The Lady of the House and I went on our epic road trip, traveled over 1,000 miles, had a lot of fun. I drove in the rain and the wind and the dust and the dark, and the brakes on the van never let us down. However, the closer we got to home, the more the brakes began to squeal. They squealed loudly. They squealed embarrassingly loudly. Whenever I pulled up to a red light or a stop sign, I felt the eyes of pedestrians and other drivers turn toward my van.
We returned on a Saturday afternoon, and the noise from my brakes was scary. The Lady encouraged me to call the one mechanic in town I knew and trusted and ask him to check my brakes. I really wanted to remain in denial. My money was nearly gone, even though The Lady had picked up most of the expenses of the trip. I was afraid the brakes would need some costly fix. However, I knew The Lady was right. If there was a problem with the brakes, I needed to address it before I started my journey to my seasonal job on the mountain. I called the mechanic and explained my situation. As usual, he was upbeat. He said he’d be glad to “take a peek” at my brakes.
I showed up at 8:30 on the appointed morning. When I reminded him that my guy had recently done a brake job on the van, he asked me if The Man had done anything to the roters or if it had been a pad slap job. I thought a moment. I didn’t remember any talk of rotors. I didn’t remember any videos about roters. I wasn’t even sure what the rotors looked like or what they did. Pad slap, I told him.
He said maybe the problem was just a mismatch of the old rotor surface against the new brake pad surface. I felt a glimmer of home that maybe things were not as bad as I had been fearing.
The mechanic had my van in his shop while I sat nervously in his tiny, grungy waiting area. When I saw him again, he said nothing was wrong with my brakes. He said the parts were installed correctly and the brakes were working properly. He asked if I’d bought the cheapest brake pads, and I couldn’t remember. I told him I thought I’d bought something from the middle of the price choices.
They’re AutoZone brake pads, he shrugged. Apparently AutoZone brake pads are notorious for causing noise. The mechanic said the “gold” AutoZone brand brake pads are supposed to be better because they are made by a manufacturer that also makes name brand brake pads. The mechanic said he’s been given AutoZone brand brake pads in the past to try out, and his customers complained about the noise. He assured me again that my brakes were working fine.
Use them until they wear out, he told me about the new pads. They probably have a lifetime warranty. When they wear out, AutoZone will give you another set.
Maybe I’ll grow accustomed to the squeal.
Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/ancient-antique-antique-map-atlas-269646/.