Sunday, September 11, 2005

Maybe I Should Just Drive Brum

Yesterday as I was driving on the highway the car in front of me saw a state trooper up ahead. I was quite a ways behind them, so when they hit their brakes I wasn’t worried. I started to slow down a little bit. The trouble came when the car in the lane to the right also hit their brakes. The car behind them was definitely following too closely and to avoid an accident swerved into my lane. Right in front of me. Now I had to brake in earnest. Accident avoided.

So as I made my way home hours later I was coming to a stop at a stop light and I heard a horrendously loud scraping/grinding sound from the passenger side front wheel. It happened when I braked and continued for a few seconds after I started to accelerate again then went away.

It turns out that the brake pad on that side disintegrated – there is now no brake pad there whatsoever. I checked the driver side and saw that it is fine. To check the pad at all was a royal pain in the neck. I jacked the car up, took off the lug nuts and then went to take the tire off. It wouldn’t budge. I gave it a few swift kicks, but it still wouldn’t budge. I went and got Thor’s Rubber Mallet and whacked it several times. It laughed at my feeble attempts.

I gave up and put the lug nuts back on, but decided a few hours later to try again. This time, it gave after a few more whacks with the Mallet O’ Fury. I’m trying to imagine what the neighbors must have thought, seeing me out there hitting my car with a mallet.

I didn’t like what I saw. The rotor is pitted and scarred from the caliper scraping it with no pad. The caliper itself has seen better days, too. Now, if it were just the pads that I needed to replace I’d go ahead and do it myself. But I probably need to replace the rotor, or at the very least have it machined, and I probably need to replace the calipers. Replacing the calipers is a bit beyond my level of ability, involving bleeding the braking system. As much as it pains me, I’ll have to let a professional do it.

This is a little annoying because the brakes were done about 2000 miles before I bought the car and I’ve only put about 6000 miles on it so far. Since the brake warranties don’t transfer from one owner to another I’m out of luck there.

I’ve decided that I’ll have it done one day this week while I’m at work since there’s a Midas about 3 miles from where I’ll be. I’m going to ask them to keep all the parts since I want to punish them a little before they get thrown out. Just another thing for the neighbors to see me pounding on with a hammer.