Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brakes 101

I mentioned in my Not Me! Monday post that my brakes were way beyond needing to be replaced. I had been told many times through the years that changing brakes is fairly easy on a Caravan. I was not willing to try something like that without someone showing me how to do it the first time though. I finally found someone who was able to teach me how to do it a few years ago so now it is something we save a ton of money on since brakes themselves are soooo inexpensive. Somehow getting them done at the local auto shop costs hundreds of dollars. Not really sure how that works. Just to give everyone a heads up, a good set of semi-metallic brakes run around 50.00, super nice ceramic ones around 80.00. Most auto parts stores, such as Auto Zone which is where I go, have lifetime warranties on their brakes. So this time around, I replaced my brakes and calipers for the cost of new brake fluid, brake lubricant and the clamp I needed to buy. I did have to replace one of the brake hoses on each side too but that only cost 50.00 for the pair and was something I would not normally have to do. So essentially, I replaced everything except the rotors, which I replaced last time, for about 60.00. Well worth the time it took. So here is the story in full detail.

I finally got around to starting them on Saturday. After I got the driver's side finished, with a side trip to Lowes to buy the right size clamp, it was really too late to start on the passenger side. So on Sunday, i attempted to do the passenger side. When I got the caliper off, I was unable to get the piston to squeeze in. So I had to go back to Auto Zone to buy two new calipers, since you should always replace them in pairs. Of course, that was easier said than done. They only had the drivers side in stock. So with the promise that it would be in on Monday by 1pm, I headed home with the drivers side. By this time I was too discouraged to do anything else. So I got out of my grungy clothes and Jaquelyn and I went off to deliver Girl Scout cookies.

Monday I went back to Auto Zone to pick up the part only to find out that they totally fibbed and it would not be in until Tuesday. By now I was a bit perturbed but since the person who helped me yesterday was not there, I figured it wasn't fair to blame someone who wasn't even involved. I headed home and did all the work on the drivers side. Just once, I wish when I was replacing my brakes, if something has to go wrong and cause me to need to replace other parts, it could happen on the side I start on. It was frustrating to have to take everything I was finished with on the drivers side back off and do it again.

So I was finally able to pick up the part on Tuesday and replace that side. E.J., a guy from the garage we frequent, came over to help with the bleeding of the brakes. (the one part I am not very good at) It was a very good thing he did since he is the one who figured out the hose on that side was collapsed. So another trip to Auto Zone and we now have new hoses on both side.

So now that is all finished and there is a very good chance I will never have to replace them on this van again since I don't know if it will last that long. While E.J. was here, he listened to my starter which has been acting up and said it really needs to be replaced. This van is going to nickel and dime us to death. (but I still love it and will cry when we do finally have to put it to rest)

1 comment:

heidi said...

Look at YOU! Grease monkey. ;-)