To tag on to Edwin's encouragement Meg, if you really want to do it, and you
really want to learn how, then you have a couple of choices. You can indeed
watch the mechanic, and if he's someone you or your Dad know, hopefully you
can ask him questions and learn a lot from watching him do the work. This
can indeed be a good approach.
Likewise, if you want, you can purchase a Haynes manual for your car
(typically around $20 in auto parts stores), or a like publication, and
follow the procedures in it. Though you are a bit more on your own with
this approach, these manuals are really well documented and include lots of
pictures to assist the first timer. You could do a complete brake job with
nothing more than a manual like this at your side. Admittedly, not as
preferred an approach as being able to work with someone else who is more
experienced, on your first brake job, but it does demonstrate that what
Edwin says is true - you can do it. And, you can do it right.
Wanna try it on your own? Bring your questions before you start, right
here. There's a ton of experience here and lots of people who will offer
you solid advice and tips. You could get the entire procedure outlined for
you before you even start.
A little afraid of that approach? That's fine. Do what makes you more
comfortable. If watching the mechanic do the job is more reassuring to you,
then by all means, do that. Just take from this discussion that you can
indeed do your own brakes properly, and it does not take any amount of skill
or knowledge that the average car owner does not already posses.
In my book, you made a good choice - and the choice I also made with both my
minivan and my son's Elantra within the last month or so.
The place I went to WAS able to turn the rotors on both vehicles. They also
sell me the Raybestos ceramic brake pads for what I would pay for them if I
just bought them retail (both somewhere in the $30-40 range). And they
charged $55 for labor, including the rotor turns.
That sure beats trying to do it in the cold. And the fellow who does them I
KNOW is going to do them right. All in all, a small price to pay for safety
Back in high school, or early college, I yanked the 307 out of my mom's
Chevy, and replaced it with a JC Whitney 327.
I also grovelled underneath my '70 Camaro to yank the trans to replace the
clutch & pressure plate...banged out U joints from the drive shaft to
replace also. On the Camaro, I was always swapping out a new Holley with a
'better' one. Headers, shocks, exhaust, intake manifolds, alternators and
yes...brakes were all done in my folk's garage.
But time marched on, and now I am pretty certain I would be on my way to
Meineke if my '04 Santa Fe needed brakes.
I must say I got soft, having a company car all through the '80s and '90s.
But now that I am back on the 35 cents a mile to use my own car for
work....I may again 25 or 30 years later.....shop for a Chilton's manual!!!!
.....now where are my torque wrenches????
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