Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Give me a Brake
Over the course of my life I have worn many hats and done a lot of different things, but when it came to anything mechanical I would always defer to a professional. Especially when it came to our vehicles. It was always my thought that if you needed repairs, minor or major, you went to the shop, pulled out your plastic, and walked away with a fixed car and some type of warranty.
Well, that type of thinking is over for us, and so when the brakes on our Blazer started squealing I knew I was soon going to be delving into realms unknown. To be honest I wasn't too worried about the actual job of changing the brakes, but I was worried about my tool situation. I have always believed that I could do just about anything as long as I have the proper tools, and proper tools were exactly what I did not have. My collection of automotive tools is a mismatched and unorganized mess that is crammed into two large tool boxes. Most of these tools are from stuff my Dad had laying around and the rest are just odds and ends I have acquired over the years.
Just to make sure It was indeed my brakes making all that noise (which I was 99% sure) and to get a price quote so I could see how much money I was going to save, I took the Blazer into Midas and had them look at it. The estimate they gave me was $236.00 for brakes and rotors. Apparently I had let the brakes go too long and now the rotors had to be replaced. My habit of procrastination was costing me. Once again the hard lesson that 'putting things off and being frugal doesn't mix well' was rearing its ugly head.
Anyways, with the information about the parts I needed at hand, I headed over to a local automotive store and purchased what I would need. Brakes, rotors, a small packet of grease and some spray cleaner...the total: $100 and some change. A difference of $136 from the Midas quote. The way me and Melissa looked at it...that was $136 dollars we didn't have to earn, and that is a good thing.
The next thing I did was 'google' anything I could pertaining to changing brakes, which thankfully there was a ton. So, with a couple printouts in hand, my new parts, and a smattering of odd tools, I went to work.
At this point I'd like to tell you how smooth everything went, but if I'm being honest I have to tell you that my lack of tools (and quality tools!) was a problem. Once I figured out what size I needed to take of my caliper bolts (18 mm btw for anyone with a 2002 blazer), and discovered that I had every MM size except 18 I had to go buy a socket. Returning with my new socket I immediately broke my old and shabby ratchet. This prompted another run to the store, but this time I bought a wrench. My savings (or money we don't have to earn) was being depleted. At least my useful tool collection was growing.
As I suspected, once I had the proper tools, the actual job was rather easy. It did take the better part of the afternoon, but when all was said and done...the brakes worked great!
New skills and accomplishments are a great recipe for successful homesteading!