What Are the Best Shows to Teach You About Cars

There are so many car shows on television and various streaming services that it can be hard to know where to start. If you're new to the wonder that is automotive television, here are some of the best shows to teach you about cars, rather than just showing them off. But before you start watching them, you should understand which shows have the best and worst hosts.

1. Top Gear

You can't have a list of shows to teach you about cars without mentioning BBC's Top Gear — at least, while it still had the original trio. Hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May know how to teach even the newest car enthusiasts about their favorite makes and models. While the original trio left the show in 2015 after a confrontation between Clarkson and show producer Oisin Tymon, the three reunited for a new show on Amazon Prime — The Grand Tour. That one is also worth a watch, if only because of the dynamic between Clarkson, Hammond, and May.

2. Jay Leno's Garage

Whether you loved his late-night talk show or hated it, one thing is for sure — Jay Leno knows his cars. As of the end of 2018, Leno's collection included 181 cars and 160 motorcycles, though the number tends to fluctuate because he regularly buys new cars and sells old ones. The thing about Jay Leno's garage is that it's clear that he loves these cars and enjoys learning about them — and teach you — as much as he does driving them. Check out his show, Jay Leno's Garage, for an inside look at that massive collection.

3. Roadkill

Okay, this is technically a web show but once you've watched a few episodes you'll realize why we included it on this list. It's hosted by David Freiburger, the editor in chief of Hot Rod Magazine. Self-described as automotive chaos theory, the hosts take junkyard cars and turn them into barely-legal race cars on a budget. If you're looking for something to encourage you, or teach you how to work on a car, this 76 episode show that ran between 2012 and 2018 should be on your list.

4. Wheeler Dealers

Another BBC show for this list. Wheeler Dealers is a pretty simple show — one of the two hosts buys a beaten up car, the other fixes it up in their garage. If they're successful, they sell the flipped car for a profit. It's been on the air since 2003, and there are dozens of episodes to teach you everything about what goes into restoring a classic — or not so classic — car.

5. Motor Week

If 30+ years of experience isn't enough to teach you about cars, we don't know what will. Motor Week has been on the air since 1981 and features half an hour every week of news and information from the automotive world. You can go back and watch older episodes if you want to learn more about how cars have changed over the last three decades, or you can just watch the newest episodes to see how the automotive industry is changing this week.

Other Resources

While television shows are a great way to start learning about cars, they aren't your only resource. Forums, Haynes manuals, and other tools can help you get started too. The best thing you can do to learn, though, is getting out in the garage. They weren't kidding when they said there's no teacher like experience.