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Feeling Useful And Kind of Cheap

June 14, 2021

Sorry, no other pictures. I was busy on Saturday. I was kind of busy.

Do you know what a rotor is? Well, a car rotor looks like a large dinner plate with a hole in the middle. It sits behind your car’s wheel. Always on the front wheels and depending on the model of car, sometimes on all four wheels. The rotor is what lets your car stop. You might think it’s your brakes that stop you. But, the brake system is made up of lots of pieces.

When you go in to “get your brakes done” typically you have your brake pads replaced. The brake pads are made of ceramic or more often asbestos. (Yes, it’s as carcinogen. Don’t breath your brake dust.) The brake pads press up against the rotors from both sides. This is what slows your car down.

Even though your brake pads are what wear down quickest, sometimes your rotors need to be replaced as well. It’s possible to “turn” your rotors instead of replace them. Turning your rotors means you send them to a machine shop and they are carefully smoothed out.

However, rotors, despite being as heavy as they are, are not especially expensive. Well, I guess that depends.

My daughter’s car was making a ‘shimmering’ motion. She took it to a mechanic who diagnosed her problem as needing new rotors. And he quoted her $350 to replace them.

Replacing a rotor is pretty simple. Remove the tire. Remove the brake housing. Pull off the old rotor. Put on the new rotor. Replace the brake housing (Probably need to depress the cylinder to make the brake housing fit back over the new rotor.) Put the wheels back on.

From a mechanic stand point, it coudn’t get much simpler. Her rotors were about $75 each. So, for $150 she had everything she needed. . .except a mechanic to put them on.

Welcome to Daddy’s Garage.

I ordered her rotors and scheduled her car for Saturday afternoon. It was pretty simple, except for replacing one of the studs. When I went to take the lug nuts off, one of them came off very, very slowly. And if you’re using an impact wrench with 90 PSI behind it, anything moving slowly is not performing properly.

Replacing a stud takes another trip to the auto parts store. You just buy a new one. It looks like a bolt. I also got five new lug nuts for good measure. To remove the old lug, the stripped one, you just bang on it with a hammer. A really big hammer.

Once you’ve pounded the old stud out the back of the drum. You push the new one in from the back. You cannot fully push the stud back in place. You had to pound the old one out, you have to pound the new one. But, you can’t really pound from the back. So, to use the power of pneumatics. You put the stud in the wheel and then put a lug nut on the front. Then, you crank your impact wrench up to it’s highest setting and “screw” the lug nut down tighter and tighter until it literally pulls the stud into the wheel drum.

It sounds more complicated than it is. And the best part is you get to crank the impact wrench up and pound on the lug nut. I mean, what’s the fun of having that big of a wrench if you can’t use it?

I don’t charge my kids for doing work on their cars. So, my daughter managed to save a couple hundred dollars and she got to hang out at her parents house on a Saturday. I let her take the old part.

Tell your boyfriend, that you have a real stud. Oh, and that stud is stripped.

Not sure what she plans to do with the money she saved, but hopefully she remembers that Fathers Day is next Sunday.

(I also changed the oil on another daughter’s car. Fixed a visor in the first daughter’s car. Replaced the thermostat, door handle and hood supports. It was a busy day.)

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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