Last Friday Daughter2 joined me for an afternoon at work. That’s the cool thing about my department and my boss, if one of my kids needs to hang out for a day it’s OK. There are some rules … like it can’t interfere with my work, they can’t be running around … etc, etc … My girls are really pretty good about behavior in public settings. They know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Well after work we had some errands to run and one was to get a haircut. So after work went to the Great Clips near my office and I got my usual bad hair cut. Not sure why I keep going back there. I consistently get a bad hair cut there. Maybe it’s because I know how bad it can be and have no real expectations … I think I need to just buy a set of clipper guards and have Wife do my hair at home. But I know she won’t cut it as short as I like it. But I’d save $100 a year if I did that … hmmmm … I think what makes my haircuts so bad is the fact that I have three spots where my hair goes in the direction it wants … what are they called .. “cow licks”? And it looks bad for about 2 weeks then it’s grown long enough to lay down they way I want.
One of the other errands was picking up parts from Advanced Auto to do the rear brakes on my Grand Am. Yeah I was supposed to do them a month ago. But I just never had time. Rear brakes are not the primary stopping brakes. So I waited until they started making a grinding noise. I knew the drums needed to be replaced as well so I wasn’t concerned that the drums were being scored and “ruined”. I’ve done front brakes on all my cars for years. I’ve had to rear brakes once and I went to a friend’s house to have him show me how. But while I was there we noticed the rear shocks were bad as well so I ran out and bought a set .. by the time I got back he was finishing the brakes. So I never got to see how it was done. I read through my Haynes manual Friday night to get an idea of what I was in for. I was starting to feel a little intimidated. But calling around every estimate was $200 or higher. Parts only cost $70 (includes tax and an oil filter and oil for an oil change as well).
I got up Saturday, made some coffee, had my quiet time, prayed for the wisdom and ability to complete the task. Had my breakfast, read the manual again and went out to tackle the job. Got the cars moved around, got the tools laid out, jacked the car up and got the tires off. I decided to replace the side that was making the grinding noise first. I had to struggle to get the drum off. I could not turn the star-wheel to retract the brake shoes. I was starting to worry that I was going to need more parts. I got my 6 pound “persuader” and tapped the drum enough to loosen things up. I had to use my large screw driver to pry things loose. But it came off and there it was, the worn shoes and the confusion of parts. I followed the manual’s step by step instructions. I struggled with a few things like getting the old springs off and getting the retaining springs on but for the most part it was smooth and went just like the manual said. First one took 45 minutes. Second one took 15. Got everything back together, cleaned up the tools and put them away, swept up the rust and brake dust and then washed up. Got a cup of coffee, then went for a drive.
If you are the least bit mechanically inclined, I would recommend getting the Haynes manual for your car. You can save yourself money doing routine maintenance yourself, things like changing the air filter, oil changes, replacing bulbs, etc … In this case I saved myself at about $150. I’ll do my oil change next Saturday. By the way, the oil change stuff is a filter and the oil. My cost is $3.50 for the filter and $10 for the oil. Cost of an oil change at Jiffy Lube charges $30. My savings is $16.50. My time? 20 minutes. Yeah I could go to Wal-Mart and pay only $18 but I have to wait hours. Every time I have had my oil changed there it’s taken at least 90 minutes. And no, I don’t get all greasy or dirty. That’s what they make shop gloves for.