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$1,100 later

Pop said the brakes on his truck were grinding. His truck has about 96,000 miles on it.

So I tested them myself. They weren't grinding. They were dragging, meaning the brakes were shot. This vehicle was not safe to drive. This truck was going to the dealership, and going today.

I brought his 2000 GMC Sonoma to the local Chevy dealership. I knew in my mind this was going to be a costly affair. Pop is not known for having good vehicle maintenance habits, save for an oil change every now and then. He is the type who just keeps driving until something major breaks. Were it not for my insistence, he probably wouldn't even do oil changes. I knew this was going to be either major or semi-major repair work.

Initially, my guess was that the brake rotors (the truck has four-wheel disc brakes) probably needed resurfacing, and the pads definitely needed to be replaced on both the front and rear.

This is what happened after a vehicle inspection:

The front/rear pads were shot. This I expected.

The rear calipers were absolutely shot. Didn't expect this. Then again, the truck is very close to 100,000 miles and has weathered several winters.

The rear rotors were gone. Wasn't surprised on this one.

The front rotors were resurface-able. This is the only good thing that happened and saved a few bucks compared to replacing outright.

The fuel filter as I found out was never changed. Told the dealership to skip this one. He has an oil change due in 1,500 miles. Next time he gets one he can get it replaced then. I mean, heck, if it ran this long on the original fuel filter, it can run for another 1,500 miles.

The brake system needs a flush. This didn't surprise me either considering the other brake items that were worn out.

Dealership said the engine needed an "induction cleaning". This is probably a glorified term for an injector cleaning service. Told 'em to skip this as the engine has absolutely no sputtering problems whatsoever. This is a "later" thing.

After tax and all that other happy horse crap, the bill is $1,100. And being that this is a holiday weekend, he won't get his truck back until Tuesday. That being the case, Pop and I went out shopping to make sure he has enough of everything to survive the weekend. That's all taken care of now.

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I write this as a reminder to all that you have to do more than just put gas in your vehicle and change the oil every 3,000 miles. Your car is a machine with moving parts, and those parts wear out. Maintenance is a necessary thing. Don't do it, and you end up paying big bills later like the one Pop is about to.

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Concerning my own truck (2005 GMC Canyon), I have at least $500 of stuff I need done to it. She needs tires, probably needs front pads and a timing belt adjustment.

Note on the belt: It's general rule of thumb to have belts adjusted every 50,000 whether they need them or not.

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