Brake Pad Blues

I’m so done with this year, and beyond keen to get down to the coast for summer. The internship with the agricultural accountancy firm has been worthwhile, but I’m not used to this in-land life. Time to whack my surfboard on top of the station wagon and hit the road.

At least, it would be if my car was in working order. As if there wasn’t enough already putting my cortisol levels into overdrive, something has gone awry with my brake pads. I really need recommendations for where to take the old junk-bucket for an emergency car servicing close to Brighton. The local mechanic has a few options, but I need somewhere that can do the job fast – I need to get out of here and cop that sea breeze, stat.

So there’s that, along with the fact that most of the best motor mechanics Brighton has to offer seem to have clocked off for the holidays. Fair enough, too. But we need mechanics around these parts much more than anyone needs an agricultural accountancy intern slash frustrated surfer. There’s demand for their services, dang it!

At least, there is from me, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one in this position. ‘Tis the season for busted car air conditioners, after all. Not to mention family holidays in stuffy sedans, and back seats full of cranky teenagers unable to charge their devices. Think of them, mechanics, when you close up shop for Christmas a few days early. Those kids need a cool down! They didn’t ask to come on the family trip, did they?

Okay, maybe I’m transferring my youth onto everyone in this town. It’s a coping mechanism, alright? I just want to go surfing, and I can’t do that until I get my car serviced. I suppose I could catch a train or something, but it’s too hot to figure it out. At least my car aircon is working. As soon as I can get those brake pads fixed, I’m out of here.

Speed Demon

My brother Jimmy has always been a bit on the extreme side, and I can’t help but feel like it’s becoming worse as he approaches his forties. In particular, he seems to have developed a habit of getting on the highway purely for purposes of riding the speed limit while listening to really loud deep house music. If he doesn’t get a chance to do this almost every day, he starts getting snappy and fidgety. No joke.

Look, it’s not such a bad habit, provided that he drives safely and complies with the road rules. But in all honesty, his car is not up to it. All it’s really good for these days is putting around Brighton. Tyre and auto upkeep be damned – Jimmy refuses to take the old junk bucket for a service, and it’s not getting any more roadworthy.

It’s weird because he seems to be mates with heaps of local car mechanics. Brighton isn’t exactly the big smoke, so I can’t quite figure out where they all fit into the town’s business landscape. Regardless, you’d think they’d keep Jimmy in check about having his car routinely serviced, or at least patched up around the edges, but I can’t see much evidence of that. It’s certainly apparent in the plastic bin bags sticky-taped over one of the rear windows, or the temperamental tail light that occasionally opts to not work.

All that aside, I just don’t know that it’s healthy for Jimmy to be relying so heavily on this one particular method of letting off steam. Couldn’t he go for a walk instead? That’d be so much less dangerous, not to mention carbon neutral. Or he could get himself a hobby – something active and wholesome, like gardening or mountain bike mechanics. Surely, all this high-speed driving must increase his cortisol levels, not lower them. Each to their own, though.

Wind and Wheels

Sometimes I have this weird dream where I’m driving along the ocean floor, and it’s wonderful. I roll down the window and say hello to all the fish, and sometimes I stop at the drive-through to get myself a delicious smoothie, made from seaweed. It’s a seaweed smoothie. I call it a seawoothie.

Now, that dream can be a reality, maybe. Still might be more efficient to get around underwater with flippers and very small submarines, but I like to think that the current car mechanics Bentleigh has on offer will branch out a little. Like, you’ll have your local auto workshop, you’ll have another one right by the docks, and you’ll have a third underneath the ocean, for the really hands-on jobs that need them to be right there, in the ocean, where everyone is doing their driving.

Or maybe it’ll just be the traditionalists like myself. Obviously, keeping yourself on the ground, even on roads, will be seen as old-fashioned, and ‘what the land folks do with their commutes and tyre repairs and hopscotch and dungarees’, but I just don’t like the thought of not being able to drive. Driving is great fun, and ever since I got over the idea of the clutch and working it so the car doesn’t bunny hop down the road, I’ve had a great time. Just don’t think it’d be the same with some sort of…ocean conversion that can propel itself in three dimensions. I like the feeling of the rubber beneath the road, and the wind in my face when it’s weather-appropriate.

Maybe the ocean isn’t for me. I mean, imagine the difficulties of all things auto electrical. Bentleigh is great for getting that sort of work done, but it’d be a nightmare with a few thousand tons of water pressing down on you. Electrical and water do not mix. And the rust…SO much rust. Cars are meant to be above ground. Maybe I am as well.



