Monday, August 8, 2011

Brake time.

A few weeks ago, our dear Dodge Caravan broke down in the middle of a super busy intersection, right in the middle of a turn lane. Right after I was picked up from work. And it was 100 degrees that day. And we had the kids with us. And my mom. And a really angry Rick. Oy.  We had the car towed to the closest mechanic on a major road that we knew we could get to by a bus line. To have the ability to actually be able to pick up your car when it's fixed. The police officer that came to the scene told us that if a tow truck wasn't there within a few minutes that he'd make the call to have it impounded. 


Instead he called another tow truck company. The dispatch tells the officer that he's calling the same company that's already on their way out. They pick up the van and take it to a used car dealership and honestly, we weren't too thrilled about that. But when you need your wheels, you get a little desperate. 
3 days after it's towed we're told that it was the fuel pump (which we sorta suspected since it broke down as if it had run out of gas) and the cost? A jaw-dropping drool-inducing whopping $750. What got us the most was how they took out the old part, left a gaping whole in the van and THEN proceeded to call us and ask us what they should do. No bueno. 
So, we give them a huge middle finger over the phone, tell them to fix it and we pick up the van hours later. Handing over such a large amount of money wasn't fun. Especially when they tell us that our brake fluid was "tainted". Uhh.. why were they even in and around our brakes to begin with? 
Right after driving it off the lot and to a place to change the oil and do a system flush, Rick notices that the brakes were acting funny. Keep in mind, brakes were totally kosher before all of this. 

Now let's fast forward to this past weekend. Friday, Rick calls me to tell me that smoke was pouring out from around the passenger side front wheel. Yes... smoke. Pouring out. Like a whole lotta smoke. He drives it home safely and the screeching sounds start along with having to pound on the brakes to get the van to even stop. Also keep in mind, this van is only 5 years old. 
Also keep in mind, before our van broke down for the fuel pump, we have had a perfect track record with our van. No issues at all. Nothing. And no mechanic had touched it since having random maintenance on it (oil changes, brake maintenance from last year, etc.) Actually, I don't even think that "etc." part applies. 

So, Rick takes it to the same place from last year where we had our brakes maintained. Only this time, everyone there finds something totally wrong with our situation.... oil.. a yellowish oil.. found in our brake fluid. Tainted, it was. Take a look:

 This would be the piston and the boot is totally burned. This is from the driver's side. 
Driver's side rotor. The very top was grinding down to almost triangular shaped. The bluish color in the middle is from super high temperatures. It is not supposed to be blue. Ever. 

I wish we had gotten a photo of the yellowish oil. So 1 of 2 places are responsible for this. Either the dealership that fixed the fuel pump or the place that completed our last oil change. Here is why: with oil tainting your brake fluid, it takes about a month for the entire brake system to shut down and you have no brakes. These photos prove that it had only been about 2 weeks worth of damage. The mechanic at the brake place schooled us quite a bit about the whole process. 

Wanna know how much it cost to fix this problem? (complete brake overhaul)....

$1255 kind of made me wanna puke too. 

THANKFULLY (and that's not even a big enough word) we had a way to have the work completed today and even drove it home today. We both cried more than once about this lucky and fortunate possibility. It still seems unreal. 
We need the van, obviously, for so many reasons.. school, work, and tomorrow Rick continues into the 3rd phase of the hiring process for a job that we have been craving for a year now. We now will not miss this opportunity. 

"If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all". Well, I think we changed that path of bad luck.. because only good things from now on are allowed. And we are on the right path... We are so so grateful. 

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