Build and expand your repair service empire in this incredibly detailed and highly realistic simulation game, where attention to car detail is astonishing. Find classic, unique cars in the new Barn Find module and Junkyard module. You can even add your self-made car in the Car Editor.

Steam summary of Car Mechanic Simulator 2018.

I picked up Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 yesterday, along with Thief Simulator, in a discounted bundle on Steam. For $20 each, I couldn’t complain about getting two simulators that I’ve been watching for a while. With my recent fascination of simulators, like PC Building Sim, and even business simulators, like Software Inc. and Startup Company, I’ve been looking at Car Mechanic Simulator and Thief Simulator for a few weeks. I picked up both, installed CMS 2018, and started playing.

Getting started is simple. It walks you through a tutorial, you walk around and hover your mouse over various tools and items in the shop, and it gives a short little tutorial about each feature. This is pretty much all you’ll get to do, aside from test drive a car to be sure that it performs correctly. Then, it drops you into a shop, with almost no detail on how to get started. Gives you a job, and you’re almost completely on your own. I’ve played a couple of hours at this point, enough to gain a few skill points to begin leveling up my perks, like 50% faster screw/install speeds, and few other small time QoL changes. I had to make a cup of coffee, so I stopped to put some of the recent experiences down.

Starting Out

Starting out, you’ll get calls, or phone orders, that you’ll need to accept or decline. My first 5 jobs were simple brake pad and caliper swaps. These were normal jobs, and had nothing to do with the “story” of the game. The story missions seem to introduce new parts and things to fix, but they come every 2-3 normal jobs. The main difference between normal and story jobs, normal jobs only give you 3 minutes to accept them. If you let it time out, it doesn’t hurt you, but you lose out on doing that job. I typically have kept one job active, with a second on deck so I can keep stacking jobs. I’ve earned roughly $6000 in my first couple of hours playtime. I’m playing in normal mode, which added the tutorial at the beginning, and, I assume, gives you clues to learn what parts go where and how to put them back in. There is an expert mode, but I won’t get into that for a while yet. I assume it leaves you to install and fix everything, without hints or anything to help. I’m not there yet, but I’m enjoying my time so far.

Sandbox Mode

I took a short break from Normal mode and jumped into the included sandbox mode. You have unlimited money, fully unlocked shop, and no orders. You can access any junkyard, barn, part, or car and work on them. I actually took the time to restore a junkyard find. The car was in horrible shape, missing various body panels, wrecked interior, rusted out, and missing engine, suspension, and other parts.

I actually learned more than the tutorials taught me, by fully restoring the car. I took an $8900 piece of junk, and fully restored it to be worth just over $80k. You get cash bonuses for restoring junkyard/barn finds. I built a new motor, using the trashed engine block to start (which I replaced, because I like shiny new things.) The entire process of restoration probably took 2 hours or more. For one, I didn’t know enough about the process. And second, a lot of time was spent on figuring out what parts where needed. Making a list, there is a notepad feature that you can pull up when shopping for parts, and trying to get every part at the start actually messed me up. Kept having to buy new parts because the originals were incorrect. I finally got it down, but I can see the entire process taking a while. From gutting the car of old interior, suspension, engine, and body panels, to replacing all of it… It took a while. On top of that, some things are hidden, almost. I thought I had fixed everything, took a look at the car status, and the list told me the interior was at 11%. I had already replaced the seats and steering wheel, but I didn’t find the interior detailing cart until after a Google search. It was random, but once I found it, I had everything perfect.

Once I finished that project, I looked around for a while. Played with some random things I didn’t have unlocked in the Normal mode. Came across the engine rack, where you’re able to build a completely fresh engine. This was the fun part, because I got to see where I went wrong on restoring the previous project. In reality, you should pre-build your engine on that cradle. Then, you just drop it in the car once you’ve restored everything else. You can see everything better, the engine can rotate (saving you from lifting and lowering the lift every few minutes,) and, best of all, you can store it for later if you change your mind.

I’m still playing around with story mode, of course, it’s already been a decent buy. Despite having “profiles” instead of save games, which actually makes it easier to switch between saves and modes, the game is extremely fluid. I don’t have a top of the line rig, but I can mostly play at 60 fps on medium settings. Any framerate drops aren’t noticeable, even some being as low as mid-20s. All said, if you have some extra cash floating around and enjoy simulators, maybe give this one a shot. It’s different, and slightly more in-depth than, say, PC Building Simulator. But, that’s mostly due to the complexity of a vehicle, versus a high end computer.

Have any thoughts on the game? Have a recommendation on what game to pick up next? Let me know in the comments!