Saturday, June 14, 2008

How To Change Your Brakes

So, I don't often post on our blog, but I thought I would share a funny story. About a month or two ago the brakes on our van started squeaking. I don't know much about cars, but I know that my dad used to change the brakes himself so I called him and asked if it was hard. He said that if I had never done it before then I should take it somewhere to have it done. I called a couple of local places and the cheapest place was $150. I then looked to see how much replacement pads cost and discovered they ranged between $20 and $40. I decided to replace the pads myself.

I found a site on the Internet (I love google) that described how to replace your brake pads.
It was really easy to do. I followed each of the six steps and before I knew it I had replaced the brake pads on both the front tires. I felt pretty proud of myself. I had followed the instructions right down to the last line,

"Put your wheel back on, being sure to tighten all of the lug bolts. Now double-check your lug bolts just to be sure. You're done! Feels good, right?"

I did indeed feel good. Rachel was gone and Tanner was sleeping so I loaded up Spencer, Natalie and Bailey in the van and decided I would take it for a little test drive to make sure all was working well. I started the car and put my foot on the brake and put the car into reverse so that I could back out of the garage. As soon as the car hit reverse the van shot out of the garage like a rocket. (Engines rev really high when you first start them) I had my foot to the floor on the brake but it didn't matter, the car was still moving fast. I quickly turned the steering wheel to avoid going into our neighbors wall. Trying to think quickly I tried to find the parking brake, but I was unsuccessful and the car now hurled down the driveway and slightly onto the grass.

My next thought was to put the car into neutral, but in my frantic state I accidentally pushed it all the way into park. The van began making a nasty clicking/grinding sound. I knew this was bad so my next instinct was to turn the car off. However, the car was still moving and now the steering wheel was locked so I could no longer steer. Not knowing what else I could do, I jumped out of the van and ran behind it and tried to stop it from going any further down the street (in sandals of course). Luckily, about 20 feet later the van finally came to a stop. Also, luckily no one else was outside to see that I had just run over my grass, nearly hitting our mailbox and nearly running into a parked car. When I got back in the van Spencer asked what I was doing and why I had jumped out of the van.

I started the car again and this time let the engine run a while so that it was not idling so high. I also began to pump the brake and after about 10 pumps I could feel that there was more pressure behind it. I put the car into drive and let it go about 5 feet, then applied the brakes and this time it actually stopped. I ended up doing this several more times and every thing appeared to be working great. I even drove the van out onto the main road and tested to make sure all was well.

Moral of the story: Changing your brake pads is very easy, and you can learn to do anything on the Internet. However, just make sure the directions include all the steps, like Step 7: Start the car and pump the brakes before putting the car into gear.


Ali said...

That's a crazy story! Way to go though! Sometimes I wish Jeff knew all the mechanical things my Dad knows (my Dad's a mechanic, Jeff's an attorney...I can't expect it all)...but I AM always impressed with Jeff's efforts to figure things out and so far in our marriage he's done a pretty good job cause he's great at researching things online. THANKGOODNESS for google. I'm impressed with your courage to do this though- that seems intimidating. Even changing the oil on a car seems intimidating let alone changing brake pads!

The Trotter Family said...

That is hysterical! Good job changing the brakes though. Way to save the family some dinero. It's a good thing you didn't crash into anything or all that money saved would have gone towards repairs!

Chad said...

Gotta say I'm impressed with that quick thinking! This is one of those times when I'd like to think I'd be able to react quickly when my car suddenly decides to ignore the brakes but I'm not so sure I'd have been able to avoid hitting anything like you did! So bravo!

Also did you e-mail the author of that article? Seems like a pretty important thing to neglect mentioning!

mostly sane mother said...

Hilarious, Brett! My favorite part is how relieved you are that no one saw you, yet you post it on the blog for all to read--classic "Brett." Also, that you would strap your kids into the car, not knowing whether or not the brakes work. I was laughing SO HARD!!! Oh how we miss the Bruschkes! Thanks for sharing your story, I will be smiling every time I think of it.:) Can't wait to see you in August!

Aimee said...

If you could babysit our kids and fix our brakes one night soon we would sure appreciate it. :)

jase said...

And to think I let you help me work on my van!