Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Watched a kid get very lucky today

Was sitting at a stoplight earlier today. Kid in a 2nd-gen Eclipse with a ridiculously giant Cessnas-are-jealous wing, racing stripes, body kit, fart-can exhaust, and crappy HID conversion kit revved up behind me one lane over, getting ready to turn onto a 55mph highway. He hit the brakes for the light, and his passenger front wheel collapsed. Broken ball joint.

When the wheel folded up, his car slammed down on the body kit, tearing the side skirt off the car, beating hell out of his bumper, and it looked like the fender got munched as well, though as bad as the rest of the car looked, that might have already been there. So now he gets to repair his ball joint and has expensive body repairs to do as well, plus whatever other damage the collapse might have done that I couldn’t see.

If I had to guess, he spent all his money on the dopey cosmetic “upgrades” and neglected basic maintenance. He’s lucky it let go at a stoplight when he was doing around 5mph. 30 seconds later he’d have been going 55 heading for another stoplight - that would have been fun.

Keep up on your maintenance and inspections, folks!

“Sealed For Life” ball joints and tie-rod ends…I wonder whose life they are talking about…Also, you look at some of these parts, they look like they belong inside a retractable ball-point pen, not the front end of a car…

Whenever I see a car “customized” with every crappy aftermarket body part from aisle 9 at Pep Boys, I wonder…How much maintenance has he skipped in order to pay for those ridiculous-looking add-ons?

Good post. It’s relevant to everyone who does the “obvious” but neglects the rest. I bet this kid changed his oil, Regularly, perhaps every 2500 miles. But, routine inspections of those little mundane components are life savers.

I find myself wondering of he also “slammed” the car. Many kids make unsafe modifications to the suspension to get the car as close to the ground as possible. They don’t understand that if you remove the ability of the suspension to absorb bumps, you overstress things like ball joints.

Mostly I will assume some carelessness on the part of the kid. But who really knows? Maybe he just replaced the ball joints and the part was defective (and probably cheap). The quality of today’s replacement parts gets more and more questionable all of the time IMHO.

The last time I saw this, by the way, was a rather ironic situation. It was actually similar - a vehicle in a left turn lane with the passenger side sitting down on the folder under tire. What made it ironic is that it was an auto parts store delivery vehicle.

The root cause could be anything. I just see so many of these types of modifications that I get the willies every time I see a rice-burner with a body kit. I almost EXPECT to see a wheel come off.

I’m with you there mountainbike. When I see those things I want nothing more than to be as far away from them as possible.

I had always thought that today’s hopped up cars, especially the asians, were safer than the street rods my friends cruised around in back in the 60’s & 70’s. A 73 Nova for example, with leaf springs & 4 wheel drum brakes.

The OP today made change my mind maybe!

They are unless they’re improperly modified… which they very often are by kids.
Braking systems, passive restraints, energy absorption and cabin protection, all are far, far better than they were on '60s and '70s cars. But if you add a spacer behind the wheel to increase track, cut a few coils out of the spring, and put wider, heavier tires on a car designed for sporty economy, like a Civic or Mitsu, you stand a real good chance of overloading the ball joint. They’re designed for the suspension to absorb bumps, not the ball joints. Add a pothole and you have the makings of a disaster.

To go along with MB’s suggestion of the car being “slammed”, either from hillybilly engineering, or from pre-made lowering kits, there was a trend not too long ago where the wheels were cambered rather nastily; making the car ride on the inner sidewall of the tires

Well I and many others here live though the 60’s and up era cars, We made it this far, with bad mods, but do not have a risk of hearing loss due to high db woomp thump piss off the neighborhood stereos!

No, you guys just had big block engines with straight pipes or cherry bomb mufflers.

Though I do agree about those poser stereo systems needing to go away

I never ever understood what is so great about listening to rattling sheet metal…

The one in your picture also has what I call “Hot Wheels”, where the rims are way too wide for the tires. This thing is unsafe.
Scary. Really, really scary.

Whenever I hear someone with a $1,200 stereo in a $1,000 car, I think to myself: “I wonder how many child support payments he missed to buy that?”

I’ve seen a few of those cars in Boston. I never understood WHY someone would do that.

@MikeInNH. Because they want to be deaf and dumb and they’ve only managed dumb so far.

The intelligence of the human race is constant. The number of mentioned population is increasing…

About 30 years ago my psychologist neighbor and I were musing about how it seemed that folks that didn’t take very good care of their kids were having five or more while those that did care for their kids were one or two. The results seem to have come to fruition.