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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Auto Geek Wanna-be

Shhh. I have a secret.

Don’t tell anyone I don’t know how to drive. Really drive, I mean. Give me a manual transmission car and I will return it to you in several huge pieces.

When I took driving lessons, I chose a manual car even though the car I am going to drive is an automatic one. For four days I drove with both my feet alternately managing the 3 pedals while constantly restarting an engine that seem to never want to remain running. Damn difficult! My last day at the driving school was also the last time I drove a car with a shift stick.

Having said that I really don’t know how to drive, it is also tantamount to saying that I don't know much about cars. My ears automatically shut down when The Hubby starts his litany on engine types, speed, chassis, and other whatchamaCARit. I am only interested in the comfort of riding in our own vehicles so I don't give much time knowing what makes them tick.

That all changed last month when I noticed something was not going well every time I step on the car brakes. It seems that I needed more effort than usual to put the car to a halt. Not only that, I was hearing slight to moderate screeching which prompted me to call my husband's attention.

The Hubby, although a car enthusiast, was far from being a mechanic but he made an intelligent guess that our brake pads were probably worn out or worst, the brake rotors have problems and need replacement.

Since the car was already 5 years old, it's not anymore covered by warranty. This means we can bring it to any repair shop that we want aside from Toyota. The Hubby called a few friends for suggestions as we want to send the car for repair only to a reputable service center. A brake job is something we will not entrust to just any shop - being parents who drive with kids, safety is of utmost important.

Our friends came up with a lot of suggestions, but some shops were too far that driving the car there might do us more harm than good. So like force of habit, I started browsing through the internet for a repair shop in our area. I reckon a good, reputable car repair service company will definitely have a website. Unfortunately, there weren't much to find except for a few links to forums mentioning a car shop's name and telephone number.

Actually, what I wanted to find was a website like RepairPal which is an excellent one-stop-shop for all the information you need about car repairs and maintenance. They also offer free online estimate for a car service or repair and most important of all, they have a directory of car dealers and shops. I sampled it by searching within 'Dallas' and I was presented with a list (and contact details) of Dallas auto repair shops. How convenient!

Anyway, back to our car. Left with no choice, we immediately brought the car to Toyota for the brake job. After the initial inspection of the service advisor/mechanic (read: question and answer), we were told that maybe the rotors were already deformed and need replacement. I asked for the cost and I was quite unhappy as it will eat a chunk of my budget for the month. (Actually it's not even part of my budget!).

A few hours later we were told that the rotors just badly needed some cleaning and we only have to replace the brake pads. I almost danced with joy out after hearing this.

While waiting for The Hubby to pay at the cashier so we can claim our car, I took the chance to ask questions to the mechanic starting with what he calls the rotor (honestly, I thought they've just been mispronouncing the word 'motor'). I listened carefully as the mechanic explained how the brake mechanism of a car works. As if my interest in cars seems to have suddenly been ignited, I craved for more details like a sponge ready to absorb all the car info it can get. I suddenly discovered that cars is an interesting subject to learn, not to the point of getting my hands dirty, but probably just enough to get me through in case my car stalls on me somewhere (knock on wood, I hope this never happens).

Imagine this kikay mom changing a flat tire. Why not? I bet too, all you guys out there will find it sexy interesting to see a’ hot momma' bent over the hood (checking the engine! silly!) of  a huge pickup like a Chevy Silverado.

That would be cool isn’t it?

1 comments:

car loans financing said...

Car repair can be done by yourself if you have the right equipment and skills.

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