Man talking(l+r), Mechanic working on engine(c)

4 PM production/Shutterstock @tobatech/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘It’s time to stop buying new’: Mechanic calls out new cars for now making this critical front-end part out of plastic

‘Cars today aren’t ment to be saved, but junked after they’re payed off, to go buy a new one.’


Parks Kugle


In an age where everything is disposable, it’s unsurprising that crucial components of a car aren’t necessarily made to last.

Luckily, some people are still calling out this madness, like Canadian mechanic Tobatech (@tobatech), who gained over 250,000 views when he called out manufacturers for making a critical front-end part out of plastic.

The 46-second clip begins with a close-up of a truck’s suspension system. Tobatech pointed out the plastic parts: a ball joint, ball sock, and arm control.

“In no world can you convince that a plastic control arm is a good idea,” he said, referencing the part that links the front wheels to your car. “Hell, they tell us that our car seats for our children only last seven years because the plastic can start breaking down. … So a car seat can’t last more than seven years no matter what kind of plastic you use, but there’s plastic that’s going to be strong enough to last a truck and not get brittle and cracked? … These trucks are getting more and more expensive, and in my opinion, they’re getting weaker and weaker.”

According to Healthline, children’s car seats generally expire six to 10 years after the manufacture date, and part of this is due to wear and tear. For example, the site states, “If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, your seat may also bake in the sun while your car is parked and get tiny cracks in the plastic that you can’t even see.”

However, it also notes changing regulations, recalls, and the limits of manufacturer testing as reasons beyond wear and tear for car seats to expire.

Though Tobatech said he’d seen plastic control arms shatter under the strain of driving, plastics are looking like the future of the automotive industry.

According to A&C Plastics Inc., there are four types of plastic commonly used in cars.

First, there’s polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer. This plastic can be shaped into anything and has inherent heat and chemical resistance. It’s generally found in bumpers, gas cans, and a car’s carpet fibers.

Then, there’s polyvinyl chloride (commonly known as PVC), which is a flame-retardant plastic that can be formed into flexible and rigid components. It is used for dashboards and other parts.

Third on the list is the lightweight and weather-resistant polycarbonate. This plastic is capable of withstanding conditions from heat to cold to rain to snow. Being so lightweight, it also improves a car’s fuel efficiency.

The final plastic is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS sheet. This plastic is similar to PVC because it can be molded into a sleek finish. It’s often found in steering wheel covers and dashboards and has heavy-duty applications.

Drivers aren’t happy with plastic

Regardless of what a plastics company says, many people are frustrated with the wide-scale removal of metal car parts. For example, one user on the Motor Vehicle Stack Exchange claimed that the wide-scale implementation of plastics is “because they are light, cheap, and break after only a few years.” According to the poster, plastics can be revolutionary and are as “good as or better than metal parts they are supposed to replace.” However, they also claim that most plastic parts are poorly designed and manufactured, so they generally break under too much strain.

@tobatech What are your thoughts in plastic front end parts??#ram #ram1500 #balljoint #suspension #tobatech #mechanicsoftiktok #carsoftiktok ♬ original sound – TOBATECH

Commenters widely agreed with Tobatech, but they weren’t shocked by the revelation about manufacturers making a critical front-end part out of plastic.

“It’s time to stop buying new fix the old stuff,” one viewer wrote.

“Cars today aren’t ment to be saved, but junked after they’re payed off, to go buy a new one,” a second said.

“Just got to make the warranty period,” a third agreed.

“Plastic upper and lower control arms and ball joints should be Illegal!” a fourth said.

“I’ve been towing a bunch of newer vehicles lately because of broken lower control arms.. Idk if they’re plastic but it would make sense as to why so many are breaking,” another replied.

Cars breaking down quicker than in the past isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2016, Insidehook reported that in a survey of 32 million broken-down vehicles, cars fewer than five years old had a higher chance of breaking down.

The Daily Dot reached out to Tobatech via TikTok comment for more information.

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