Thursday, December 08, 2005


If anyone heard a really loud sucking sound last night around 9:30 PM, that was the sound of my car because it SUCKS.

I had finished a meeting, and it was COLD outside. I turned on the car, cranked up the heat, and released the parking brake. With a shiver of both coldness and trepidation, I noticed there was no tension in the lever, where usually it quickly falls to the floor of that compartment in between the front seats. I took my foot off the brake pedal, and the car didn't roll backward. "Hmm...maybe it's just too cold to roll," thought I, quizzically, and perhaps hopefully. Then I took up the clutch, accelerated backward just a bit to exit the parking space, put the clutch back in to shift into first gear, and then I realized something was weird: The car was at a dead stop, and yet, I was on a slight decline and my foot was NOT on the brake pedal. CRAP, the emergency brake is at it again!

Yes, again.

Last year at right about this time (last week of classes and first whopping cold snap), the parking brake cables froze. At the time I didn't know what it was, and like an idiot I DROVE HOME smelling brake dust. This idiot had to pay far too much money because he (I?) wore the brake pads down to the rotors. They replaced the rear brake pads and BOTH rotors, even though only one was damaged, because one does not replace only one rotor at a time, so I hath learnt. They got the parking brake cable to release its Vulcan grip on my brakes, but they did not replace the cables themselves. A different handy mechanic informed me last summer that those cables need to be replaced. The cheap graduate student in me realized that I was lucky to have it working at all, and decided not to bother spending the $ fixing it till next winter.

It is winter now. I was not all that surprised when I came to a dead stop in middle of the sloped parking lot with neither of my two feet on any of the three pedals. Augh.

This year, this idiot got smarter. I pulled right back into the parking space and turned off the car. Fortunately an acquaintance was leaving the building at that very moment, and she agreed to drive me home. This morning it was AAA to the rescue, God bless them: they came and towed the car to a fine establishment specializing in brakes and other things. By the end of the day the car was fixed for a mere fraction of what this former idiot self paid last year.

Just in time for 7 inches of snow to accumulate in about 5 five hours! Glad I have a car. They also noticed corrosion on the battery, so they fixed that, fortunately for me. That battery was replaced last year too.

NOW do you hear the sucking sound??

1 comment:

John B. said...

We had a similar circumstance quite a while ago with a 'beater' car that I drove. Somehow the emergency brake cable froze up, and the emergency brake was dragging ever so slightly while I was driving. It cost us pads and rotors too...I feel your pain.