Misadventures in auto repair…

J has serious trust issues when it comes to having work done on the house or on the car.  Not that he doesn’t have reason to feel that way.  We have done a lot of the work on our house ourselves in order to save money, but there have been some things for which the city has required us to hire professionals.  Specifically, installing a new electrical circuit panel and removing the old oil tank and running a new gas line for the new furnace.  The oil tank removal went off without a hitch, but we ended up having huge problems with the other two things.  First, during a bad rain storm, we found the electrical panel full of water…and of course, electricity and water don’t really mix.  Total disaster.  Apparently, the electrician didn’t properly seal the area where the wires run into the house from outside.  As soon as that was fixed we found out that we had a gas leak…which is not great  if you don’t want your house to blow up.  Both times J just ended up fixing the problems himself.  But now he’s lost all trust in the so-called professionals and he wants to do everything himself.  Everything. 

A few months ago, we needed new brakes on the car and J decided he wanted to change them himself.  Turns out that changing brake pads and rotors is pretty easy and we changed the front brakes without incident.  Last week it came time to change the rear brakes.  It was a much more complicated process and included replacing calipers.  If you are lost, I don’t blame you…so was I.  I couldn’t tell you what a caliper is or what it does or why you need one.  Basically, I stood around watching and getting wrenches and other tools.  It took forever, but eventually, we finished and J did a great job.  Well, I guess he did a great job.  The car stops when I press on the brake, so I consider that a victory.

This weekend, J wanted to bleed the brake lines in order to make sure there was no air in them.  This is accomplished by loosening a little bolt on the brake line and pressing on the brake pedal until brake fluid comes out.  We did the back brakes Saturday and everything went without a hitch.  My job was to sit in the car and press on the brake.  The most complicated part of my job was to make sure I got into and out of the car in a way that wouldn’t knock it off the jack.  I did a fabulous job!

We had to go out in the afternoon so we only did the back.  Yesterday morning at 7AM J got the car ready to do the front brakes.  He had the car up on the jack by the time he called me to come out and perform my brake stepping function.  He told me to get in the car, release the emergency brake and then step on the brake pedal.  I got in the car…all fine.  I released the emergency brake and suddenly the car started to roll backwards down the driveway.  I freaked and slammed my foot on the brake and the car stopped moving, but was now teetering on the jack in a not good way. 

The look of panic on J’s face caused me to freak out even more.  We both realized the car was going down and there was nothing we could do about it.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I also didn’t know why the car was rolling or how far it was going to go…our driveway is pretty steep and odds are I would have ended up in the neighbor’s pool if I didn’t stop rolling.  J told me to ease my foot off the brake and let the car go down gently because we really had no choice.  I did it as easily as I could, but there was a really loud crash when it hit the ground. 

Luckily my brother had left a spare jack in the garage the last time he worked on the car for us (he’s actually a mechanic) so we were able to re-jack the car and inspect the damage.  We broke the first jack beyond repair…it’s twisted in some places and crushed in others.  There was also some damage around the rotor, but luckily not to the rotor itself.  J managed to fix the part that had bent and we got the tire back on. 

J looked at me once the crisis had passed and said “Good job” and he looked pissed.  I burst into hysterical tears.  This car is J’s baby…he loves it…and I got in the car too roughly and I made it fall off the jack and I broke it!  I felt so bad.  Of course, the tears made him feel horrible.  Because, you see, it wasn’t really my fault at all.  J was tired and he was rushing and he wasn’t really being very careful.  Instead of putting blocks behind the tires like he always does, he figured it would be fine to skip that part.  And instead of putting the car in park and letting it roll slightly and then setting the emergency brake, he set the emergency brake first and then put the car in park.  The fault was completely his.  I was so relieved.

Of course, when our new neighbor came out and asked if everything was ok, J said “Yeah, Shana just knocked the car off the jack.”  Ass.

PS…Don’t forget to enter my giveaway


  1. I’m glad you are okay! I am still impressed with all of your DIY skills. By the way I tagged you in my 3 things post and I mentioned your give away!

  2. We attempt simple things at home (ie: oil changes, tire changes), but redoing the brakes? No freakin’ way. With my luck the car wouldn’t stop the next time I tried to drive it.

    Sorry this happened to J’s car, but I’m glad no one got hurt!

  3. No matter what, it would have been an accident, but I am glad it wasn’t you. Either way, I’m sorry.

  4. I am so thankful that hubs doesn’t want to do car repairs. I feel lucky that my FIL owns his own shop and we just take them there when something brakes. (breaks…lmao)
    If I had to do what you did and that happened to me, I would’ve been crying, too. Thank goodness it’s done!

  5. My husband is pretty handy, but rear brakes? Not even. That is a difficult job, and my hat is off to the two of you for even trying. And if I did what you did?

    Oh my god, my husband would laugh so hard.

    He loves to tell stories about the times I have messed up. I am a lot of material, apparently.

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