I’ve never liked taking my vehicles to a shop to be fixed and most of the time, over the years, I’ve worked on them myself. However, a couple of weeks ago when my pickup started making an odd noise, and having a little vibration, I didn’t want to deal with it—for a lot of reasons; I’m getting older, it’s harder to work on vehicles these days, I never seem to have the right tools anymore, and it was raining. Besides, I just really didn’t want to work on it.
So, I took the pickup to a local shop. After telling them what it was doing and when it would occur, I went home to get some sleep, thinking the over-inflated cost of the mechanics might just be worth it this time. I’d sleep while they worked. An ingenious plan.
Well, things rarely work out so easily.
Later that afternoon, I called to see what they had found and was told they’d found nothing wrong. The truck made no noise and had no vibration, they said. “Probably just normal creaks and rough roads. Replace your shocks and it’ll be fine.”
I’d barely made it onto the street before the loud popping noise and the vibration returned. But since I was on my way to work, I didn’t take it back. I spent the next several days, looking for loose parts on the suspension—among other things. And on the weekend, I put new shocks on, front and back. It didn’t help. And the problem seemed to be growing worse. It now felt as if the left front wheel was going to fall right off.
After a few more days, the noise and grinding sound didn’t just come and go; it persisted. And the wheel became wobblier. So, I made a return trip to the shop, figuring this time they surely would be able to find something amiss. But no. Even though I was riding with the mechanic who drove it, and could feel and hear what I had described to him, he didn’t and said there was nothing wrong. We even took it back to the shop and raised it on a hoist. Examining underneath, I made sure things were tight—and they seemed to be. I mentioned the possibility of it being a hub but the guy dismissed my suggestion. Obviously, I had no idea what a hub going out sounds or feels like—at least that was what I got from our conversation. It had to be something on the suspension, he said. And then he sprayed some lubricant on all the bushings and connections, telling me that should fix it.
Well, I’m a little stubborn and since I had checked the suspension myself, I wasn’t convinced that was the problem. Still believing it was a hub going out, and not wanting my wheel to come flying off while driving down the highway at 70 mph, I checked some prices and found the cost would be around $500.00 to have a shop replace it.
Well, that was way too much, especially since I wasn’t sure if it would even fix my problem. So, purchasing a new hub, back home I went.
Thanks to the number miles on the pickup and stubborn parts that didn’t want to come off, working on it was a pain. But a few days and several new tools later, I finally put it all back together and... it works! No thumps and pops, no vibration and grinding noises! It’s a nice feeling when that happens. Even nicer when I have the opportunity to go tell a mechanic he was wrong! And after the looks I got when I suggested the hub might be the problem, you can bet I’ll be making a special trip down to tell them!
My experience wasn’t totally without reward, however. I did get some new tools out of the deal—and had the chance to spend quite a few hours lying on the hard concrete, in the rain! You can’t beat that! Well, I could have I guess, if the shop had fixed it in the beginning, like I’d intended. But it turns out my dad was right—again—if you want something done right, do it yourself! It’s usually cheaper. Even with buying the new tools, I didn’t spend the $500.00 they wanted to charge. I think they just wanted to make a few extra bucks off of me. Then again, maybe the mechanics suffered from the same symptoms I had—and they really just didn’t want to work on it. ~
Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.