We bought the mini van 18 months ago. It’s a 2006 & currently has about 48,000 miles or so on it. This week I have to take it in for the first real repairs it has needed. The brake rotors need milled or something. They stutter when you hit the brakes, the brakes still work just fine but you can feel the stuttering in an alarming “Good God the brakes are going to fail sooner rather than later” sort of way. Though I am told if it takes me 9 months to get the job done mostly I’ll just need new rotors & the brakes themselves will continue to work.
But nevertheless it is alarming.
I was told that about 3 months ago & for various reasons have been putting it off. The dealership, who told me I needed the milling, quoted me a price that seemed really high to DH who once had rotors milled back in the 20th century. So he’s been sporadically calling around looking for lower prices.
It appears the costs of brake repairs have in fact gone up in the past 2 decades.
Should we be willing to disassemble the brakes ourselves and drop off the rotors it would only be about $60 to get them milled. Dropping the car off adds $60-90.
We’d eventually decided on a place near his office & he just had to pick a day to do it. While he was dithering about this, last week, the engine light started staying on.
Could the place fixing the brakes also check out the engine light?
Maybe. And they’ll need to keep the car overnight because of the milling. They send that work out.
So I called the dealership. I don’t like going to the dealership for repairs. I always feel I am paying more there. But I usually feel I am being taken advantage of in auto repair shops. They use words I’ve never heard before & they always sound so grave about things and when you ask about putting that repair off they always say “Well, you could….” in a tone that implies your fiery death is imminent if you put this repair off.
Maybe it really is, but having lost more than one belt while traveling at interstate speeds I know it really isn’t a matter of life & death if I wait a month to replace it. It’s just wildly inconvenient and adds towing to the overall cost of repairs.
The engine light though, made me consider the dealership. I mean, it’s a Dodge Grand Caravan, one of the most popular mini vans in the country. Odds are any garage can diagnose & repair whatever that light is indicating. But still… I am familiar with that light in an ominous sort of way from other vehicles. An engine light with no other sign, no other sounds, no perceivable issues could be any damn thing & probably expensive and the less time spend sorting it out, the less the labor charges.
And the dealership asked me all sorts of questions about that light & what else was going on in a way that led me to believe they have a very narrow field of exploration. I was told it probably would only take a couple hours. I know Ganders (our usual local repair place) would keep it overnight at least.
Here is my problem. I’ve had two new cars in my life, one in 1992 that I kept until 2001 when I got the second & kept it until 2008. Before that I went through a slew of used cars between 1983-1992. My sense of what to expect repair wise from vehicles is a little mixed up.In my experience you need to repair something major on a car every 10-12 months or you go literally years and years before needing a major repair.
So, is this something I have caused through neglect? Am I a bad braker somehow, tapping them or pressing too hard? Or is this normal? Is this engine thing whatever it may be a normal occurrence after 48,000 miles or did I forget to replace some fluid or other? I know for certain that I am responsible for my first transmission failure simply because I got into a habit of shifting from R to D without coming to a full stop all the time & it wore the gears or whatever down. But I stopped that & am very aware of that now (and it had nothing to do with the other 2 transmission failures, one was simply a badly reassembled refurb job I got to save money. The other turned out to be something interior I couldn’t have caused). But maybe I am doing something else? Engine lights do have a tendency to come on on my cars, but they always seem to mean different things.
I suppose I’ll have to ask the mechanics, but usually I don’t understand their answers.