Wednesday, February 08, 2017

$1000 Would Buy A Lot Of Yarn

My 8-year-old Sienna's been making a weird noise when I turn the wheel to the left, just a vibration really. So, naturally, I ignored it. For months. Only now it is louder, to the point where, if I turn left and accelerate, it's hard to hear the person talking to me in the car.

Yeah, that's loud. And embarrassing.

So I dropped the van off at the garage today and walked home, hoping against hope that it was, I don't know, a loose screw or something. Maybe a loose metal part rattling. Anything, so long as it was cheap.

Gratuitous picture of my work in progress, because yarn
We know that's not how this ends, right? The car guy called me and started talking about hub bearings and axle ends and boots, and right there I knew I was in trouble.

"Can it be something cheaper sounding?" I interrupted him.

"Um, no, ma'am," he said.

So I made him explain it all to me again, so I could explain it to Larry. I even asked questions, responsible consumer that I am. "What do you mean the axle is leaking? I thought it was just a piece of metal," I said, not so knowledgeably.

"No, ma'am, on the end of the axle is the boot and it...." and off he went, politely explaining it all to me again, even though both he and I knew I wouldn't get it.

Hey, I wanted my money's worth, okay?

So that's the story of how I spent over a thousand dollars today. I know, impressive! And I didn't even have to go online to do it.


  1. It's not that complicated. Wheels rotate, right? And the car doesn't rotate (at least not if there isn't any ice). So at the point where two pieces of metal that move differently meet, you have to have lubrication. But it's under a car, so you have to have seals (like the boot)- stuff to keep the oil or grease where it's supposed to be, and keep dirt and road crap out of it. When the seal/boot starts leaking, the oil or grease comes out and the dirt gets in- and eventually you break an axle and your wheel falls off the car. Which is bad. (I've been making rubber seals of various sorts for a living for almost 30 years. Lots of practice in translating engineerese into English.)

    1. I remember your expertise in seals, because you once explained to me why my new-used dishwasher might leak at first and then stop. You were right - it did.

    2. Seals- they're everywhere. And the only time you notice them is when they aren't working!

  2. Oh what a bummer!! And here I was depressed because I just spent well over $200 on glasses - although I do take comfort in the fact that if I'd bought them elsewhere I would have spent a lot more. But back to you, on the plus side it won't make that noise/vibration anymore - it's a cold comfort, I know.

  3. So you gave your car the boot? Heh. A new boot at least.

  4. I saw the word "Sienna" and the words "turn the wheel" and immediately thought: Oh, no! Her spinning wheel!
    Do you even have one? Then I realized you meant the car, and that's even worse than a broken spinning wheel, and a lot more expensive. So sorry.

  5. It's never cheap when it's car trouble, is it? But that shower! And the yarn!

  6. How many miles do you now have on the Sienna? I'm asking "for a friend" because there's about 127,000 on my Kia Sedona and I've been ignoring some noises. (What? I just turn up NPR and drive on.)