@25th Sep 2010, 10:55.
I've heard this story dropped at many review sites but people are never providing any real facts to back it up. I think people are just inventing things to smear Toyota, because for some strange reason it's always some sort of Toyota involved.
IF a car sagged after 42 k miles that would be a serious defect that would force the manufacturer to replace the car, since that defect really can't be fixed in many cases. So why didn't this happen? (I know why: It never really happened).
I've never seen a car sag simply by its own weight, even high mileage compacts. If a car sags it's because it's bumped into something, the curb or similarly. The only car I've seen sagging just by itself is the nineties Neon where Chrysler put out many cars with missing spot welds on the rear crossmember, but most were fixed during recalls. This one wasn't recalled and the rear was literally falling off the car.
... but in reality most unibody cars and SUVs actually have more structural integrity and rigidity than the equivalent vehicle with a box frame. Just do a search for a crash test involving a '59 Chevrolet and a 2009 Chevy Malibu. The '59 Chevy, which has a box frame, was totally decimated while the newer car suffered significantly less damage. Also, modern cars also tend to weigh more than their older counterparts due to the addition of beefed up safety equipment and on-board electronics.
What more documentation is required than actual owner testimony? I've had one Japanese car that had a sagging frame and my friend has one also. In the late 80s (when Japanese cars were supposed to be built in Heaven by God) the now defunct Omni magazine ran a brief article about how Japanese car makers used smaller, flimsier frame components in their cars, and how domestics were actually over engineered.
Huh, you know how magazines usually become "defunct"? Yeah, the write crappy stories with no merit. I'd rather go by magazines like Car and Driver, who do nothing but test cars and have been around for longer than most. They have long praised foreign cars as the better brands for quality and reliability... even back in the late 80's.
What?!? Cars of the fifties were easily 4000 pounds or more with the excessive steel they used in the bumpers and full frames etc, etc. They were also much bigger than the cars of today.
Nowadays with aluminum engines, unibody construction and the extensive use of plastic on cars, they weigh much less and therefore are much more efficient. The only vehicles that come close to the weight of the cars of old are full size SUV's.
A lot of factors come into play in crashes. The more "squishy" a car is, the less likely you are to be hurt as the squishing expends some of the energy of the crash. The problem, however, is that many small cars advertising "crumple zones" fail to mention that those cars are ONLY safe in crashes with similar sized vehicles of the same or less weight. Any large, full-frame vehicle can literally drive through a small car with virtually no damage to the larger car or occupants. I saw a crash where a Ford Explorer had literally driven through a Honda Civic, and had not so much as a broken windshield. Needless to say, the Civic occupants did not fair well at all.
Another major factor is build quality. Imports use much flimsier metal and are much less able to survive a crash than a domestic of the same size. A few years ago I hit a Toyota Tundra in my Dodge Dakota. I had a smashed grill and broken headlight. My truck could have been driven home. The Toyota's frame buckled, and the engine and transmission broke loose from the frame. It had to be hauled away on a flatbed. Luckily, neither I nor the other driver was seriously injured, but I would not feel safe in a poorly built imported vehicle.
"Another major factor is build quality. Imports use much flimsier metal and are much less able to survive a crash than a domestic of the same size."
So that's how they continually outscore the domestics in every crash test. Huh, I never knew!
""So that's how they continually outscore the domestics in every crash test. Huh, I never knew!"
Yeah, because the Tundra's frame is sooo strong. I'd take my Crown Vic frame over that flimsy piece of crap any day. Look at the way the frame flexes on bumps, and the way the bed bounces over bumps in comparison tests. Face it, if the Japanese want to build a frame, they go to the dollar store for materials."
Hey, I don't do the crash test ratings, but the fact is imports beat out domestics every year in every category.
This statement is blatantly FALSE. Until recently ALL Japanese cars scored near the BOTTOM in crash tests for the very reason being discussed: Flimsy construction and materials. Now a few imports get 5-star ratings, but domestics still score much higher. The new Ford Fiesta scored higher in crash tests than any car in its class, as do most Ford and GM vehicles.
My check engine light on my 1999 Camry LE six cyl. with 112,000 has been on for about 3 years now. Never had a problem. I change oil every 3,000 miles and my oil is always clean. Don't worry about the light. Just keep on driving and make sure to check all levels on everything each time you have the oil changed. You will be fine. I bought my Camry brand new off the show room floor. Great car.. if you take care of it.
Thank you for sharing this. I try to explain to people that check engine lights mean absolutely nothing 99% of the time.
I have driven cars over 100,000 miles with the check engine light on with never a problem. If your oil pressure and water temperature are OK, and the gas mileage does not drop, you are OK. After two weeks you can ignore the light. Auto Zone will gladly check the code for you, and tell you what the computer shows. Generally it is some very minor issue that you can ignore.
Also, auto manufacturers code the car's computer to turn on the lights at pre-set intervals to get you to bring the car in for servicing. The check engine light on my last Dodge came on at 40,000 mile intervals. The service tech told me this was programmed into the computer to get me to bring the car in. He showed me how to re-set the light, and I'd just re-set it when it came on. Car dealers make a fortune scaring people into bringing their cars in when the check engine light comes on. Naturally they will find something expensive to fix, whether it needs it or not. Independent mechanics also take advantage of such scare tactics to make unneeded repairs.
The check engine light has been on in my current car for a year. The code says "engine running too cool". The heat gauge indicates it is squarely in the normal temperature zone.