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Not My Kind Of Music

November 12, 2021

Do you remember TV show “Name That Tune”? The contestants were supposed to guess a song in the fewest number of notes. You’ve probably had it happen at times. A song comes on the radio and in the first few notes you instantly know the song.

Cars can sing songs too. And just as you can sometimes spot a song from the first few notes, it’s possible to recognize the song a car sings from a few seconds. My wife’s car was recently singing. I recognized the song immediately.

Have you ever heard brakes squeal? Did you know that when your brakes start squealing there is technically nothing wrong with them? It just means they are getting close to needing replacement.

I didn’t understand that when I started working on cars. The idea that a product would literally squeal to tell you it needs to be replaced is a kind of cool idea. And that sound? It’s like fingers on chalkboards.

My wife’s car didn’t squeal at her, or me. But, it was singing none the less.

If you ignore the squealing long enough eventually your back pads will wear out. And at that point, they make a different noise. Not a squeal. It’s more of a “smoosh.” That’s the song her car was singing. I recognized it as soon as I touched the brakes. I have no idea why the brakes didn’t squeal.

Brake pads are typically made of a

sbestos. Some are made of ceramic. You know that dirty stuff that gets on your wheels? That’s brake dust. It’s what comes off as your brake pads wear down.

When they are completely gone, the steel brake pad backing presses against the rotor. The rotor is a large metal dinner plate that fits over the studs on your wheels.

The brake pads press on each side of the rotor to stop the car.

When the brake pad is gone, you get metal on metal. If you press metal on metal long enough the metal heats up and starts to grind patterns into it. The grooves look like a vinyl record. I own several vinyl records and a record player.

The rotor looked more like a big bowl. But, it’s definitely not supposed to have those grooves.

It’s impossible to put a rotor on a record player, of course. And even if you could, a vinyl record has one long continuous groove. I’m pretty sure the rotor’s grooves are not as nicely formatted.

But, just as my vinyl records play a distinctive song, recognizable with just a couple of notes, that rotor also told a story in just a couple of notes.

But, it wasn’t really my kind of music.

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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