Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rockin' & a Rollin' in the wrong place or another story from the "Shade Tree Mechanic"

Why is it that for one step forward, we always feel like we are actually taking two steps backwards? Last month, the VA State Inspection was due on my car. I had been told on the past two inspections that my brakes were very close to the minimum thickness. Being that I only drive approximately 6,000 miles a year on this car, I figured they would eventually start making noise when it was really time. Also, as I was going to replace the pads and rotors, if it went metal to metal, it wouldn't matter. This year, I thought my number was up on the brakes and ordered the parts on-line. Usually, they show up in a timely manner, but this time, they have yet to arrive. Since I needed to get my car inspected before the end of November, I figured that I would chance that the brakes would pass one more time and dropped the car off for the inspection. I thought  that maybe the car might pass, but if it didn't, it would be better to have a rejection sticker, which gives me 15 days to effect any repairs, then to drive around with a dead inspection sticker, risking a ticket and fine. About mid day, I got a call from the repair shop letting me know that my car had in fact failed the inspection, but not for what I thought! The brakes once again were close (obviously a subjective opinion), but passed the state minimum. What caused my car to fail were Motor Mounts and a broken tail light! Three mounts in fact! I was not surprised to hear this, as the car had been driving a little strangely and this seemed to explain why. Of course, the shop wanted to replace them for me, but I had other ideas. The shop is conveniently located across the parking lot from my office, but they are a Mercedes  repair shop and charge commensurate rates for their labor. I paid a visit to my friends at www.Rockauto.com and purchased the three offending mounts for around $50. I then arranged to borrow the lift at one of my fellow Shade Tree Mechanics' home.

Here is the 1st mount that we replaced:


The center section is barely hanging on by one of the four attachment points.

Here is what a new one looks like:


The next one was not much better:


As you can see, it is only hanging on by one attachment point also.

Here's a new one:


The 3rd mount actually could have lasted a little longer as none of the attachment points had broken yet, but were obviously cracking. Additionally, stress from being overworked due to the other mounts being broken explained the recommendation to replace it. 

As far as the tail light is concerned, that should arrive tomorrow. The broken one had a dime size hole in it. The last two inspections, I had taped over the hole with clear tape. According to the shop, Virginia no longer allows this cheap repair. In my opinion, they would have ignored it if I had remembered to freshen the tape.

Still have the brakes to do, but that will have to wait for another time.....

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