Gearhead Garage™: The new PC game for mechanics and car enthusiasts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about Gearhead Garage. Please consult this page before contacting technical support. Also, don't forget to check the Gearhead Garage Message Forum.




  1. Is Gearhead Garage available internationally?

    YES! Click here for details.

  2. Where can I buy the game?

    Gearhead Garage is available in many retail stores, and you can also get it by mail-order from The CD-ROM Shop. They accept orders by telephone and fax, as well as through their web site. If you want to use a payment method other than credit card, you will need to contact them directly. The phone number and e-mail address are available here.

  3. How do I get the Dune Buggy and Indy Car?

    The Dune Buggy and Indy Car become available when you reach the "Mekada" skill level.

  4. What are the skill levels?

    You will progress through the following sequence of skill levels as you play the game:

    Learning, Novice, Handy, Expert, Mekada
    The highest skill level is Mekada, and you reach it when you accumulate $120,000 in cash.

    (Note: The Mekada skill level is renamed to "God-Like" if you haven't installed the updates.)

  5. How do I get more jobs?

    We have added a "Random Job Generator" on the updates page, which provides virtually unlimited jobs.

  6. Why are there no cars made by such-and-such company?

    By law, Mekada must obtain permission from the vehicle manufacturers before we can use their cars in Gearhead Garage, even if we don't use the names of the cars. "Trade dress licensing", as this is called, is a time consuming and often expensive process. Additionally, some companies have exclusive contracts with other game developers making it impossible to use their cars.

    Our marketing people are working hard to bring you as many cool cars as possible, and we appreciate your suggestions.

  7. Where is the VW bug or van?

    There were VW vehicles in early screenshots of the game, but they were removed because Mekada was unable to obtain permission from Volkswagen to use these cars. Update: There are also some 3rd party VW models circulating which were contributed by the community, but which are neither supported nor endorsed by Mekada.

  8. Are you planning to make a sequel or add-on?

    Gearhead Garage has already been tremendously successful, and the Mekada development team would very much like to create a sequel. A design was drafted for "Gearhead Garage 2"; however, the project has been postponed due to problems raising funding. It will be resumed as soon as a publisher is found. In the meantime, you can check out other great Mekada products at

  9. When will you release more updates?

    Mekada is no longer releasing feature updates for Gearhead Garage. However, we do release maintenance updates from time to time, to address various compatibility issues and other problems. We are busy people, and releasing a reliable update requires more effort than you might think. Repeatedly hounding us about the updates will not make them come out any sooner.

  10. Can I create my own car models?

    Probably not. Creating car models for Gearhead Garage is a very difficult and tedious process. The game was never designed for people to be able to create their own models.

    However, IF you have a copy of "3D Studio Max", and IF you know how to use it, and IF you have a lot of time and patience, then maybe you can. You will also need an unsupported tool called "SpecEd" to define the part dependencies and create the .CAR file. This is NOT for the timid or faint of heart!

    The only documentation is what comes in the ZIP file. There is a forum called "SpecEd" where you can get help from other users, but DO NOT e-mail Mekada with questions or bug reports about SpecEd. We do not have time to support this... sorry!

    If you REALLY want to try, here are the download links:

  11. How do I use a 3rd party car model?

    1. If the file ends in ".zip", you need to get a program called WinZip to unzip it and extract the ".car" file.

    2. Open Windows Explorer, and copy the ".car" file to your cars folder (where the other ".car" files are). Most likely this will be "C:\Program Files\HeadGames\Gearhead Garage\Data\Cars".

    3. Start the game and go to the Auction. Click "Skip" a few times and you should eventually see the new car.

    If you can't figure out how to do this, find someone who is experienced with computers and show them these directions. They will know what to do.

    If all else fails, try asking in the message forum. Do not e-mail Mekada about 3rd party models. We didn't make them, so we won't know what's wrong! :-)

  12. I have a great idea for a video game! Where do I send it?

    Unfortunately, for legal reasons Mekada cannot accept game ideas from the public. (Almost all game developers have this policy.)

  13. Why don't the cheats work?

    There are several web sites out there that list erroneous cheats for Gearhead Garage ("big dog", ","small cat", ","money", etc.). These cheats are BOGUS. They were probably submitted as a joke. If you see these cheats listed on a web site, e-mail the webmaster and let them know the cheats are fake.

