Archive for May 14th, 2008

14
May
08

Save The Brakes

Taking care of my cars is something of an obsessive compulsive kind of thing. I’m one of those people that actually does the lube/oil/filter thing every 3,000 miles. I check the fluids and keep an eye out for little issues that could easily blossom into big headaches. Brakes are something that I keep way up in the top of mind section. Hey, no brakes, no stop. I just recently completed 2500 miles of trek back and forth across the US and noticed a strange “grabbing” while stopping. As it turns out, the rear brakes probably have one disc that is just a little out of spec (front brakes are fine). So I’ll have the rotors turned and scraped and put new shoes on the back. But my mechanic said that I really don’t need to do this. The car will stop just fine, there are no safety issues, and I have at least 30% of the brakes remaining. I’ve never done anything to the rear brakes and the mechanic says that I’m one of the few people he knows that actually uses the braking system properly. He says this because I have 90,000 miles on the car. In theory, I could go for another 30,000 to 40,000 miles on these brakes. Go ahead and take care of ’em. There’s something that is annoying, it can be corrected, I have the money, so why not…

So why am I writing about this? Because I have a daughter who has started driving. And she is doing exactly what I did when I started driving. She is killing the brakes on our cars (mostly my wife’s car!). Kids think that you go fast and then you stop, repeat often. It’s not until they receive the first bill for brake work that this habit *might* start to wane. Depending on hard you work them out, how often, how hot they get, etc., brakes can last anywhere from a few months to a sizable chunk of years. I learned to start slowing down by using the weight of the vehicle a long time ago… because I am a cheap bastard. I look at the lights and the traffic and start slowing by just taking my foot off the gas. It takes far less braking effort that way. Maybe my kids will learn it early on. Probably not.

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14
May
08

Clean Your Butt

I used to smoke cigarettes some 17 or 18 years ago. Did it for a long time. I still smoke a pipe and cigars, so I am sympathetic to how smokers have become the least favored minority. Fellow smokers: we do a crappy job of image management. My neighbor smokes cigarettes and I am constantly having to clean up the butts that he flicks into the grass. I offered a flowerpot filled with sand… it goes unused. Cigarette butts line the rain gutters of all the streets in the neighborhood. I watch motorists flicking butts out of their windows and even dumping entire ashtrays on the street while at a stop light. Many smokers that I know cannot even be bothered to empty their own ashtray inside. Here’s a hot tip: it looks bad, it smells bad, and it is a nasty eyesore. Cigarette butts do not just instantly decompose. They stay around for something like 10,316 years each (give or take). Clean your butt.