I’ve decided it’s time for me to create a “meme.” If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s basically an idea that floats around with a given culture, although in practice it often means “hilarious internet thing that gets modified and copied ad nauseum.” For example, check out the “Y U NO guy“:
I’ve decided, given the plague of horrible, horrible drivers throughout the world, to create “Bad Driver Deb,” to demonstrate the hypocrisy inherent in most drivers’ behavior. For example:
Whaddaya think? I’m not sure if the idea really has legs, since bad drivers only seem to be worried about how fast others are driving or whether they’re being tailgated, so I’d end up reusing those over and over every time I wanted to moan about them holding up traffic, rolling through stop signs, talking on their phones, cutting me off, etc. There’s a strong chance I’ve created the most pointless meme in existence. Oh, well.
Speaking of automotive concerns: I finally got around to fixing the brakes on Sarah’s car last weekend. You may recall from my review last month that the car would shimmy and shake like Elvis’s hips during hard braking, and my amateur diagnosis was that the rotors needed to be replaced. So I swung by my local NAPA and picked up rotors, pads, grease, and a new jack, because my old one is too small to jack up taller cars.
I quickly discovered that the new jack wasn’t going to work either. At full height, it lifted the car about an inch, but the suspension just kept the tire on the ground. I ended up having to jack up the car with the horrible scissor jack from the trunk, and then using the new bottle jack to lift the suspension a bit and get the wheel off the ground. The lug nuts came off fairly easily, thank Jebus, and the wheel as well. I had to hammer at the ratchet handle a bit to get the caliper loose, but got that off as well.
The rotors were another matter. They were held in place by two small screws, which are entirely unnecessary since the wheel itself is more than capable of holding the rotor in place once the nuts are tightened down. The little screws were too tight (probably glued in place) to get with a regular screwdriver, so I dug out my impact screwdriver and got to work. After snapping the heads off of three impact bits and completely stripping the head of the screw, I cursed eloquently and drilled the feckers out (snapping off a good drill bit and blunting half a dozen others).
I was pleased to discover that the caliper actually has two pistons in it, but it did mean double the compressing. It also took some doing to get everything back in please, requiring even more fluent cursing, but I ended up getting everything replaced in about 2 hours.
Once that was done, I crawled under to change the oil, and discovered that finally engine designers have wised up. The oil sump screw came out easily (although I put my bucket in the wrong place and spilled a quart of oil on the driveway), and even better, the oil filter is right at the bottom of the engine and I was able to unscrew it with just my hand. I wish the oil hadn’t inexplicably been pressurized, though, because as the filter came off oil exploded out of it and got all over me, the car, the ground, just about everywhere but the oil bucket.
5.5 quarts of new oil went in easily, followed by gently firing up the engine and taking the car for a spin. The brakes worked fantastically, and I discovered that even the minor shimmy that had been happening at 80+ mph had gone away as well. For scientific purposes, I took that big beast up to, um, a rather high rate of speed on 495 and it just purred.
In short, it turns out that if you spend the bucks on the premium parts, the car works better, even if you do the actual labor yourself. Who knew?