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Hello everyone, first post here,

I'm in the process of opening an actual shop, i've been a mobile mechanic for 10 years. I specialize in hybrid and electric vehicles. I've been searching prices on fluid exchanger machines, lifts and other pricey equipment. I've been looking at some really cheap Chinese equipment on ebay, i'm just wondering if anyone here has successfully used any of this equipment. It's tempting but I know the old "you get what you pay for" mantra. They got lifts for $1,600 and ATF fluid exchangers for $335. Might be worth trying the fluid exchanger on some of my own vehicles for that price. I appreciate any input, thank you!

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4 hours ago, 5 Star Auto Spa said:

Don't do it.  We made that mistake when we first opened and it is extremely hard to source replacement parts when you need them.  

And you will need replacement parts for sure. 

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I bought a Launch tire balancer a few years ago. Absolute junk. The dealer that I met at the trade show quit being a dealer for them right after I bought it. Hell, maybe before and he was just trying to unload it.

Long story short, it broke 3 months later, and the dealer wouldn't come look at it even though he promised he would time and time again. Launch kept telling me it was the dealer's responsibility to service it. After a solid year of fighting with Launch (and buying a replacement balancer) I finally got them to send me a scanner of equal value to replace it.

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44 minutes ago, AndersonAuto said:

I bought a Launch tire balancer a few years ago. Absolute junk. The dealer that I met at the trade show quit being a dealer for them right after I bought it. Hell, maybe before and he was just trying to unload it.

Long story short, it broke 3 months later, and the dealer wouldn't come look at it even though he promised he would time and time again. Launch kept telling me it was the dealer's responsibility to service it. After a solid year of fighting with Launch (and buying a replacement balancer) I finally got them to send me a scanner of equal value to replace it.

My service manager's brother opened a shop and bought a cheap Chinese balancer and changer. They were both constantly broke down and were completely out of commission within 6 months. Service was almost impossible to come by and replacement parts took months.  The Chinese stuff may be ok for a hobby shop but not for a serious shop doing any volume. I would rather have used American than new Chinese.  Our lifts are Rotary, our changer and aligner are Hunter, and our balancer is Coats. Don't buy Chinese for anything with a lot of moving parts. Their stuff has a lot of plastic parts that break.  Above all else don't do Chinese on balancers and changers is my advice. 

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Here's how I think about it...would you put cheap Chinese parts on a customer's car?  No.  You install quality parts because they are better for the customer.  Same here.  Quality equipment doesn't break as frequently, is faster to fix when it does break and often is faster and easier to use due to its superior engineering.  You are not just buying equipment.  You are buying reliability, service and functionality.  How much reliability do you want?  Well, it's going to cost more for more reliability.  Hope that helps!  I know it's served me well thinking about it that way.

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Thank you all for your input! It confirms what I already knew to be true. It's just surprising when you look on ebay that they're selling quite a few of these (a few hundred) which got me thinking, who's actually using this stuff? I'm trying to partner with an existing shop so hopefully I won't need to buy any of these machines, just pay a monthly fee for shop use. If things go good i'll have my own shop eventually and at that point i'm going to buy used american machines. I will say however that the Sunex impact sockets I got have been working great, they're from Taiwan and are basically a step up from harbour freight tools. I agree to avoid things with moving parts because they are built with cheap plastic.

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I've managed a team in mainland China for a number of years.  The Communist culture encourages cheating, especially if it furthers their personal position.   Unlike here, cheating is a proud accomplishment that you brag to your friends while at your local bar - to cheat and not get caught or have it matter.  I also had Chinese working for me locally that "escaped" and they would tell horror stories and certainly knew who not to trust.   They were my cheapest cost center, yet my most ineffective producers (oddly, they had terrific made-up status reports).  Lack of production made them the most expensive in the end.  We tend to think that quality issues are by mistake, but in fact, these are often by design.   There's a huge difference between a Chinese Design and a Reputable Design (NA, Europe, etc).   (Also, don't equate Taiwan to  mainland China.   They are both Chinese, but have different value sets.  Taiwan has a better reputation and pretty much hates China).

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In general don't by Chinese crap. Just like bantar said, its cultural. They are unscrupulous capitalists and care nothing about the product or the end user just as long as they can make money. I can make these comments because they are my people.

 

Some stuff is OK to use but you have to be very particular. I would also not recommend Chinese lifts. They may work fine but service and replacement parts can be problematic. 

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I bought a new Chinese tranny jack because my 30 year old one was finally worn out. Amazon reviews were amazing, but the jack is total garbage in real life. It's really good for nothing, maybe hanging rags on it. So my new jack is costing me $2200 instead of $2000. because I spent $200 on a piece of scrap metal. 

I'm not standing under a budget lift. Too much risk. Chinese Firecrackers? Yes, tools, No. 

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4 hours ago, alfredauto said:

I bought a new Chinese tranny jack because my 30 year old one was finally worn out. Amazon reviews were amazing, but the jack is total garbage in real life. It's really good for nothing, maybe hanging rags on it. So my new jack is costing me $2200 instead of $2000. because I spent $200 on a piece of scrap metal. 

I'm not standing under a budget lift. Too much risk. Chinese Firecrackers? Yes, tools, No. 

Amen! Amen! I lost a car off a relatively new Rotary lift that was built 4 times better than the Chinese stuff. I certainly do not want to risk it the Chinese stuff. 

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Yes, lots of good info here, thank you all again! Found a shop that was not being utilized by the owner, his head mechanic quit and he's got a lawn company so he was using the facility for storage and repair of his equipment, so it's a really good fit for both of us and he's already got lifts and a bunch of other equipment, all American made. 

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I am in agreement with most of you on this site when it comes to s Chinese products but I guess you can call me lucky on this Wheel Aligner purchase. I bought a 4 Camera imagining Aligner from a company called Pinnacle Automotive Systems. I have had this Aligner coming up on 4 years and it is bullet proof and very fast. I did do my research on this one and the same Hunter would have cost me double. I’m okay with that but I can’t charge my customer double and it takes that much longer to pay for it. 

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