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Have you ever thought about the importance of the tools you use for your car? If you work on your own car, you’re always seeking high-quality products that can help you maintain and improve your vehicles. However, what would you do if you discovered that the tool you purchased wasn’t what you thought it was?
Let’s consider a scenario here where you purchase a torque wrench from a reputed American company at a low price – it has great reviews on Amazon, and you’re ecstatic about its quality. But after using it for a while, unexpectedly half of your bolts break while using the torque wrench. It’s unsettling, isn’t it? Upon researching the tool, you find out that the torque wrench that you bought was not actually produced in America, but overseas.
Cheap Outsourced Tools
This, unfortunately, is a common practice in the manufacturing industry. Companies often outsource labor to foreign countries to cut costs and produce products cheaper. These products will then be marked with the American company’s label, and the customer is oblivious to the deceitful practice. This may not seem like a significant issue, but it could lead to damaging consequences for you and your car.
When it comes to working on your car, you need to have the assurance that the tools you’re using are of high-quality and from a reputable company. For instance, torque wrenches have a critical function in the car maintenance process, and using substandard tools can have dire consequences on your car’s performance.
How Can You Do Better?
There are a few ways to ensure you are purchasing quality tools. Firstly, do thorough research on the product you wish to buy, focusing on its manufacturer’s reputation. While it’s difficult to be entirely sure, reading reviews from other customers, and checking the assembly location can provide a good insight into the product’s quality.
Additionally, investing in branded products can also be a good move. Well-known brands have established their reputation through years of experience and superiority, making them a better choice for quality assurance. However, it’s critical to note that there are counterfeit versions of such products, which is why you have to purchase them from licensed dealers.
Finally, you can use the warranty as a measure of the tool’s quality. A robust and reliable warranty indicates that the company in question is confident in its product. You’ll have peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, you’re covered.
Investing in quality, reliable tools is critical to maintain your car’s health and ensure your safety. The practice of deceptive labeling, where companies produce tools overseas, label them as American-made, and then sell them, is unfortunately prevalent in the market. By conducting thorough research on the manufacturer’s reputation, investing in established brands, and using warranties as a measure of quality, you can avoid ending up with sub-standard products that can damage your vehicle.
Mercedes. BMW. Lexus. They’re sleek, fast, beautiful, comfortable…and expensive. Who has $40k-$111k to spend on a car? Much love and respect (and a little envy) to those that do. For the rest of us, gotta buy used. Here’s how you buy a car you can’t afford, for $10,000.
If you get an old raggedy luxury car, you’re going to have to do the work to get and keep it running. If it’s your only car, consider that you need to drive it. Can you trust it to run? When you’re looking to buy a car for $10k, you can have luxury car, but it’s a tradeoff. Do you want a lux car you work on? Ultimately, it’s your choice. Do you wanna work hard? We have an engine replacement course. Let’s look at how you could make a Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus work for you with a $10,000 budget.
What do I mean by luxury vehicle?
A luxury car looks good on the outside, and is more comfortable than the average car. Here are some of their characteristics:
- high-end features that go above and beyond average necessities*
- better performance
- lavish interiors
- latest safety and tech
*Features that go above and beyond include:
- silver plated champaign flutes and massage programs
- granite trim
- fragrance/scent system
- bounce mode—to help get the car unstuck in sticky situations
- fancy clocks
- soft close doors
- hand stitched leather seats
There are many cars that would be considered luxury. We chose three different cars for this article. You can choose what you like. We are looking at a Mercedes Benz, a BMW 5 series, and a Lexus ES.
These are all foreign cars, so there are some things to consider when buying them. They need special tools, parts, and manuals. You can order all these online, but they are expensive, and take a while to ship. Be especially careful in ordering parts, because the wrong part will have to be shipped back, and then you’re waiting even longer to fix your car.
How to find your $10,000 luxury car
Check to see that the reserve is met to determine prices on eBay motors.
Note that eBay lists starting and current bids, so you can’t be sure how much the car will ultimately cost, unless they also list the reserve price. Keep an eye out for this.
So now comes the choice. You have 3 criteria:
- luxury features
- does it run?