Evil Cars?

Her-Bla has gone too far this time. I’m not even someone who’s massively into cars, and even I thought that the Her-Bla Christmas special was way off the rails. Well, I call it a Christmas special, but they never used the words in the show. Not PC enough…no, it was a ‘Special Time Happy Episode’, which makes me slightly ill. I’m sticking with the story that even my young daughter thought it was ridiculous, although I’d be lying if I said I was 100% on that. 

Anyway, Her-Bla and all her friends took some time off saving the universe- something they never really seem to do anyway- to go on a trip to the Gluten-Free No-Added-Sugar Mountain of Sweet Treats, but as soon as the cutesy tiger cub character suggested that they all take the Her-Bla-Car-Mobile, he was given a harsh lecture on why cars are pure evil.

Get the news out to your go-to mechanic  workshop, Preston locals: Her-Bla says they need to shut down, now

Alright, hang on… I just had my annual car service. Coburg was a nightmare on the traffic front, sure, but evil? I don’t know. None of the mechanics advised me that cars are evil now. You’d think it would’ve been on the news: All mechanics now out of business, cars declared evil, government offering rebates for anyone offering up their vehicles to be cast into the nearest volcano.

Nope. I won’t have it. Cars are fine, especially now that they’re making electrical ones and hydro-powered ones and goodness knows what else. The automotive industry provides hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide, millions more have cars as their greatest passion and hobby, and they basically mean that the modern world that allows us to watch preachy cartoons runs smoothly. But no, lecture the tiger until he cries, tell the audience directly that they should always walk in all weathers, and then go on your stupid adventure, Her-Bla, you smug little hypocrite.


Wheels Are Important

So, my first mistake was buying a car without any wheels. It’ll be a nice little fixer-upper project, the first big ‘thing’ I ever do in my retirement, that’s what I told myself. Everyone is going to be so impressed when they hear that after a single weekend I’m already straight into embracing the retired life. No loitering around in an armchair for me, no sir.

But I don’t have the capacity for transporting a car that doesn’t have wheels, so that was an expensive call to some mechanics who could help me out. I’ve done the rest of my research, or so I thought. I’ve lived here for all my life, and there’s not a single auto repair garage based in Hawthorn that can sprout up without my knowledge, even though I’ve never actually worked in the automotive industry. So I have a support network, but I didn’t just want to go running to the garage every single time I needed something during my little project. I want to be able to figure things out for myself.

That lasted…four minutes, or so? Got the car home, did an inspection (it felt like the right thing to do) and found that I was missing a few fairly important parts. Like a steering wheel. How did I MISS that? Just kinda assumed that it would have one, but that’s what I get for buying online and then being distracted by the whole wheel business. The hood also just fell off while I was looking at the engine. Just rusted right off, and I don’t have the tools to put it back on. Maybe I started too hard. Should’ve gone for a broken down but still whole car, instead of a literal giant piece of scrap metal. I suppose the auto repair garages open in the my area are getting my custom after all. Although they might take one look and tell me to sell this one to the scrapyard

Woo hoo! Brand new car smell!

Buying your very first new car is a fabulous way to start a new year. But I’ve such a lot to learn- having a new car comes with a lot of new rules and I’m not 100% that I understand them all just yet. Luckily I found out I can use my preferred Ringwood mechanic, because I’d be lost without him!

To begin with, I thought I had to get the manufacturer to do all the servicing up to a certain point. Apparently having someone work on your car who isn’t registered to repair it can void your warranty and you need someone who is licensed, to fit the very extremely particular standards that the very serious manufacturer insists upon.

I’m assured that this is a good thing.

My mechanic has serviced both my rides since I first started driving, and I was worried that I’d have to find a new mechanic to provide a quality car service. Ringwood has some good choices but I had to find someone I could trust. All it took was one bad experience with a dodgy mechanic who charged me for a load of repairs that were never carried out. So after doing some groundwork, I found a place that have like, a huge promise to consumers, that they won’t repair anything until you sign off on it. They’re total professionals, and I’m telling you, I’d be the last to know the difference in the way my car runs until it is way too late, so that trust is really really important.

Apparently my new car is a great choice too.

I feel chuffed to have that pat on the back from the experts, even though I spent more than I was going to. Right now, I’m planning out my first long distance trip- something I could never have done with confidence with my old wheels…I’m headed to Robe, South Australia for a week and a half away.