<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/5212389861/” title=”Tacoma Brakes, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5044/5212389861_8eb4fcc729_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”160″ alt=”Tacoma Brakes” /></a><br />n<br />nIt’s been a long time since I’ve had some serious garage time. I mean along the lines of spending the entire day in the garage, with a definite job to do on a mechanical piece of machinery, using a good percentage of the tool collection I’ve been building since my teen years.<br />n<br />nOver the past couple of weeks, there has been a kind of a squealing noise coming from my truck. It seemed to happen all the time, not just when the brakes were applied, and it happened only when the truck was rolling above 5 mph. Had to be the brakes, I thought. with 61K miles on the vehicle and the brakes never being addressed, it was high time anyway.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/5212989902/” title=”Tacoma on Jacks, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5125/5212989902_5f218c3dc9_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”160″ alt=”Tacoma on Jacks” /></a><br />n<br />nThe previous weekend, I got the truck up on jacks, removed the front wheels and took a look around. It was hard to tell if the pads were getting thin, so I did some googling around and found a really good <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7gEOMny5Dw” title=”YouTube Video about Brake Replacement”>video on utube</a> which described, no, showed how to replace the pads and rotors on my specific vehicle. Nice! And it looked easy, too!<br />n<br />nSo last week, I got everyone ready for dad being busy working on his truck in the garage. And come the weekend, I got me some serious garage time. Rotors were only $30 apiece and pads were about $50 for the set. After clearing some stuff out of the way in the garage, I pulled the front end of the truck into the garage, removed the skid plates, lifted the front end and got to work. I was pretty much done with the brake job by lunch, but while at the parts store, I figured I might as well do an oil change while I’m in there. It was about due.<br />n<br />nAs I was wrapping things up, I realized that one of the bolts that holds the skid plate on was stripped. I took a quick trip to the dealer’s parts counter to get a couple of new bolts. I then learned that it was actually the nut that’s welded onto a cross member under the vehicle that was stripped. It was getting later in the day, so I decided to finish it up the next day.<br />n<br />nSunday morning, I took a trip to the hardware store and bought the correct size tap and die, to fix a couple of stripped bolts as well as the nut. After that, everything went back together pretty smoothly.<br />n<br />n<br />nWhile I was at the dealer, I stopped by the service desk and asked them for a ballpark estimate on replacing the rotors and pads. It was about a $600 – 700 job. Wow. So with this weekend of having a good time in the garage, I also ended up saving something like $500 -600 in the process. Nice!<br />n<br />nNow I’m looking at Rita’s vehicle. Its brakes seem to be a bit low…!