injection system.   After all these activities, a student couldn't help but learn a lot about automobiles.   

The objectives for this class were:

#1 To learn mechanic tools and safety,

#2 To perform basic auto maintenance,

#3 To learn electrical and lighting,

#4 To understand car audio systems,

#5 and to perform basic auto body skills. 


Casey's evaluator was fair in giving him high marks for most objectives, but Casey was marked down slightly in two, giving him the overall course grade of 94%.