corvetteforum member spotlight: 10 questions with chrisfix

Twelve years and 9 MILLION subscribers ago, ChrisFix started a YouTube channel with a video starring his 1996 Torch Red C4 Corvette.

Hey, Guyyyyys! (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) Michael here from the CorvetteForum editorial team with a fun interview. Last week, I was cruising through the C4 Corvette section to snag a couple of links for our Corvette of the Year contest when I stumbled upon a few how-to repair threads. One of our members posted a ChrisFix video — which isn’t a big surprise — he’s a major automotive YouTuber and this is a car enthusiast forum.

But then I noticed that this member described said ChrisFix video as “his video” and he had posted several videos over the years.

So not only is YouTube’s number one automotive repair channel a 10-plus year member of the world’s most popular online Corvette community. But he started his channel with his own personal 1996 C4 Corvette and a video titled, ‘Corvette Sights and Sounds’ (embedded above). Naturally, a wide swath of our members are many kinds of interesting and successful. But it’s fascinating to take a look back at someone’s origins. Especially that person also shares a passion for Corvettes.

I ended up sending a note his way hoping to snag and interview. And he was kind enough to send me a few photos of his Corvette and answer my questions via email. Thanks again, Chris!

10 Questions with ChrisFix

corvetteforum member spotlight: 10 questions with chrisfix

CorvetteForum: Twelve years and 9 MILLION subscribers ago, the very first video on your channel is ‘Corvette Sights and Sounds’ which was followed by ‘How to Replace a Water Pump (LT1 and LT4)’. How pivotal was your Corvette ownership experience to the foundation of your channel? And what were your original goals on YouTube?

ChrisFix: I would say my Corvette ownership was very important to the foundation of my channel. I love my Vette and I was very fortunate my 96 C4 was my first car. She was/is in great condition and I realized early on that if I wanted things done right, I had to do them myself from detailing the car to fixing her.

The Corvette community was also really awesome to be a part of and I made many friends at meets and shows. I realized that a lot of people would work on their own cars if they knew how so I started making videos on how to fix cars as parts broke on my Vette.

Can you tell us more about your C4 Corvette? Specs, options, did you still have it?

I have a 1996 Torch Red C4 and got her with 64k miles that I daily drove to and from college instead of spending tens of thousands on housing each year. (That way I did not have to take out huge student loans.) I still have her but I don’t have a garage anymore and I can’t bear to leave her outside so, for now, she is in storage until I can get a place with a garage.

What would you recommend to anyone looking to buy a C4 Corvette for the first time?

For buying any Corvette, if you want something that will be reliable I have learned that you need to find a car that was well taken care of even if it ends up costing a little more than an average Corvette. This is a pretty big statement for me because I am all about finding the junkiest, broken-down car for a steal and fixing it up. But for Corvettes, I noticed the better condition she is kept in, the more likely you won’t have any major problems.

If she is in great shape, you know there was pride of ownership and that when something broke, it was fixed properly. If you go to see the car and the owner has Corvette swag on, or the Vette is their phone lock screen picture or there’s a Corvette banner in their garage, that also shows the car is more than just a car to them.

corvetteforum member spotlight: 10 questions with chrisfix

What did the C4 generation Corvette teach you about DIY auto maintenance?

Working on the C4 taught me that it doesn’t matter if it’s a Vette or a Honda, cars all work the same. One of my first videos was how to replace a water pump and although I did a walk-through specifically on the LT1 in my Vette, many people commented telling me that it helped give them the courage to work on their car, even if it wasn’t the same car. I also learned that the nice thing about the Vette is it shares a lot of parts with other GM vehicles so parts prices were affordable!

In addition to being a Corvette owner, you’ve also been a CorvetteForum member for over 10 years. Why did you first join?

I wanted to learn as much as I could and be a part of a community related to Corvettes. If I didn’t know something, I could ask questions and when I saw someone ask a question about something I knew, I could help.

How much of what you do is driven by the desire to help other enthusiasts? And did you have any memorable experiences on CorvetteForum helping others with their C4s (or getting help for yours)?

