|My automotive conveyance, yclept Big Girl|
Quickly dropping the cockpit windows to their fully lowered extent, and chopping the sound on the radio, I listened. Carefully. For I have heard that noise before, 'tis the harbinger of incipient brake failure. (In fact I heard that noise every other year on my old Dodge Stratus. That car went through brakes like a shark though a school of fish. Okay, it wasn't that bloody but I like the imagery. Okay, the car chewed up brakes like crazy. In the many years I owned Volkswagens I don't think I ever had any brakes replaced. The Stratus kept a pads and rotors factory somewhere in Southeast Asia in the green for many a year...)
Anyhoo. With the radio off and the windows down I heard not a peep from astern.
Hhmm. Imagination? Some random background noise on the radio?
I dunno and I thought nothing further of it.
Until Tuesday night, making the hard right onto my street, there it was again, that scraping noise. The radio was already off (my station of choice seems to enjoy running commercials for nearly every minute of my afternoon commute, so it goes to O.F.F. mode), down went the windows.
"Scree scree scree scree."
After parking in the drive way, I heard this slow, "tick, tick, tick." Which I thought to myself, "sounds just like hot metal cooling."
So Wednesday morning, I nurse the ride to work. At an appropriate hour I call the Honda dealership. They can fit me in.
Before y'all go off on "the dealership," you must understand my philosophy. Having an excellent mechanic at one's beck and call is indeed a wondrous thing to be cherished. A tale to tell around the campfire after a long day's hunt.
It's also hard to find one of those. I had a really good one in the Netherlands. But he retired and the land of the Dutch is rather too far to take an ailing vehicle anyway.
A good mechanic is a rare and wondrous thing. Something to be sought much like the Holy Grail. Folks might say that they know a really good mechanic, but he's not taking any new customers. Or that he works out of his shop in the far reaches of the Yukon and only repairs cars on odd numbered Tuesdays in months where one shouldn't eat oysters.
I know they're not like unicorns. I have actually seen a good mechanic. I have never actually seen a unicorn.
They're more like Sasquatch, or the abominable snowman (Yeti to his neighbors). I think they're real, I might have seen one once in the deep woods. Then again it was dark and I did have more than a few pints in me. Hey, we were at a hunting cabin playing cards and drinking beer. It's what we rustics did back in the day.
So, no personal mechanic in my phone's memory (though I have a real wizard of a roofing guy therein) so I called the dealership. Now mind you, I like this dealership. It's where The Nuke bought the car (which I was gifted some years ago) back in ought-five. They've treated us fair and they've done superb work in the past so...
So maybe I do have a guy, well actually a bunch of them.
Anyhoo, it was discovered that the right side calipers had frozen and had done their worst to the other bits of braky stuff on that side of the car. The left side braky things were also showing their age and...
Long story short, I had the brakes replaced just about all around. To include the calipers on the starboard side, port side was fine. Not sure what caused starboard to go tango uniform, but as the Germans say "egal!" What's done is done and my wallet has suffered.
To the tune of, well let's just say it was north of a grand and leave it at that.
The Missus Herself says we need to think about a new ride for Your Humble Scribe. As it costs me (maintenance wise, to include oil changes) less than two thousand a year to keep Big Girl in fighting trim, I'm wondering, does she know a place where I can get a new Japanese-make SUV for less than two grand a year?
If she does, I'll let you know.
In the meantime, car repairs are a fact of life. Expensive and somewhat unpleasant but hey! I'm helping the economy and keeping a number of folks employed.
Yeah, I've got that going for me...