I’ve mentioned before how an easy way to save money, if you’re mechanically inclined, is to do your own brake jobs. Routine disc brake replacements (drum brakes, on the rear of many cars, are a bit more challenging) are easy to do and inexpensive. Most brake shops advertise a $80 – $90 2 wheel brake job, but it’s rarely that cheap. Your car isn’t one that can use those cheap parts and the there are the parts you need that aren’t included. Before long you’re up over $150. You can usually buy all the parts needed for under $60. Well under if you skip the dealer parts and get after market.
This weekend, I did a major brake overhaul on the Odyssey. At 143,000 miles it needed more than just new brake pads. The rears were pretty routine, rear brakes don’t do much of the work so they don’t wear very fast. In fact, there was still a little life left in those rear brakes and they had never been replaced. The fronts were on set number 2 and they were shot. They needed new discs as well as pads. All told, I spent $200 in parts for what would have likely been a $400-$500 brake job.
Anyway, so I spent the bulk of the day doing brakes. We had a bunch of extra kids over and when they went home, I asked of the girls wanted to help me finish up. That’s Jessica up top on the torque wrench (20 ft/lbs on the caliper bolts, Jess), Emily in her cat face makeup tightening the brake hose bracket (she’s got some strength, it was about as tight as I would have made it) and then Jessica the new torque wrench pro teaching Emily how it’s done.
It was fun showing them how things go together and explaining a little bit how it works. I remember spending time in the garage with Dad when I was their age. Dad didn’t do much beyond changing spark plugs and rotating tires, but it’s still fun remembering spending time with him in the garage. Later, little Audrey asked where the brakes were and Jessica was pointing through the wheels at the ‘black thing’ and the ‘silver thing’ and showing her what they were.
The only tiny regret I have with an all-girl house is that they are unlikely to share my, my Dad’s and my grandfather’s car passion. I wouldn’t trade my girls for anything, but I do at times wish I had a boy to do car things with. That’s why this day in the garage with my girls was so special.

7 thoughts on “Car Repairs

  1. It’s those moments you cherish above all others my girls would never do anything like that, you should frame those pictures as a reminder. I am fortunate though that my brother in law has a son who likes to hive me a hand with my car repairs and joins me when I go to vehicle salvage yards for my parts.

  2. Hey some of us chicks like cars and we are known to work on them once in a while. My cousin grew up under the hood of a car, she knows how to do about everything that can be done not to mention the fact that she builds things designs stuff and had a job that very few women have. My uncle restored old trucks it was way cool to see the things start to finish, I wish that I had one.
    I learned how to work on cars from owning a 1967 Mustang and helping my dad. I taught myself how to replace things or made the guys show me. I often find myself helping my husband.
    It’s a good thing to teach the girls how to do car repair we gals need to know. I wasn’t allowed to take auto mechanics in high school because they thought taking the class off campus in a shop wasn’t the best environment for us ladies.

  3. How about a nephew or two? We would love for them to learn some helpful skills with cars. Let us know if you need an apprentice on your next job. We could even provide the car and job for you. Ha ha ha!

  4. That’s awesome, Doug. With my kids being only 6 and 3, I don’t know which one of them will adopt my passions. I am hoping that the taller of the two will catch a love of Volleyball, and the other will become adept with a frisbee.
    And they both better like fishin’ or else!

  5. That’s awesome, Doug. Even if they don’t ever catch your passion, at least you are showing them that they don’t have to be afraid to tackle those typse of jobs. Well done, bro.
    With my kids being only 6 and 3, I don’t know which one of them will adopt my passions. I am hoping that the taller of the two will catch a love of Volleyball, and the other will become adept with a frisbee.
    And they both better like fishin’ or else!

  6. Hey…how did that happen!!?
    Sorry, Doug. I didn’t mean to take up extra space on your digital paper here. I’ll pay you back when they come up with digital money.

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