Give Me A Brake

My dad has just been telling me about his recent drive along the coast, which he doesn’t manage to do very often these days. It’s great that he’s been getting out and about, but what he’s been saying has got me a bit concerned about the roadworthiness of his old ute. He told me that the brake pedal has been making loud squealing noises and feels ‘spongy’ underfoot, which all sounds pretty irregular to me, if not downright dangerous.

My sister, who was there to hear about this too, said I was overreacting when I expressed my concerns. My position is that dad needs to book in for a brake service in south-east Melbourne, as opposed to his usual approach of lugging it out to his mate in Geelong, who’s not even qualified as a mechanic. Is that unreasonable? According to sis, it is. She thinks it’s fine to wait until the brakes actually show signs of failing before getting them professionally repaired, which seems pretty stupid to me. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t strike me as a good rule of thumb when it comes to brakes, especially if they’re behaving weirdly.

Truth be told, since dad moved to Ringwood, vehicle servicing by professional technicians has been increasingly low on his to-do list. I get that he has a chill thing going with his pseudo-mechanic chum – namely, he doesn’t have to pay, and the work is correspondingly sub par – but he’s not getting any younger and neither is his ride. He needs to find a mechanic around here who is actually capable of getting the job done.

I don’t know why any of this comes as a surprise to me, given that dad and sis are both total cheapskates. To me, it just seems clear that car braking systems aren’t something to be messing around with, especially if you’re going to be taking off on jaunts up the Great Ocean Road.

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