Let’s look at 4 Mercedes-Benzes from our 4 car stores:
1. We found a 2000 S-Class on Craigslist. Its mileage was 85,820 miles. Its condition is described as excellent, “Like new”. It had 3 drivers during its lifetime. Its price: $8995,820 miles is a lot, but you must take other things into consideration. 1. The car is 22 years old. That averages to 3900 miles a year. That’s a low mileage. So, if we are to believe its report, this car has good mileage, and is in good condition. But, being 22 years old, its luxury features are old at best. So which two would sell this car? (note: you’d definitely need to drive and check this one out for yourself. Ppl do sneaky things to reset odometers, for example, and make sure that their standard of like new matches yours. (check to see what standards go into an excellent/like new rating)
2. Carfax is selling a 2005 Mercedes C-class for $6000. It has 110,460 miles* on the odometer. It is considered in good condition, which means it runs. It also has luxury features such as heated leather front seats and mirrors. *Here’s the thing: Carfax prepares free reports for the cars it lists, and on the report, it said that the car had been driven over 120,000 miles, but the odometer reads $110,460 miles? So that’s definitely something to ask about if you’re interested in this car. Carfax also prepares reports for cars sold on a different site, but these reports start at $39.99 fora basic one. This car runs, and it has luxury features. It also has high mileage. So your pick 2 would be: it runs; it has features.
3. Autotempest turned up a 2013 Mercedes C-class car for $8490
This car has 142,000 miles on it. It lists sporty chairs, a moon roof, heated leather seats (check and read its features) among its luxury features. So here’s another car with many miles, luxury features, that is running. Easy choice on the pick 2.
4. eBay Motors lists a 2008 Mercedes C-class car. It is in an auction that ends on 2/13, and the current bid is $4,550. It has 114, 648 miles. Then, when it comes to its description, there’s a problem. The title is clean. (find out the condition rankings on titles). It says that it drives and shifts fine, and the heat and A/C work. And: the glove box door is broken, and there are black streaks on the front bumper, and a rip in driver’s seat. 1. miles are slightly high 2. it runs 3. it needs cosmetic work, especially inside. Which two would you pick on this one?
Craigslist, being a local source will make it easier for you to see the car in person fast. Of course, you can shop online for any city’s eBay. I searched in a large city, because there was nothing available in my area, for example.
Since Carfax will prepare a report on any car, but only gives you the information for free on their site, you might be able to find the most information on this site.
eBay might provide the most discount, but it is a gamble, since you’re bidding against others. Also note that eBay tells you that there is a $98 dealer fee +a $25 title fee in addition to the winning bid.
Autotempest lists cars from multiple sellers, so it will give you a good overview of what is available.
Now, there are repairs, and there are REPAIRS
Say you picked a car based on it being a running car, and find you must repair it anyway. You need to assess your car for necessary repairs.
Minor repairs are inexpensive and easy things, like replacing the battery, new light bulbs, needing an oil change, and fixing the brakes.
Modest repairs: These include replacing the power steering, alternator and radiator, new tie rods, brake lines, and calipers.
Major repairs: These would be more expensive and difficult repairs. They include: a new transmission, a new engine, and major electrical fixes, which require complex diagnostics to track them down. An engine replacement also requires a new engine, which is costly for a luxury vehicle. A new engine runs around $12,000, and rebuilding your old one would cost $8,000, (not including installation or removal). These are things to consider, especially if one of your non-negotiables is a $10,000 budget.
What kind of car should you buy?
Get something popular among the rebuild, car mod enthusiasts. Say you tried to go with a rare, exotic car to save money, or so you’re not competing with everyone else for a popular car. Then you can’t find any repair parts, so you’d have to take your car to the dealership. And say they don’t feel like working on that kind of car, and charge you a premium to fix your car? You’d have been better off buying a more popular car among the rebuilding crowd. Then there would be plenty of parts, tools, and common expertise around to help you with your car.
Is it possible to keep a car you can’t afford?
It seems like luxury cars are expensive whether you buy them new or used. If you can’t afford to maintain them, then you can’t afford them, even at a bargain. You can save money on these cars, but you have to be very careful what you buy. You must search and search and search. In your research, learn what those cars’ common problems are. If the seller doesn’t mention that they’ve replaced or repaired the common problems, they know what it’s worth.
If you inspect a car that hasn’t had the common problem fixed, you’ve found a gem! Buy it, take it home, fix those common problems, and you’ve got a good car.
In 2001, Brian Cole was 22 years old and having the best day of his life when he and his Ford Explorer ran into the unexpected.
A superstar switch hitter, who never missed a ball, he was recruited by the NY Mets, who would build a whole new team around him.
Brian had just picked up his cousin to go celebrate with his family when, according to his cousin, another driver cut him off on the highway. Brian adroitly maneuvered the Explorer into the median to avoid an accident.