All of what I do is driven by helping others. My videos from the start were focused on teaching people how to fix their car to save money, learn new skills, and maybe start a new hobby. To be able to share that feeling of accomplishment after you fix a broken car was my ultimate goal because that is one of the best feelings!

A lot of my early videos were Corvette repair related because that was a community I could directly help. I showed how to replace a water pump, how to change the 12v battery, how to replace the headlight bulb in the hideaway headlights and other videos like that.

CorvetteForum was a great place for me to embed these videos so I could share directly with the Corvette crowd. I don’t have any singular moments on the forum that stood out, but in general, I remember when I would make a new post with a how-to video, the people who commented saying it was a big help was the fuel that kept me going!

Your videos are so well organized and easy to follow. The filming process naturally adds extra work to any DIY job, so how do you research and plan out a new-to-you DIY job for a new video?

The planning phase of a video is 1/3 of the time it takes. Now it takes me about 120-150hrs to make a video. Today I try to make my videos more general so anyone with any car can learn how to replace their brakes after watching my brake replacement video. To make sure I include all of the important info I have to make a checklist, otherwise, I could forget to mention something, and then the video wouldn’t be “perfect”. I think of each video as a dissertation rather than a weekly 5 paragraph essay.

For research, I usually do the process off camera. So if I am changing brakes, I will change the brakes on the other side and take lots and lots of notes. Then I streamline it all so people can easily follow along and learn. Then comes the filming which takes forever because I like to get the lighting, exposure, audio, and focus all as good as humanly possible.

Most of the time it’s hard enough to get your hands in tools in there to work on your car, now add a large camera and tripod in your way. That makes even the simplest of jobs complex, unfortunately. And finally, the editing is the last part which takes me forever because I’m a perfectionist. This isn’t a Spielberg movie, but I try to make the video workflow easy to follow and even something simple like an oil change can be hard to explain due to all of the variables.

What advice can you give someone who wants to work on their own Corvette (or any car), but is worried about not having enough experience?

When I started working on my car, I voiced my concerns to my father and he said, worst case scenario we tow it to a shop and they fix it. If you have the right tools and a little guidance (like with my videos), I truly believe you can fix your own car, even with no experience.

The goal is to be willing to learn, which means you will make mistakes, but I bet for most people, those mistakes will still cost less than if you brought it to a shop. Start simple with changing your own oil or replacing your own brake pads. From there you will learn the basics and realize, it might take you forever due to your lack of experience, but it’s really not that hard.

One of the things I learned this year (and am still learning) is when to take a break, and reevaluate going to a pro or more seasoned DIYer for help. Are there things you avoid tackling yourself these days?

I will be honest, I have never been to a mechanic. The only thing I get done are tire changes and I bring them the wheels and tires in my pickup truck. I think if you are determined to learn, you can fix literally anything.

I have a friend, Freddy with the YouTube channel Tavarish and he works on Ferraris, McLarens, and other exotics to the point where he is taking the frame apart. He is exactly like you and me and I asked him how he does it and he said it’s just like any other car but more expensive haha. So as long as you have guidance and the correct tools, you can do almost anything to fix or customize your car. Humans designed and built the car, so humans can fix it!

corvetteforum member spotlight: 10 questions with chrisfix

Any thoughts about adding a different generation Corvette to your channel? And what do you think of the C8 Stingray and Z06 so far?

I have no space for any more cars right now but once I get a property where I can build a large garage to store more cars, I want a Vette from each generation that had Torch Red as a color code. Is that realistic, no, but is that a goal of mine, yeah because imagine how cool it would be to open your garage and see that lineup?!

The new C8 is amazing. Does it look like a traditional Corvette? No, but is it an “affordable” American sports car that can go after the exotics? YES. And that is part of the Corvette formula! Once they come down in price, or if I can find one that needs a lot of work so it’s “cheap” I will get one. For now, the C4 keeps me happy!

Photos: ChrisFix

Keyword: CorvetteForum Member Spotlight: 10 Questions with ChrisFix


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