  14. Okay, well, where can I find working cheats?

    Some 3rd party car designers in the community have created "cheat cars" that can be used to increase your money. For more information, look on the sites linked here.

  15. Why did my forum posting get deleted?

    The Gearhead Garage message forums are moderated. This means that actual humans sit down every week and read the new postings to answer questions, listen to people's suggestions, and weed out obnoxious or offensive postings. This is a very tedious job, and the moderators therefore have very little patience for abuse of the system.

    Any of the following may be considered abuse:

    •  Profanity, name-calling, or other offensive speech
    •  Posting the same message more than once
    •  Advertisements or other off-topic postings
    •  Writing lots of really short messages
    •  Posting more than 5 messages in a single day
    •  Extremely long messages, or extremely long names
    •  Illegal activities such as trading pirated software (duh!)
    •  Repeating "more updates" like a broken record

    These activities detract from the usefulness of the forums and create extra work for the moderators.

  16. What does "Address Blocked" mean?

    If a person repeatedly posts obnoxious messages on the forum, their computer's address will be temporarily blocked. This prevents them from continuing to abuse the system. The address will be unblocked later when things have settled down.

    If your computer is being blocked, it might not be your fault. This is because sometimes many computers will share the same address (e.g. if you are using a modem). Thus if someone else got blocked it could result in you being blocked, too. If you think this happened to you, send an e-mail to

  17. The game bumps me back to Windows when I try to load a particular mechanic. Others work fine. Why?

    Some people have reported problems with the saved game files becoming corrupted. This seems be caused by changes to the game data files, e.g. by the downloadable updates. However, the most frequent cause is installing 3rd party models (which are NOT supported by Mekada).

    The first thing to try is deleting your saved game files from this folder:

    C:\Program Files\HeadGames\Gearhead Garage\Data\Mechanics

    If that fails, try uninstalling the game, deleting the entire "Gearhead Garage" folder, and then reinstalling without 3rd party models.

    If you are concerned about losing your saved games, we strongly recommend that you periodically make backup copies of your "Mechanics" folder (see above).

  18. I can't seem to download the updates. What's wrong?

    Recently people have reported problems when downloading the Gearhead Garage updates. The downloading will be very slow and eventually time out, even with the manual download method. The problems seem to come mainly from America Online subscribers who access the internet via a modem. Most other people have no problems downloading the updates.

    If you are experiencing this problem, the most likely cause is that your internet connection is too slow. This could be because you have an older modem, or because the phone lines are poor quality in your area, or because of issues with your internet service provider. If you have access to a computer with a fast internet connection, we suggest that you try downloading the updates from there. Also, some people have solved this problem using the Stand-Alone Updater method.

  19. Why do I have problems painting some 3rd party cars?

    This question has been investigated by kc7wzl. He has written up some instructions for solving this problem on his web site: (Thanks!)

  20. Which versions of Windows does Gearhead Garage support?

    The retail version of Gearhead Garage supports only Windows 95 and Windows 98. It is not compatible with Windows NT, because Windows NT does not support Direct X.

    A special update was recently released by Mekada that may allow the game to work with Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Although this update corrects many incompatibities, there may still be problems caused by the video card drivers on these systems. There is also a helpful forum topic concerning the Windows XP compatibility.

    NOTE: This update does not work with the demo version.

  21. What is a "honcho"?

    "Honchos" are volunteers who have been selected by Mekada to help moderate the message forum. They are not official representatives of Mekada, but simply people from the community who have graciously offered to contribute.

    They sometimes make mistakes. If you believe one of the honchos has acted inappropriately, please e-mail them rather than airing your grievances publicly. If the problem is not resolved, contact the forum administrator directly for assistance.

  22. Can I be a honcho?

    Nope. Please don't ask. :-)

  23. What can I do about the message "Error spawning Gearhead Garage"?

    The retail version of Gearhead Garage displays this message when run on a Windows 2000 or XP computer:

    Error spawning Gearhead Garage
    Error ID:0

    In many cases this can be fixed by installing the Windows XP update described in FAQ #20 above. (Note: There are no updates for the free demo at this time.)


Check out the Play Tips page for more hints!


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