Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Monster con...

Yesterday my car informed me with a grinding sound that it needed new brake pads, there was no warning even though the little wear indicators should squeal their little heads off way before it gets to the grinding stage. It turns out the wear indicators had seperated company at some stage which is really helpful of them.

Back to the brake pads...

I went and purchased two sets of brake pads for my car. The astute among you will notice the word 'two' in the previous sentence, the others just had it explained so I will go on. It turns out that carmakers in their wisdom decide to use different spec brake units in the middle of a production run. So for Subaru Libertys from 1991-1997 there are 2 different types of brake pad that are used on the front end with no way to tell which car uses which pad without comparing to the units that are on the car. I suppose I should think myself lucky I don't own a Toyota Corolla, which has 7 different brake pads used in the model years 1990-2001. I purchased the two sets of pads and fitted one set yesterday evening. Repco will allow me to return the unused set for a full refund.

Now I get to the point of this post. I saw an ad on TV last night for Ultra Tune's disc brake service special of $99 for front or rear. Now, my brake pads cost me $44 per end of the car, they can probably get these for much less than retail ($35 or less), they also have rattle guns, caliper clamps and hoists to do the job in a fraction of the 45 minutes (in between looking after my sick wife and bathing my son) it took me to change the front pads on my car. Now it isn't the cleanest of jobs to change the brake pads but geez an extra $65 to pay someone else to do something you can do yourself quite easily with common tools. Mobs like Ultra Tune and Auto Masters must be making a pretty penny off these simple but messy services that they provide. I say good luck to 'em but I'll do it myself thanks.

BTW, when looking for car parts, go to Repco and leave those shoddy pricks at Super Cheap Auto to go broke selling ricey crap to 'doof-doof' drivers...

UPDATE: I saw an ad in the latest Kmart catalogue for their 'Disc Brake Service' using the same pads I purchased, but they are doing the job for $139 for most cars. For a 20-30 minute job, that ain't a bad way of making a profit.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Don't get me started on Super Cheap Auto. Their store is filled with useless cheap junk and half-arse parts department whose employees don't know what a metal washer looks like (asked "What's that?" when presented with a slightly munted metal washer while seeking a replacement).

Anyway, back to my point. Nissan, too, have done something similar, not at a neat point, but right in the middle of a production run of the series 2 Pulsar.

Also, my model car has two types of suspension struts depending on which month it was built in, but nobody knows which.

Anyhoo, back to my point. While I could argue that if it takes me 1 hr to change my pads and I get dirty in the process, I may as well give it to somebody else and pay them the $75 I could earn in that hour. At least I would be clean right?

But then the following problems occur:
- In a one-car family, I have to drop the car off somewhere and pick it up. That's an extra hassle.

- Someone else is in charge of my safety, although any spaz with a spanner should be able to do it right.

- I enjoy doing such things, because mechanical skills are handy to have and hard to come by unless you try to do such things yourself.