Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Travel and Car Brakes

So while driving from Brooklyn to NJ Saturday I noticed something off about my car (again)...

squeak squeak... squeeeeaaak... go the brakes.

I mistakenly said my brakes were grinding (oops).  For some reason using the term squeaking didn't seem to be in my vocabulary on Saturday.  I pretty much immediately got in touch with a very mechanically inclined male friend.  The noise was quiet and subtle.  It sounded sort of like they were wet, it was intermittent, and clearer when braking and turning.  My concern was "great I knew my front brakes needed to be replaced and now I am in NJ with a lot more driving ahead of me and it's a Saturday.  Greeeeeaaaat."  Being that there were not loud he told me to not worry about it while I was out of town.

My super old Suzuki Sidekick from forever ago had work done on it and when I had gotten the car back I kept telling mechanics the brakes needed to be replaced and they kept telling me I was wrong.  I was just used to the rental car and my brakes were fine.  That lasted about a month until they started grinding and I had a very pregnant friend in my car when it happened.  I felt awful.  If you haven't been in a car where the brakes are grinding on the rotors it's feels like chunks of gravel are stuck in the brake pads and causes the vehicle to shake as though your flying over cobblestone.  Not fun and I imagine pretty awful for a Tpregnant lady and my friend was VERY pregnant.

That said I also knew my brakes were not THAT bad because of my previous experience.  Monday, I spoke with another mechanical friend who explained to me that the squeak is a warning that the brakes are much too low.  He also told me that it's louder when braking and turning because the turning puts more pressure on the brake pads.  I have had experience with grinding brakes and destroyed rotors AND having them replaced with the wrong rotors causing the brake pads the SLIP OFF!  Driving to work in my Sidekick and I went to brake, POP, brake to the floor, and the car is not stopping... uh oh.  No worries, I drove into the grassy median and used the emergency brake.  This is a huge traffic no no but I figured it was that or hit the car in front of me.  I broke the law.  They didn't care.  I think the don't cross the median is really for idiots that want to use it as an extra lane or to make crazy U-turns.  It's also useful for the silly people driving too fast in the snow... they kind of get sucked into the snow bank median, like a snow vacuum for morons.

And with THAT said I took my newer Suzuki to the dealership mechanic (who did an amazing job with my wiring/headlight issue).  They also offer rental cars which is a major plus for me.  I was able to leave my car there last night and the work was done by noon today.  They called me at 9am and told me I was completely right.  The front brakes were done-zo (and my rear brakes were perfect), but they had not started grinding so my rotors did not need to be replaced.  Yay!  I also asked them to give my car a fabulous oil change and check it's battery terminal connectors which are actually in great shape they just needed a good cleaning and coating.  He also told me the crack in my air box DOES NOT NEED TO BE REPLACED.  OMG.  There is a seal that belongs there, but it's a part they have to order.  Every other mechanic I have been to with this car commented on my cracked air box saying it needs to be replaced.  All of them. This could easily be summed up as me being happy to hear what I want to hear, but it is not.  When interrupted him on the phone (bad girl, I know) and said "yea I know I need a new air box" this would be a prime opportunity for them to rip me off and say yes because air boxes are not cheap, but nope I just need a seal.  :D

So happy to have my beat up little car back.  She still needs more work and slowly but surely it will get done.  I am thinking next up is that air box seal and my cam sensor, then the rear tires, and eventually the thermostat.  I am hoping to hold onto this car for at least one more year.  I wanted to get rid of it, but maybe before registration comes up again. Think I might take her to the car wash when I get home from PA this coming Monday.  She could certainly use it.