Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?


October 31, 2001 - 8:31 a.m.

OK, so sue me

I havenít been here in a while. But that doesnít mean I havenít been trying to think of things to write about.

I went on a job interview yesterday. The guy that interviewed me looked to be about ten years younger than me. Itís a growing company; despite all the cutbacks everywhere theyíve been expanding by about 15% a year. It sounds like Iím what they want.

Iíve been putting up with a rattle in the front end of my car for about two years now. I was convinced it was the McPherson struts, so I put off fixing it because theyíre about a hundred bucks apiece. Finally I bit the bullet and got new struts last spring, plus new spring seats. It still rattled. So I went back. They told me that the rattle was now coming from the anti-sway strut. $130.00 later it still rattled. I knew why, there are anti-sway struts on both sides of the car. Common sense would tell that if one side is worn out the other side must be worn out as well, right? I wasnít going back to that place so they could soak me for more labor charges. Iím never going back there either; and Iím using this here bully pulpit to tell you all. Donít take your car to that national retailer whose name starts and ends with the letter ďSĒ for auto service. They diagnose with a shotgun and your checkbook.

So on Monday, I went to the auto parts store and bought my own anti-sway strut for $62.00, less than I paid at that ďSĒ place. I jacked up the right side of the car, took the wheel off and replaced the damn thing myself. What a difference! No more rattles as I go over those minor bumps in the road!

As I was driving to my interview yesterday I noticed a rhythmic grinding noise coming from the front of the car as I applied the brakes. It was strange because I checked the thickness of the disc brake pads when I had the wheel off and there was still plenty of meat left on them. It was raining as I drove [no roof leaks folksÖI rule!] Iíve always done my own brake work because disc brakes are a snap. But I didnít relish the thought of working on a wet car. So I figured Iíd go by the Midas store on the way home and get their opinion. I mention Midas by name because they always do good work for me. As I drove along gingerly applying the brakes, I recounted the steps I took the previous day while working on the car. Thatís when it dawned on me: I cinched the wheel bolts when the wheel was still in the air but never re-tightened them once the car was on the ground!

Damn! I pulled over in a safe place, got out with my sincere suit on and used the four way wrench in the trunk to tighten all those loose bolts. One was already missing, but the new one I got at the dealership on the way home fixed that. Problem solved.

That isnít the first time Iíve done that, and it always resulted in that unexplainable noise coming from the front end at odd times. But I always figure it out; I haven't lost a wheel yet! I should pay more attention to that little voice in my head.







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