Kathryn Gahl

Oh, My Quaking Ash

In Kathryn, Weighing In on February 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

After many of you heard about how the WRX painted the ash tree (properly called the quaking ash) royal blue, comments poured in–OMG, I can see you running to catch that car. Lucky you didn’t get hit crossing the road. Lucky it didn’t take off the car door. Glad you weren’t hurt. Glad you’re okay. But a recurring remark was this: Did you REALLY set the brake? Well, dear reader, the answer is yes. And to give you the back-story, that brake actually held for two minutes and 32 seconds, approximately. That’s how long it took to cross the road the first time to the blue (why is everything blue) country mailbox, open the door of said mailbox, pull out a lovely package that held copies of my latest publication, and then looked up to see a car barreling out of Two Rivers, toward me. I jumped back next to the mailbox to let the speed demon pass and out of the corner of my eye, I spied the blessed blue sportster with front scoop and rear spoiler roll backward down the gravel drive.

My own wheels kicked into gear and I crossed that bloody road, zero to sixty in six seconds. Or something like that. It’s a wonder I wasn’t hit.

When the tow truck driver came, he verified the brake was set. He then drove the car to make sure it didn’t need an alignment. (It did not.) Then, he parked the car and set the parking brake, noting and I quote, “That parking brake needs adjusting–she’s not grabbing . . . you had ‘er in place and she doesn’t grab ’till you crank her all the way.” (I ask you, why is it always a “she”?)

Anyway. The repair shop verified and again I quote, “The parking brake needs a cable-adjustment. It’s lost its leverage.”  For the layman (why is it always a layman and not a laywoman, oh yes, I get that), be advised that while rotor maintenance is a routine procedure in all vehicles, Subaru cars tend to require this much more often, sometimes every 15,000 miles. The rotor deterioration causes failed vehicle inspections, and they sometimes need full replacement. In some cases, the rotors are too damaged to easily remove. Further complications to the emergency brake may result directly from brake rotor maintenance. Any bobblehead can google this. If you drive an automatic, be grateful. If you drive a stick, turn off the car and place it in gear when you park it, so you won’t  rely on an emergency parking brake. Because if you do, you just might have an emergency.

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