But something went wrong. According to Brian’s cousin, the steering wheel began to shake violently and the car jolted one direction and lifted off the ground. When the Explorer began to flip over and over, Brian’s cousin heard a loud snap and Brian disappeared from the car. Brian died from his injuries.
In court, Ford claimed that Brian was guilty of reckless driving, even though his cousin testified that they were driving about 45 MPH. Ford would later blame accidents like these involving the Explorer on Firestone tires, sending Firestone stock into a tailspin.
But Tab Turner, the lawyer for the family, proved that the Explorer had a history of rollovers and that the Explorer seatbelts tended to fail in rollover accidents.
Turner, later known as “Ford’s Nemesis”, won Brian’s family $131 million. Afterward, Ford would redesign the Explorer to fix the rollover issue. “Ford’s Nemesis” would help vindicate Firestone by proving that Ford was at fault in the rollovers, and not Firestone.
Though the settlement was a vindication, Brian’s parents would’ve had a better day if they still had their son.
The Explorer’s Background
The safety of the Ford SUVs became a nationwide concern in 2000. More than 200 deaths and 700 injuries in the United States were blamed on Ford Explorers rolling over after the tread separated on Firestone tires with which the Explorers had been equipped.
So, was it the tires, or the car—or both that caused the rollovers?
Before there was an Explorer, OJ’s car was infamous by itself
Anyone alive in 1994 has heard of the Ford Bronco. It was riveting watching the OJ Simpson, formally famous for running through airports in commercials, leading the police on a chase through the LA freeway system.
Little did we know that the Bronco was infamous of its own accord. By 1990, that SUV had been labeled the most deadly SUV on the road by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Why was the Explorer Unsafe?
The Explorer was created in 1992 in hopes of avoiding the Bronco’s rollover issues. But both cars suffered from stability problems. When Explorer test drivers saw the tires tip up on the sides, Ford knew it should improve its stability issues. They discovered they should widen the vehicle two inches.
But Ford didn’t do that. Instead they made minor changes in suspension and tire pressure. They crossed their fingers and released the car. The Explorer started rolling over immediately.
What About Firestone Tires?
Since all the rolled over Explorers had Firestone tires, Ford found a convenient scapegoat. They pointed the finger at their long-time tire partner. When a tire exploded on an Explorer, the car was unable to pull over to the side of the road. They rolled over instead.
But Firestone ran their own tests, and found that the Explorer rolled over no matter what brand tire they sported.
So that settles the car v tire issue, but that’s not what killed Brian Cole…
Brian Cole was not known for driving without a seatbelt, yet that’s exactly what Ford alleged in court. The surviving passenger, Brian’s cousin, testified that he was wearing his seatbelt.
The evidence corroborated this. Brian’s brother Greg noticed something odd when inspecting the car. “One thing we noticed when we opened the truck was that the seatbelt was still latched,” said Greg. “That kind of raised suspicions in our mind.”
Was the seatbelt defective? The belt was designed to lock into a firm grip when there’s sudden movement, like during a collision. But the same belt could fail and go slack during the unpredictable forces of a rollover.
What Happened in Court?
Though the Coles couldn’t get their son back, they sued Ford. The case took place 2010—9 years after the accident. Engineers used illustrations to show that Brian’s belt came loose on the first roll; he was thrown 78 feet, and never had a chance.
Five years before the accident, Ford’s own seat belt manufacturer TRW told Ford they already offered a better design: a belt that “remains locked with belt tension regardless of motion.” Yet it took Ford five years to begin using the improved belts in some SUVs. Brian was already dead.
In court, Ford insisted that Cole wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
The jurors decided otherwise after seeing a coroner’s photo. It appeared to show the severe bruising where Brian’s shoulder belt grabbed him — before going slack and letting him go. The jury returned an unprecedented $131 million verdict against Ford.
Ford Explorers in the Wild
According to federal data, 22,000 people who were wearing their seat belts died in rollover crashes between 1992 and 2002. Joan Claybrook used to head the federal highway safety agency NHTSA. She says rollover-safe belts are inexpensive and that federal officials should have forced automakers to use them years ago. As it is, she says there are no federal rules mandating seat belts that hold in a rollover crash.
A Tragic Conclusion
In 2002, (the year after Brian Cole died), Ford finally made the changes they refused to make when they first released the Ford Explorer. Unfortunately, the Ford Explorer early models are still on the road, and many of their occupants are suffering from the effects of severe rollover accidents. Lawsuits continue to be filed, and in 2009, Ford lost four major rollover cases, each worth $10 million or more.
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