January 10, 2008
And A Good Day To You, Mr. Brakes!
Had to take my car in yesterday. The brakes were squealing in protest whenever I applied the pedal.
In high school, my car did this, once. Just started making really loud noises one day. I went about my business for a few days—I didn’t totally ignore it; I had to turn the radio up—and then at one point I went to stop and it made the noise much louder and grindier and I didn’t actually stop so much. So I gingerly drove to the mechanic, and it turned out that I had worn out my brakepads entirely, and it was down to metal grinding against the rotors, which doesn’t actually apply that much braking force. There’s a reason they don’t make brake pads out of metal. This also destroyed the rotors and made the repair cost twice as much, so I learned the hard way that noisy brakes are not something to be mostly ignored.
This time, I called up the shop as soon as they started making noise, and drove as little as possible. It turns out, though, that they don’t need to be replaced, they were just lonely, or something. Upset at the rain, probably; we all are. The mechanic said that he cleaned them and spoke softly to them in a soothing voice, and that I should get another 10K miles or so before we needed to put them down. It cost me $55, which I happily paid, because my mechanic has a convincing manner (not just with brakes). And also because he didn’t laugh at me when I locked my keys in the car when I dropped it off.