- Are they still going to sell Chinese cars in the USA?
- Most basic of rides for aspiring mechanic?
- TFLtruck’s (not-so) Great Race!
The first question comes from a question on Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the Chinese push to sell their cars in the United States.
(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) I know you keep tabs on newcomers like GAC. After everything being done to China by us, will they still try to sell cars here. Will it ever happen now? Can they compete?
A: Hi there!
Yes, I believe we will see Chinese cars in the United States in the near future. Initially, GAC (Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group) was dead serious about selling their SUVs in the United State as recent as last year. Obviously, many changes have occurred that have altered the marketing paradigm and many hopefully Chinese automakers are cooling their jets regarding our market – for now.
With that being said, I had an opportunity to see how many modern Chinese cars are bolted together. They have adopted modern construction methods and have invested billions in modernization and design. I must say, they have improved their build quality (a big issue in older Chinese cars) by a massive margin. Many of their automakers are, or soon-will-be, comparable to ours.
Personally, I don’t mind if they challenge our market. Competition is the best thing for industry and consumers. Stay tuned, there’s more to come from this story.
The next question comes from a young fan who wants to begin wrenching on a future ride.
What do you think about me getting an old car to wrench on before I turn 16 to become better at repair and maybe become a mechanic? I have $1,800 saved right now and I want to lean as much about fixing cars as I can. My mom has a new Hyundai and wont let me mess with it. I am 13 and want to know as much as I can before I drive.
A: Hi Tyrell, thanks for the email!
Buying an old vehicle to wrench on is a fantastic idea! You can learn the basics as you progressively fix up the vehicle. If you’re serious about this, and you have a place to store/work on the vehicle, I would recommend that you do a few things before you blow all your money.
1. Get a proper set of tools. You don’t need an expensive set (like Snap-On) to begin with, but cars require real tools that you don’t mind getting dirty.
2. Get a book (service and repair manual) on the vehicle you buy. Chiltons is a good start. While many are available on-line, I recommend buying an actual book as it’s easy to transport, doesn’t need batteries and you can write notes all over it. Finally, you may be able to buy used books for a lot less than new ones. Collect and read as much as you can about being a mechanic.
3. Get used to wearing service gloves, eye protection and a work jacket, apron or jumpsuit. This is mostly for safety and keeping corrosive fluids away from your skin. Get used to wearing this stuff, professional mechanics do everyday.
4. Ask for advice. Your email to me proves that you’re smart enough to seek information from others. That’s a very adult thing to do. Keep doing it! As you learn, don’t be afraid to ask other mechanics what they suggest.
5. Be patient and take pictures of your progress. Failing is okay, you can’t learn without making mistakes.
Good luck and I hope to hear about your progress in the future!
The last question is about our TFLTruck’s (Not-so) Great Race!
What is it? When does it happen? Who’s in it? Where does it take place? WHY do this?
Here are the details about the upcoming No-so Great Race!
What is the Not-so Great Race?: Two teams, 1,000-ish miles, one goal – to win. Each team begins in the middle of a city/town which is about 1,000 miles from Boulder, CO. Each one has the newest full-size SUV from a competing automaker. Each team has to race home without exceeding the speed limit. A series of tasks will force each team to stop and they must complete the task before they move on.
Where and when is this Not-so Great Race taking place?: One team starts in downtown Chicago and the other in Malibu. The race begins Monday, October 1st – early in the morning.
Who’s participating in the Not-so Great Race?: Team TFL is going all out. The Chicago team will have Mr. Truck, Mikey and videographer Ian. The Malibu team has Andre, Nathan and videographer Matt. Roman, editor Zach and Tommy will monitor the race from our home base.
Why are you doing this Not-so Great Race?: For glory and, to be honest, so we can bring these new SUVs to Colorado to test and video them.
It should be a hoot. Putting the cast of Team TFL through the wringer should be some great TV!
Those are the basics.
Keep an eye on this race on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube as we update our progress and leave a few clues for you about TFL swag we hide along the way!
Some details are at the end of this live video!
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.