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Brakes are expensive

Here are my notes from the phone conversation I had with the guy at Tires Plus.

front brake calipers and pads (plus labor): $421.18 – pad completely missing on left side

rear brake shoes: $104.99

rear bearings and seals (no labor): $223.92 – scored up, really hard to take off. might freeze up on spindle and then have to replace whole spindle – expensive because it’s an older car

front CV axles both sides: $409.98 – don’t know how these are because couldn’t drive car – might be able to hold off on this

front brake rotors: $49.99 each – rotors completely chewed up

Did I mention my brakes went out while I was on my way home last night? I was braking at a light, and the car was making horrible grinding noises as usual, when all of a sudden the brake pedal gave way and went straight to the floor.

“Please stop please stop please stop,” I said, as I turned the wheel slightly to the right in a vain attempt to lose momentum and avoid rear-ending the SUV in front of me. Thankfully, the car stopped.

I drove about 20 miles an hour to a gas station, where I pulled over and pretty much coasted into a parking space. From there I called Sean, who got me the phone number for Meineke and started giving me directions on how to get there.

“I can’t drive there!” I said, thinking he must not have been paying attention when I told him my brakes had failed. “I need to get it towed!”

He was really quiet after that, so when we hung up I decided to risk my life and drive the car instead of calling a tow truck. I drove at about 15 miles an hour back down Martintown Road, up and down the hills, cringing at every stoplight, until I got to where Meineke was supposed to be.

Only it wasn’t there.

So I pulled into a deserted parking lot and called the phone number.

“Hello?” came a man’s voice.

“Hi, is this Meineke?”

“Well…I’d like it to be! It will be in about three weeks, I hope. We’re renovating.”

That wasn’t particularly news I wanted to hear. I explained my situation to him and asked him what I should do.

“I wish I could fix your brakes!” he said. “I really do. But let’s see…Tires Plus is here in North Augusta, and they do brakes.”

And I knew where that was.

“You definitely shouldn’t drive it!” said the Meineke guy. “Get towed!”

But, thinking that Sean would complain about the cost of towing, I drove. After all, it was just down the street. 10 and 15 miles per hour wasn’t so bad!

Until a huge truck almost rear-ended me trying to scare me into accelerating. But I digress.

I got lucky at the left turn and was able to pull into the Publix shopping center without having to brake. I trundled along as slowly as humanly possible to Tires Plus, where I noticed a distinct lack of lights. I pulled around to the side and parked in front of a garage door that had the word “BRAKES” painted over it.

A man was coming out a side door. I got out of my car and called out to him.

“Are you closing?”

“Yeah.”

“My brakes are shot. Can I leave my car here for you? When do you open tomorrow?”

“Sure. 7 a.m.”

He took my name, address, and number, and then I moved the car (why? Why?) into a handicapped space (?!) at his request. I thought about bringing some stuff out of the car, but as I was going to have to wait for a ride in Publix due to the lightning and intermittent rain, I decided to leave everything. I scoured my purse and couldn’t find my spare key, so I just gave him the one off my ring. As he was pulling out of the lot, he asked if I needed a ride, but as I was going to the other side of Augusta, I said I’d call someone.

After he was gone I found the spare in an interior pocket of my purse.

I called Brooke, who immediately agreed to come get me and take me out to Reid and Cheryl’s, who had plans to take me out for dinner. Then I went over to Publix to wait, and while I was there I called Sean and told him I was mad at him for expecting me to drive a car with failing brakes.

I was also mad at me, for giving into that pressure…because North Augusta is hilly, and I was endangering myself and other drivers by being stubborn.

Oh well. At least I didn’t die, right?

So Brooke came and got me and dropped me off at Fatz, where I met up with Cheryl and Reid and ate the sampler platter (ribs, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, and baked apples, and damn it was good) and received a nice birthday gift card for Cato. I also ran into the gentleman who gave us our couch, chair, bedding, and spare computer, and I cheerfully thanked him again and exchanged pleasantries with his wife and mentioned that we had some things they probably wanted back in the bottom of the bedding bag and they said no, that was fine, we could keep it.

I regaled Cheryl and Reid with the story of my brake failure, and Reid said, “Why didn’t you call me?!”

I was a little taken aback and managed, “Well, I’m never sure what your schedule is.”

“Well, don’t worry about that. If it’s an emergency, I can leave work. You call me next time.”

That’s the sort of thing I would have liked to have heard from someone else.

After dinner I went back to Cheryl and Reid’s with them and Cheryl served me dessert–homemade pound cake, chocolate sauce, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. Reid showed me the pictures he’d taken this past weekend at NASCAR in Charlotte, and I played with the dogs. Finally at around 10:30 I called Sean and asked him to come pick me up. Even though Cheryl and Reid both said they would be happy to take me home, I know it’s annoying to get home in the evening only to have to go right back out again, and I didn’t want to do that to them.

Sean had to stay late at work and arrived at about 11:30. We went home and I almost immediately went to bed.

So yesterday was my day for taking unhappy situations and shoving them aside for the sake of things that needed to be done. I got through work after the poking and prodding and med student embarrassment and weird non-lump, and I got through dinner after driving terrified up and down the hills of North Augusta praying I wouldn’t get in a wreck, and I managed to be fairly cheerful.

Go me.

Today Tires Plus called at around 9 a.m. and gave us the bad news. I got up immediately thereafter; I was totally awake. Sean said he was going to talk to his friend Stephen about the matter, but he stayed in bed for several hours first. I pretty much expected that, but the interim was a little stressful for me. I didn’t know what was going to happen about my transportation. Toyota of Augusta was supposed to call me about their next shipment of Toyotas and let me know if they were getting a liftback Yaris, but they never did, and it would take 12 weeks to get one special-ordered. I was pretty sure Sean was going to be unhappy with the cost of fixing the brakes and force me to buy a used car.

But when he got up he said nothing about doing that, and instead conferred with Stephen and called Tires Plus and talked with them and conferred with Stephen again and finally decided to do everything but the CV axles, because, as he says, the car isn’t shaking like crazy in the higher gears. Which is true, but I’m not sure why he was so confident about it, as I’m pretty sure he hasn’t driven my car since we went to Texas six years ago.

(By the way, I’ve been looking at old pictures lately searching for good ones to have printed to stick on my desk at work, and Sean is much better looking now than he was when we first met. Too bad I can’t say the same for myself ;P)

In any event, that’s settled. The car will be fixed, and I’ll continue to drive it, and hopefully the Yaris liftbacks will begin to roll out in force later this year so special ordering won’t be necessary, and hopefully with new brakes the car will be worth a decent amount as a trade-in, and hopefully Sean will agree to adding the power package and remote keyless entry to the Yaris…because really I think that’s a safety feature. I like knowing I can get into my car quickly and be sure all the doors are locked as soon as I sit down.

And hopefully nothing else will go wrong on the little Subaru before then.

Other than, you know, its tendency not to start when it gets too hot. Which is apparently just something I have to live with.