Have you seen the TV commercial where a lady eats an unhealthy snack, then hits herself in the forehead and says, “I could’ve had a V-8!”
Instead of snack time, picture the waiting room of an auto repair shop.
Instead of that lady, picture me, smacking my forehead saying, “I could’ve saved BIG bucks!”
My dad always told me, “Have your car serviced at the first sign of trouble to avoid bigger trouble later.” But I didn’t listen. Sigh. I knew something was wrong with my car, but I procrastinated finding out. And now, instead of shopping for a new spring wardrobe for myself, I’m buying new shoes and ALL the pricey accessories for the braking system of my car.
It all came to a peak when my husband switched cars with me one day and called me a little upset. “How long have the brakes been making that awful noise?” he asked. “This is really bad!”
“I haven’t heard any awful noises,” I said, which was the truth! They hadn’t been making any awful noises. But there were other warning signs I had ignored and didn’t realize how serious it was. I’m blessed to have a spouse that is understanding of my ignorance.
But, I don’t want you to suffer my fate! I don’t want you to get that phone call from your spouse! Mostly, I don’t want you giving up that to-die-for handbag because you were careless getting your car repaired! So I’m on a mission to share what I learned the hard way!
What are those warning signs I ignored?
I asked Chuck Fairbanks Service Advisor, Blake, to explain to me what I should have done early to prevent such a big brake repair later.
“Listen to your car,” said Blake. “Like a pet, your car will talk to you and tell you what’s wrong!”
Hmmm….I like that analogy! I have two dogs that definitely have “warning signals” telling me what they need!
“So, what should I listen for?” I asked.
1. Any type of squealing when applying pressure to your brakes. There are wear indicators built onto the brake pads that will make noise when they need to be serviced. Replacing the pads at this stage is much more economical. Like I said, picture the V-8 commercial! At this stage, you have tons of money leftover for new clothes!
2. A pulsating or a shuttering in your brake pedal when applying pressure. This means there is some type of imperfection in the brake rotators that need immediate attention. So no, it doesn’t mean the tires need air or that the road is bumpy! At this point, you can still buy plenty of spring dresses if you act quickly!
3. Brake light warnings illuminated on your instrument panel! When the light comes on, take your car in for service! I confess, mine did say “ABS Tracking is Off” but I just thought it was some sort of switch and I would get around to it. I have no idea how much I would have saved at this point, but I’m fairly sure I could have still bought a lovely new handbag.
4. Grinding noises. This is really really bad. This means your brakes are “metal on metal” which is never a good thing and results in more extensive damage and more expensive repairs. A this point, the personal shopping spree is pretty much over.
Thankfully, Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet has an excellent Service Center with expert care at a reasonable cost! I’m still smacking myself in the head because my procrastination created a problem that never had to be. If I would have just brought it to service when I first felt that pulsating, or saw the light come on, I’d be a fashionista right now! Instead, I will just have to be content knowing my car has a shiny new braking system.
I have learned my lesson and will NEVER let it happen again! But I leave you with one more piece of advice from Blake:
“If you are driving and you hear a ‘ding! ding! ding! ding‘ sound in your car….and your seat belt is fastened……that means something is wrong and your car needs service!”
Good advice, Blake! And thanks for taking care of my brakes!