By LYDIA BERGLAR
In the spring of this year, 13-year-old Carter Ryan started his YouTube channel, Carter’s Custom Garage of Trenton Georgia, with the help and encouragement of another Dade County resident and YouTuber, Lloyd Kenney. Kenney runs several YouTube channels including Cooking With The Cajun, which features cuisine from his previous home of Louisiana.
Ever since he was young, Ryan has enjoyed working with his hands and fixing things. His dad, Steven Ryan, said, “I’m an engineer, so I was always building things and Carter was always helping. I’d tell my wife, ‘Be careful about sitting in a chair’ because he was always taking things apart. He still tears down two-stroke lawnmower engines trying to get them back to running. I think the interest also spawned from the Xbox game Car Mechanic Simulator and watching YouTube videos.”
Both sides of the family have a history of mechanic work. Ryan recalled, “I started helping my grandad at his garage. He’s got a lot of equipment, dump trucks, and all, and I started helping him, airing up tires, and seeing how things work.”
Now, he often works in his great-grandfather’s garage on the other side of the family. “My mom’s grandad used to do this for a living. I asked my grandfather if I could clean out the garage and use it. It took us a couple months to clean it up. When my great-grandad passed away, it was mostly used as storage for tractor equipment.”
One major project Ryan plans to showcase on YouTube is the restoration of a 1967 GMC truck, something he started in 2021. He also works on his ATV and sometimes works on dirt bikes and four wheelers with his friends. “I do all of the oil changes and maintenance on my ATV, but mostly I like to work on my truck.”
The truck originally belonged to Steven’s grandfather. Ryan explained, “It was tossed around the family, really, so we bought it back and it sat at our house for I don’t know how many years. It ran before I took it apart, but it leaked a lot. Most of it is original, but a lot of it’s rusty. I like repairing because I like to see how older things work compared to new things. This truck has lasted a long time, so I would say old things last a lot longer.”
Currently in eighth grade at Dade Middle School, Ryan hopes to eventually take welding through the high school’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education program. “I haven’t tried welding yet so that would be new to me. I also like to do a little bit of woodworking here and there.”
So far, Ryan’s YouTube channel features several unboxing videos and an interview with Kenney. He hopes to grow the channel, and he anticipates working on the truck for three or four more years, with the goal of driving it once he has his driver’s license. Right now, he’s primarily focused on fixing the engine.
Thinking further down the road, Ryan says, “I would like to be a mechanic. I’ve always wanted to have my own dream garage where I have everything souped up the way I like it, everything where I can get to it, and do just about anything with my hands.”
In addition to learning by doing, Ryan also learns from his family, books, and YouTube. “You can learn by getting as much information from others, going online, and reading books. These days, if anybody wants to work on their own car, they can just search YouTube and learn how in a few minutes. It’s good to go to a professional, but if you’re willing to take the risk, you can fix it up yourself.”
He saves the money he earns mowing yards to buy tools and has invested in a Milwaukee tool chest. “I like their mechanic tools. A lot of their 12-volt system is very lightweight and small and compact so I can get around things with them easily. I like Ridgid Tools better for woodworking.”
For Ryan, time in the garage is a peaceful escape. “I really enjoy it when I’m out here by myself. Time flies by. I feel like I just get out here and then I gotta leave.”
Subscribe to “Carter’s Custom Garage of Trenton Georgia” if you’d like to watch Ryan’s progress.