15 Things Only A Car Guy's Wife Or Girlfriend Will Understand

[Editor’s note: Meet Tara Miller, the wife of our Rides editor, Aaron Miller. If there's anyone who can relate to what it’s like to be with a car guy, it’s her.]

Dating (or being married to) a gearhead is like living in an alternate world that's dominated by all things automotive. I thought I enjoyed and appreciated cars growing up. I was always out in the driveway, helping my dad change the oil and spark plugs, washing cars, etc. But these days, I feel like I'm Yoshi leveling up to some sort of bonus Car World in Mario 3.

1. Friday night means watching car videos on YouTube

Any conversation might take a right turn that leads to cars, and the next thing you know you’re watching highlights of old races, or a YouTube video of how a manual transmission works. This happens a lot.

2. Or we’ll get up at the crack of dawn to watch a Formula One race in Europe

The alarm’s going to go off at six in the morning. On a Friday. To watch a practice session that doesn’t even matter. Apparently this is important “because of the engineering.”

3. Random guys will always want to talk to the girl wearing a racing shirt

Look. We’ve been saturated with this stuff for years now. Honestly, we know more than most guys about car stuff.

4. A rare car “out in the wild” is a flame to a car guy’s moth

Turning around to stalk someone for a mile or so just to get a pic of some new car we’ve finally seen outside of a dealership is to be expected. Rare cars have a weird Batman-like gearhead beacon that goes off and puts guys on full alert.

5. We’re with a guy who loves shopping for new towels...if they’re for the car

Apparently, they have to be better and more expensive than what we use on ourselves. We won’t get swirl marks or fine scratches from lesser quality towels, but the car will.

6. Washing a car has all the steps of a religious ceremony

Helping wash the car is a rite of passage. It’s about understanding that the wash mitt, bucket, and soap have to be set up properly, and that proper washing and drying techniques include using different settings for the hose nozzle for different parts of the car. And let's not forget that dropping a mitt on the ground or—gasp—cross-contaminating the mitt for the paint, with the one for the wheels, is a cardinal sin.

7. Grocery stores are race tracks

Rearranging a shopping cart is inevitable. Basically, this has to do with cart balance and weight distribution for racing around the aisles, following imaginary "driving lines."

8. We know way too many random car-related things

Just by looking at this picture, I know exactly what track this is. I also know that Rolls-Royce leather comes from bulls because they can’t get pregnant. I shouldn’t know this...but somehow, I do.

9. Car etiquette: don’t eat or drink, and definitely don’t spill things

Also, don’t let loose hairs go on the carpet—toss them out of the window. Oh, and don’t fling your door open in a parking lot, especially on a windy day.

10. You'll always park in the middle of nowhere 

There is no alternative. You will always park as far away as possible from anyone else that could possibly park near you. Hey, at least you burn some extra calories!

11. Driving feels like the tests from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

It’s more stressful for a car guy to be a passenger than a driver. I can sense it—I can feel the nervousness and the fidgeting. Did you grab the steering wheel correctly? Did you hit the apex? Probably not. Rightly or wrongly, you feel like you're being judged for everything you do, and you can feel his eyes burn through your soul as he watches each action you take behind the wheel. Is he biting his tongue so hard you can almost see blood dripping from his mouth? Probably.

12. Spare bedroom = spare parts room

The sea of car parts is endless. Why is there a tower of tires stretching to the ceiling in the garage, and dozens of boxes of parts I can’t name inside the house?

13. You’re on a first name basis with the UPS guy

And you know all about his project car.

14. Buying a new car is one of the most painful experiences on Earth

Imagine getting wisdom teeth pulled without anesthesia, then multiply that by infinity. Spreadsheets, pros and cons lists, graphs, hours of discussion, going in endless circles. This happens for every single car. Every year. 

15. He can’t hold your hand while driving

A romantic drive can turn into an hours-long drive on borderline-terrifying backroads. And he can never hold your hand, because he needs to shift.

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