Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My Car's Brakes Died

My '95 Honda Civic has had mild brake issues for a while. So, when the brakes started making a low grinding noise Monday on the way to work, it wasn't shocking. Not happy, but not shocking either.

When cars make weird noises, I figure that's bad and I do my best to pull over immediately. There was a pay lot through the intersection from where the noise started, so I pulled in to the lot. I got out of the car and looked at the tires, but I didn't see anything really really obvious. Kicking myself for letting my AAA Roadside expire, I stood around wondering what to do. Then I noticed that Goodyear was right next to the pay lot. So some good luck, at least.

I drove my car one lot over and went in to the Goodyear office. I told them what was going on with my car and they said they'd look at it for me. We agreed that they wouldn't start work until they told me what was wrong, had an estimate, and received my approval to charge me for the work. One of the employees gave me a lift to work, which was nice of him. "It gets me out of there," was his explanation. :)

They called me later that afternoon to report that the front brake pads and rotors would have to be replaced. In addition, the driver's side CV joint boot was torn and needed to be fixed. They quoted me $1000 for the entire job. I thanked them for the estimate and told them I'd get back in touch to authorize the work.

It seemed to me that $1000 was high, but I don't do my own car work, so I wasn't sure. I called my dad and Forrest; they both thought it a ridiculous price, especially when over $700 was just for the brake pads and rotors themselves. I looked up some Honda-only places, and ended up taking my car to Honda Specialties, who had quoted the same job at $450.

My coworker* Josh gave me a ride back to work from Honda Specialties. I didn't realize it at the time, but my cell phone fell out of my pocket in Josh's car. Later in the day, I noticed I didn't have my phone with me. I hoped it was in his car, but he'd parked quite a ways from work that day and so I didn't go out to look for my car right then. I called up Honda Specialties to let them know that the number I'd given them wouldn't be very useful. I gave them my work number, but apparently my extension doesn't actually work; you have to navigate the directory, which most people don't bother to do. (And I don't blame them.)

So I tried calling the mechanics back, but I'd waited too long and they had already closed. Not so bad, though: I have bus tickets and the 17 goes right between work and downtown. (First Hill is practically the same as downtown, so those routes are great for me.)

Last night when I was going to bed, though, I remembered I still didn't have my cell phone. No cell phone means no alarm clock. And if you know me, you know I'm not naturally a morning person. So I was, uh, a "bit" late in to work today.

After lunch today, Josh gave me a lift back up to Honda Specialties. I paid for the work done ($475) and drove back to work. I'm happy to have my car back in working order, even if my wallet is not so happy.

The word "coworker" doesn't really imply "friend", but "friend" by itself doesn't tell you that I also work with said friend. "Coworker-friend" just looks silly. So I'm without a succinct word; or, at least, I can't think of it right now. But if you read this footnote, then at least you understand what I wanted to convey. :)

3 comments:

Jerry said...

Ouch. I am so glad that I do my own work on my car. Just today I replaced the brake pads for all 4 wheels on my car, and it only cost me $50 or so for all 8 pads. It's that damn labor that will always get you :)

John Cowan said...

"Friend and coworker"? It's not really that long.

Arthaey said...

@Jerry: Yeah, it would have been much cheaper to have done it myself. But I haven't done brakes before, so I'd want to learn how to do it with the supervision of someone who did know what they're doing. Forrest is coming up this weekend, and he said he was, in fact, willing to do the car for me, but in the end it seemed a better use of his 2-day visit to have someone else fix my car before then. At least it's nice to be making enough money where $450 is just annoying, not devastating...

@John: Very true. But I was racking my brain for a single-word term. Coming up empty-handed, I threw a footnote temper tantrum rather than write "friend and coworker." :)