the role of forums in car culture
Since the 1980s, there have been many technological advancements that have benefitted the automotive enthusiast, whether it’s multi-port fuel injection, variable valve timing, or bluetooth connectivity. There’s a piece of technology, though, that came about in the mid-90s that has become an incredible resource to the car community: the forum.
The car club of the future
Forums have been around since the early days of the internet. They allow for users—members—to interact with one another, usually about a particular topic, and share information at their leisure. Automotive forums are no exception.
Gone are the days when you had to drive over to the mechanic or auto parts store to ask a question about your car. There’s no longer a need to wait for the next car show or meet to see if anyone else has had the same problem as you—or find out how to fix it.
Just about every make, model, or general enthusiast group has a forum dedicated to it. If you’re looking for information about a popular car, you can find yourself sifting through dozens. And, you can ask your questions, find your answers, and read up on the latest car news or gossip at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection.
But what’s the point?
Forums play an interesting role in car culture. They provide an environment for enthusiasts to communicate with one another, without having to be in the same place, or even conversing at the same time. It also acts as a repository for all of the conversations and knowledge that gets shared within them. Forums have become an encyclopedia of information about cars and the number one place enthusiasts and and non-enthusiasts alike to go when they have a question they need answered about their cars.
If you’ve ever typed a question about your car into a search engine, its incredibly likely that you’ve found yourself on a forum reading through a conversation about the same problem, about how to fix it, or not, and probably an argument about why one person or another are wrong.
Car forums exist as a place to engage with car culture when you’re away from car culture—just like at shows, meets, cruise nights, races, or any other place where you would normally participate in car culture. They’re just accessible on your schedule, at your leisure.
For the most part, automotive forums are civil places—people ask questions, give answers, and calmly debate the merits of the different ways to solve a problem or perform a task. Like in real life, though, people get rubbed the wrong way, get mad, and start attacking one another. Sometimes, too, there is some trolling.
Car forums come in all shapes and sizes, and they encompass just about every aspect of car culture that you can imagine. There are forums for specific makes, they exist for models, types of vehicles, racing and specific types of racing, and even types of modifications. There’s no limit to what there are forums for, nor is there a limit to the number of forums dedicated to any topic.
The forum and car culture
People are what make up car culture. Aside from the occasional troll, the people on the forums are what make them valuable. They are experts, enthusiasts, weekend DIYers, and regular people. Their participation, discussion, and debate is what grows the knowledge contained within them, and as it grows the community of the forum, it helps to grow and share car culture as a whole.
Forums not only give us a way to discuss cars when we’re away from them, they’re an incredible resource for repair and modification, and they help to continue fostering the car communities that we participate in. For some of us forums help us participate in car culture when we otherwise couldn’t. For others, forums can be our entrance into the car cultures we’re interested in.