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New brake pads . . .

By Mark Crocker

Have you ever said mechanics get paid too much for what they do? Well I am about to admit to something. I am hopeless at fixing simple things on my car or in my car. Take brakes for example.

Brakes are a very important part of a car. Well any vehicle really, bikes, cars, trucks, big rigs even aircraft and the space shuttle use brakes. And where would we be without brakes. “CRASH CRUNCH”

Well the brakes on my car started to squeak a couple weeks ago. At first it was the odd squeak as I came to a stop. “A mouse” I thought. Then it turned to a squeak when I would turn a corner “Mice” I thought.

Then it turned into a squeal when I would drive down the road. Turning up the radio worked for a few days then my ears started to hurt as my radio got louder and louder. Plus the locals thought it rather strange to hear a car driving down the road blaring classical music. Most of them are use to hearing the local kids playing loud music that is very heavy on the ears.

So today Tuesday, June 27, 2006 I thought it was time to save my poor ears and the neighborhood from my rather loud classical music and the family of mice my car had now become. So I got out my camping stool and my tool kit and jacked up my car.

“This will be easy” I said to myself. I can save myself money and not worry about not having my car while a mechanic works on it. Well off came the wheel. Not a problem. Next came off the nuts holding the brake assemble.

“Hey this is easy” next the brake pads came out and I got ready to put the new ones in.

“Hmm” I thought as I tried to get the new pads in.

So I took the whole brake assemble off the mounting and looked very carefully at it. I then reached for my manual. (Something I should have done in the first place. But no one reads the manual). Ok so far so good. But it did not tell me how to fit the new pads over the router. I tried pushing it down with my fingers. I tried draining all the brake fluid out I tried a “C” clamp to push it down. I tried cussing at it.

In the end I reached over and grabbed my cell phone and called a friend. By now my hands where so black and covered in oil that my cell phone will now and forever have a coat of oil all over it.

After talking for a few minutes and having to put up with some good humored ribbing I was ready to screw down the dam piston that presses the pads. I had now been working on the one brake for close to an hour and a half. Within ten minutes I had the pads on and the whole brake assemble back on the driver’s side of my car.

The passengers side to me a total of fifteen to twenty minutes to do. Where as the driver’s side had taken my close to one hour and forty five minutes.

“Well I better test drive my car”.

So I started up my car and put my foot on the brake peddle. Thud. My foot went right to the floor. More cussing.

I looked under my car on both side and almost broke my neck slipping on the puddle of brake fluid I had drained out while trying to get the dam f’ing piston in place for new brakes. Having filled the brake fluid thing back up I hopped back in my car and pumped the brakes.

“Hmmm a little soft but lets test drive it anyway”.

Half way down the road I knew I had a problem. But me being me I stopped at the local coffee house to get myself a latte and to talk to the owner who works on his own vehicles.

“Did you bleed the brakes?”

“Did I do what?” Almost choking on my soy latte.

“Yeah you have to bleed the brakes if you have opened the brake line”.

“OH” a little light bulb went off. Ok so it was more of a screech light.

So driving back home and once again jacking up the car I pulled the wheel off yet again and undid this tiny little bolt. Then stepping on the brake peddle I watched as the brake fluid came out as a fine mist. Then depressing the peddle again a jet of brake fluid shot out a covered my sneakers. I redid the tiny bolt back up stepped on the peddle a few times and then undid the bolt again and stepped on the peddle (Keeping my feet out of the way this time) and I watched the fluid jetted out. Then I did the bolt back up popped the hood of my car and refilled the brake fluid thing.

I restarted my car and off I went. No mice no need to play loud music and my car did stop as it should. The brakes still feel a little soft and I guess I should bleed them again to make sure all the air is out.

But the main thing is that now I know that mechanics get paid well for a good reason. It’s not what they do that get them paid so well. It’s what they know that gets them paid so well.

reprint from his webblog © 6/28/2006 1:25:00 AM Mark Crocker

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New Brake Pads

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