March 07, 2005 :: Outsmarted by my car

Over a year ago, my car started showing signs of its age. I bought it new in 2000, and it has served me well. But as the miles pack on, it's clear that the car, she ain't what she used to be. The brake light began staying on after I released the emergency brake, for a while. I thought I would check it out. I asked the dealer customer service rep when I took it in for the 60,000 mile checkup if the brakes were alright. He replied that since the tech didn't write anything, there must be at least 30% of the front pads left, and more on the back (since it's a front heavy front wheel drive car). He said it was probably a fault in the emergency brake sensor. I also consulted my most car-savvy friend (PhD engineering candidate at MIT) and he also said it was probably the sensor. I felt more relaxed, and continued to drive my car, being slightly more sparing on the brakes.

A couple of weeks ago, my wheels started squealing. Now there's 82,000 miles on the car, so I figured the brakes were due. It sounded like a wounded animal when I put it in reverse, and even just driving along it made scraping sounds. I knew I was due for some bad news. Saturday, Midas told me I'd scraped up my rotors somewhat, but they could be resurfaced and salvaged. The bad news? The bill was $600 (instead of the $300 I was praying for, admittedly with no basis in reality).

Now my brakes are good as new, and as an additional bonus, the brake light doesn't stay on anymore. Turns out my car was trying to tell me I needed to get my brakes done...