austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

When there's one day here and the next day gone

I had mentioned in casual grumblings to friends that my car was sick. When I first got it it was in need of repair, because it'd been sitting unattended and without care in New Jersey, where the atmosphere will turn cars into rust-shaped lumps given as few as twenty hours to work. One of the things it needed was to have the distributor cap bolted down; another thing was to have the rear brake pads and rotor replaced, as they'd turned into a brake-shaped mass of rust.

So as you might imagine I was upset to hear the tires squealing and feel the rear wheels pulling, since I may not know much about cars but I know brakes don't need replacement in the course of just a couple months. In fact, when I first complained of it to my father he went out to listen and insisted that he didn't hear anything -- the high-pitched squealing had stopped by that point, admittedly -- and the car was braking sharply so there didn't seem to be a problem. Maybe not, but when I got the low grumbling and felt the car braking sharply because the rear wheel was being pulled I knew there was real trouble, and so I went to get the car fixed.

Initially they expected it'd be a quick fix -- it was weird that the pads should wear down so fast, but not impossible, after all. But after a few hours of working on this they determined the reason the brakes had worn down was because the braking fluid wasn't getting through to the calipers (I may have some of the terminology wrong, but it really doesn't matter), making them freeze up and causing all the resulting damage. There was a little box where fluid went from a tube of one diameter into one of a different diameter and that was blocked, and needed replacement, and, unfortunately, it was a weird box that could only rarely be found in cars or car supply stores. After a long while I had to wait for the next day and come back. This became challenging since my father was picking up my brother so my brother could use my father's car to drive himself and some friends to a weekend bachelor party. (If the chain of pronouns seems confusing, don't worry; the arrangements confused me to no end, too.) Eventually my sister-in-law picked me up and loaned me her car, since she could use her husband's car because he was using my father's car -- I don't know how this got so complicated and I'm sorry.

In any case. The next day, the problem had been traced back to the tubes feeding fluid into the box feeding fluid into the brakes, which had rusted and caused a little athereosclerotic collapse of the braking system. But that is now all fixed, at some injury to my wallet, and I dearly hope the car has decided it's had enough care for now since I'm getting dangerously close to having spent two-fifths the price of the car on fixing it.

Trivia: In 1397 about 75,000 yards of cloth were put up for sale in Coventry, England. Source: The Later Middle Ages: 1272 - 1485, George Holmes.

Currently Reading: The Evening News, Arthur Hailey.


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