Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hear a sound? Turn around.

Recently, I did an 8-hour road trip with my parents*. At hour six and a half we heard a “thunk” below the car. At hour seven, while turning onto a major highway, we heard some vicious grinding as I used the brakes. At hour eight, one and a half miles from our destination, we came off the highway ramp and heard more grinding and then felt some violent seizing of the brakes. We were not going anywhere for a while, but thankfully we were off the highway and near some facilities.

Unfortunately it was late on a Friday night and the start of a weekend, so finding an open auto shop was going to be hit and miss. To make matters worse, my brake lights had been on for weeks and I assumed that it was just a bad sensor—I had even brought it back to the mechanic and he said it was nothing to worry about. So there was the inevitable second-guessing to add to the situation.

Luckily, I had a roadside assistance policy. Unluckily, they were only good for finding a tow truck and not for a place to actually tow to**. After asking around, we found a place that “might be, possibly be open on Saturdays”. It wasn’t, which I discovered that night on their website.

So the next morning it was another call, another wait, another tow and a lot more sitting around.

And what did they find? That “thunk” was a bolt that had gone missing like a blonde girl off a cruise ship. And the seizing of the brakes*** was the housing slipping down.

Total cost … now keep in mind, I’m a guy from out of town. This is the ONLY place open on a Saturday and if I don’t get this fixed, I’m renting hotel rooms and missing work days. They pretty much have me hooked like a trout on a line, dancing left and right.

$65. Total. For maybe an hour of time and a new bolt. Amen****.

*Yes, I am a saint.
**Exact quote “We can Google something”.
***Or, as the mechanic said. “Oh, you mean SEIZING. Not seizing.”
****Jesus re-built my hotrod.