Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Channeling my inner Manny, Moe & Jack

So, yesterday, out and about greater metropolitan Boyd, Rhome or Newark, I heard that telltale scratching sound as I pulled to a stop.

I knew its voice immediately: "Hey, dummy, do you wanna buy another brake rotor like you did a few years ago?"

"Um, no sir, Mr. Automobile spirit."

"Then I suggest you get your candy a$$ to O'Reilly's and get me some new pads before I really stick it to you with a big repair bill!"

"OK, you got it." I don't know why this last century mid-size SUV feels it can speak to me like that, but I figured it wasn't the time to discuss semantics. Sure, I could've gotten the last word, like "Hey, don't you know you're the most traded-in model in the Cash for Clunkers program?", but I was feeling charitable, and held back. Also, we've been friends for over a decade, and how could I hurt the feelings of a friend who's safely transported me a distance greater than halfway to the moon?

Off to O'Reilly's I went, right after work.

I could've bought the $19.99 (per set) standard pads, but I didn't want to put up with the dust, replacing them in six months, and the inevitable griping from Mr. Automobile spirit. Then there were the $36.99 set, semi-metallic. And $49.99, and finally some $59.99 Pottery Barn or ceramic or somesuch. The salesclerk dutifully asked me if I needed some brake grease, as I'm sure it said to do in his training manual.

"No, I've got some at home. But, just a question. Where do you apply the grease on the brake pad?"

"Right here [pointing to the friction surface]."

"Um, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the brake pad?"

"Uh, yeah, you might be right."

Idiot. So, forgoing the add-on brake grease sale, and one hundred seven dollars and fifty nine cents later, I owned eight new, semi-metallic, Thermo-Quiet™ disc brake pads.

After feeding the dog and myself, putting on warm clothes, I gathered my tools: floor jack, wheel chocks, crossbone lug wrench, 10mm combo wrench, vise-grips, pry-tool, screwdriver, grease with Q-tips, and worklight.

Like a skilled surgeon, I donned nitrile gloves for protection. My hands looked like they were auditioning for The Blue Man Group.

Brakes are curious to me. I've changed brakes on every car I've ever owned: Chrysler, Opel, Fiat, Datsun, Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet, Isuzu, Dodge, Mercury. But the thing is, I don't do them very often, so the first wheel takes me about an hour to remember what I'm doing, about 15 minutes for each of the rest.

I did the left rear last night, and, being cold and tired, saved the right rear for tonight, completed in less than half the time. Apparently I chose the correct order, and just in time, too. As the photo below shows, there was only about 1/32" of pad left, and the backing plate was just beginning to contact the raised shoulder portion of the rotor.


Blue Man Group, or Avatar guy, points out wear marks on brake pad backing.


The front pads can wait until the weekend.

And daylight.

4 comments:

adult washcloths said...

Wet wipes are proving to be one of the most popular gloves in today's work environments. They are inexpensive to use, easily disposed of and provide a higher level or protection for workers in hazardous areas.

The Donald said...

An important public service announcement.

astronaut undies said...

Don't forget the Depends for when the floor jack gives out and the falling vehicle barely misses your foot.

The Donald said...

Not sure why my blue gloves piqued the interest of the adult diaper advocates, but, welcome to Sonnet 116 anyway!