Regular readers may remember that I was concerned about a squeaking noise coming from my car as I drove along. I was going to get it checked, but it went away. I still needed to have it checked, but what with trips back and forth to the Vet with Ollie, and frenzied decluttering at home taking up so much time, I forgot about it.
On Monday, I was going to the supermarket in my car when a new noise appeared.
This time it was a scraping sound much worse than before, and sounded sinister.
By the time I got home with the shopping, the scraping sound had changed to a grinding noise. Time to phone the repair company.
Although my car is 14 years old in June, it has reasonably low mileage for that age, (78,000) is an economical diesel capable of 50 miles to the gallon, and drives very well still. I cannot afford to replace it with anything newer that is remotely similar, with it’s roomy interior, 7-seat option, and 6-speed automatic gearbox.
So I have to keep it alive, by choking back the cost of constant repairs.
I booked a ‘brake check’ at a local company for Wednesday morning. I was up early, and arrived ten minutes before they opened, so my car would be one of the first to be worked on. I sat and waited while they did the check, to save Julie getting up early to collect me and drive me home.
After 45 minutes, the brake specialist came and got me, and took me to where the car was up on a ramp, all 4 wheels off. He showed me the problems.
A failed brake caliper on the back wheel had caused the disc to warp, which would have made the squeaking sound.
The other back wheel was doing all the rear braking, so the disc on that wheel was worn thin.
One pad had worn away completely on one of the front wheels, causing scarring on the disc.
The pads on the other front wheel were still legal, but worn down low.
He offered me various options.
1) Just enough work to make the car legal for now.
2) Replacement of the warped disc, and broken caliper, leaving the other damaged disc for later attention.
3) He could put all the wheels back on and give me back my car with no work done, and no charge for his time.
4) Replace every worn part with a guarantee to replace any new parts he fitted, should they fail within 12 months.
I went with option 4, and returned to the waiting room to read the hardback book I had brought along.
Almost 4 hours later, I had read all but the last chapter of the book. The caliper was not in stock, so there was a delay until it was delivered by a local company.
Then, work completed, he reversed the car outside the reception room, ready to come in and talk to me. As he did so, the glass in the driver’s door mirror fell out onto the tarmac and smashed. I shook my head, but actually smiled.
You couldn’t make it up.
The price for almost 5 hours of work, new brakes all round, and that expensive caliper? £619. ($840)
Or about half of what I could get for it if I sold the car for cash.
As for the mirror glass, I bought one off Ebay for £5. It arrives next week.