TxToolGuy has amassed a loyal following on instagram and youtube, posting reels that are as entertaining as they are informative. We recently sat down with him to dig deeper into what makes him tick - be it tools, cars, or tattoos.
His Start in the Industry
TxToolGuy has been working in the automotive industry for eight years, starting out in 2015. He has always had a passion for figuring out how various machines work by disassembling and reassembling devices such as remote controls, appliances, and even a video game console when he was a kid.
What started as a curiosity soon morphed into a glimpse of a future career as TxToolGuy started modifying his cars. He turned his first 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ into a rock crawler by adding 37” tires, 4.88 gears, lockers, a long-arm lift, and more. Knowing he couldn’t drive this rock crawler on a daily basis, he bought a Volkswagen GTI, which he modified to 400WHP.
While taking the first steps in his automotive journey, TxToolGuy was in college for exercise and sports science. He found himself skipping classes to work on his cars and eventually decided to forego higher education to pursue a career in the motor industry.
He started out at a local Toyota dealership, performing basic services like oil changes. After working for a while, he was promoted to the main line, followed by an apprenticeship and a roster of Toyota training classes to improve his skills. After all this training, he chose to work with used cars, particularly intrigued by all the variety.
Since TxToolGuy works for Toyota, he routinely works on this particular make, but his love of used cars gives him the option to fix other makes and models. He works on every type of vehicle, including his shop owner’s RV. He specializes, however, in Toyotas, Fords, and European cars such as Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes models. His favorites include the Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen GTI.
Although his primary job consists of standard repairs and routine maintenance, TxToolGuy’s favorite jobs are those in which he can add a little something to an engine. He loves working with “aftermarket accessories and performance,” he said. “I do not like keeping vehicles stock.”
TxToolGuy also has a love of his workplace itself. “I am fortunate to work in a newly built shop with a nice view in the Texas Hill Country,” he said, “and I just could not sit at a desk. I love working with my hands and being able to listen to loud music all day.” This approach particularly helps when he has to tackle an especially big job. When he’s working on a suspension or a timing cover reseal, he turns up the music and goes into the zone. He finds the environment very calming.
Don’t ask him to do an interior, though. That’s his least favorite part of fixing cars.
Picking Up The Tools
For TxToolGuy, tools and fixing things run in the family. When he was around 10 years old, his grandfather gave him a USA-made Craftsman screwdriver set and a hickory-handled rubber mallet. He has hung onto these tools and still uses them to this day.
Professionally, the first tool TxToolGuy ever received was a 3/8 snap-on ratchet. His go-to tool is a cordless 3/8 impact. He is fond of Capri Tools and loves the offset double box wrenches and the WaveDrivePro extractor wrenches.
When He's Not Wrenchin'
When he’s not fixing cars or caring for his family, TxToolGuy likes powerlifting in his home gym and collecting tattoos. He currently has a traditional Japanese Yakuza bodysuit tattoo in process. He also likes riding his motorcycle and meeting up with fellow gearheads at car shows and other meets, at which he showcases his MKIV TDI Jetta Wagon.
“I wanted to help bring a more positive outlook into the industry and show young techs that this is a good career.”
Taking His Skills To Youtube
TxToolGuy did not set out to become a social media personality. His Instagram and YouTube content is heavily focused on tool reviews and engine work. He rarely appears on screen and doesn’t talk much about himself, allowing him to share his passion for tools and cars with his audience without distracting from the content.
The YouTube page was his wife’s idea. When looking through his social media posts, she noticed that, while he often posted about tools, not many of his followers understood the trade enough to appreciate these posts. “So I made TxToolGuy for fun, and then it just kind of grew from there,” he said.
What started as a hobby grew into an opportunity to give back to up-and-coming automotive professionals. “I also wanted to help bring a more positive outlook into the industry and show young techs that this is a good career,” TxToolGuy said. “We are in a huge tech shortage because a lot of younger techs quit early on because they do not see the reward or the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.”
TxToolGuy’s biggest advice for newer automotive technicians would be to never stop trying to improve their skills. When he first moved from basic jobs to the main line at the dealership, he thought he knew the job well enough to jump right in, but he quickly realized how much he had left to learn.
Words of Advice
TxToolGuy says the best skills in a new mechanic’s arsenal are honesty and execution. He cautions them to be honest about what a car needs and what they can do. If they are selling a job, they need to make sure they can do it. These principles build trust with customers and help new techs create a reputation of integrity, which usually leads to more business.