I can’t believe it. I took some time off to run some errands, including getting our old Corolla serviced. Have you ever had a medical symptom and gone to the doctor and when you got to his office the symptom went away? That’s my old Corolla.
It’s our oldest vehicle, the one we put the most miles on, and it is the dogs’ mobile den, their favorite home away from home. About three or four years ago I took it in because the brakes squealed. They told me the front brakes were okay, and replaced the back brakes.
The brakes still squealed, especially when the car ran a lot on a hot day, or when it rained. I took it back in. They checked the brakes, everything was fine. A few days later, they’d squeal again. (I hate that sound.)
It goes away for a while, especially during mild weather, but this summer it came back. Especially early in the morning, when I’m taking the dogs out to the old naval base for some exercise. Tap the brakes and “screeeeeeeeee!” in the early morning calm. That piercing noise. So I took some time off one day. It’s not easy dealing with the garage during the week because of our schedules, so sometimes it’s just easiest to take time off and handle it at a relaxed pace.
That morning, the brakes were still squealing. I called the garage and got an afternoon appointment. Midday I put the dogs in the car to drive over, drop the car off, and walk the dogs home. A teeny squeal as we left the driveway. And then: nothing.
It was even a fairly warm, sunny afternoon. So I drove out to the old naval air base, and drove around for a bit. I accelerated. I hit the brakes. I gave them a work out. I hate to do this, as it’s wasting gas, but I had to get those damn brakes heated up so they’d squeal again. Nothing doing.
I finally went to the garage, explained that I’d brought the the car back for these squealing brakes a couple times already, and I even drove around with the mechanic. Another teensy squeal. But mostly, nothing.
The owner and mechanic shrugged their shoulders. What to say?
I could pay them to take them apart and look. But you just know what would happen then. They’ll say everything is fine. Then I’ll drive home and a couple days later the brakes will squeal again, and I’ll freak out and spray WD-40 wildly all over the inside of the hubcaps until the front axle and undercarriage is drenched and spontaneously ignites when I start the engine, and after I put the fire out with an extinguisher or maybe an ax my wife will say, “what on earth is wrong with you?” and take me to a headshrinker to find out, where I will sit calmly, smile serenely, and say, “I’m perfectly fine. Whatever do you mean?”
Just like my goddamn Corolla.