Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

new brake calipers

O heavens.

I have been having some troubles with the Ford, in that from time to time, the right brake would seize. While driving, this results in an absolute shaking and a pulling to the right. The quick fix is to pour water on the caliper, the colder the better to cool it off, then whack it with a hammer. I knew I would have to book it in to get fixed at the local PetroCan.

On Monday when this happened, I decided I had better do it immediately so I did not endanger myself or anyone driving near me. Dan told me that the truck needed the right front caliper and the proportioning valve.

I booked the truck in for service. I was told that the proportioning valve seldom needs replacing, but I might need new rotors. Fine, do what you need to do.

Then today they said "you need new brake pads too". Who am I to argue?

I pick up the truck. Gulp. $471 for parts & labour. Good heavens. I felt a bit gouged, is it because I am a woman? I hate that.

I report back to Dan, via text message, what happened. He said "what about the proportioning valve?" I said they said it didn't need it. Dan said the Ford place in Nanaimo declared it did, so now if the brake caliper seizes again, we'll have to take the PetroCan in Ucluelet to task about it. Great.

I think it might need a brake adjustment, too. The time between the pressing of the brake and the catching are a hair longer than they used to be. I hate getting new brakes, there is always that period of getting used to how the brakes are now compared to what they used to be. I just wish we had gotten this done before Dan left, so he could have dealt with the PetroCan guys and not me.


  1. I've done a bit of brake work on my own vehicles. I've had a sticking caliper before, so I looked it up on the Internet. Several sites stated that sticking calipers are typically the result of the *rubber* brake line being damaged/fatigued. That would be the flexible line between the calipers and the steel line. The idea is that the brake fluid is "Hammering" in the line like plumbing on old houses.

    When I replaced the brake line, the problem went away; but I also replaced many other brake parts - and that has been the case over and over again for me. I have not worked on my brakes and only had to fix one part.

    I buy cheap parts from Napa in Port Alberni. Most guys who are "into" cars won't use generic Napa parts - but I can't afford the good stuff. I bought drum brake shoes from LORDCO and they were 2.5x the cost of the Napa part. It wasn't a good decision for my lifestyle so I returned them and bought the lower cost ones.

    Also, the labour cost is typically a standard rate that allows a typical shop to survive past 6 years. This doesn't mean you are getting the best value, this means its rate that an averagely competent shop can turn a profit.

    For example, some shops have a tool that measures the dimension and stability of a rotor. If your rotor is suspect, it is tested. Some mechanics will not "need" a machine to tell them a rotor is faulty, but if it's a grey area - it could be the difference of $100.

    I am not at all surprised at the cost of your repair. I am positive that you weren't being singled-out for a gouging. Perhaps, another shop would have charged less, but lets look at the root issue.

    Cynthia (my girl) and I bought a vehicle for $1700. I've replaced about $600 in parts, and put many hours of my own time into it. The vehicle, with my added parts and time is now worth about $2500. But now my transaxle (transmision + differential on my model) is showing trouble, as well as a possible CV joint and other suspension work.

    If my brought my vehicle to a shop, the repair would reach $2500 easily. Repairing my machine would cost more than buying a better quality one. It's the reason we replace our computers every 18-24 months.

    Your truck needs the work, but how much do you need the truck? I don't like playing on that teeter-totter and it doesn't sound like you do either.

    The people you love the most are in that vehicle, and if you could - you would spend $2,000,000,000,000 to make sure they are safe. It just sux ass that in your life $471 is a very, very high cost. I agree with you 100%.


  2. Wow, thanks Jason for your thoughtful response! And you're right, I want to be safe so it is absolutely worth the money. If I could have fixed it myself, I would have, but I haven't the slightest interest in learning car repair. I wish I did, for it would be a cool thing to know as *well* as useful. If only I had grown up on a farm...