Put the brakes on inspection

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George and Wendy Parker's 2004 FreightlinerWe had our first Landstar 90-120-day inspection this week. It just so happened to fall right before the big Safety Push 2014, and although it ended up being expensive, I’m really glad it happened when and where it did.

George decided to have it done before we took off. The truck needed an oil change anyway, and he didn’t want to have to fool with the inspection while we were out. It’s always scary taking your baby into a shop where you don’t know anyone, and since we need to roll where the money is and not really be concerned about being home for a little while, he took it in to our hometown peeps while we were still at the farm.

In the past three years we’ve owned two different trucks. We’ve been very fortunate to have had good mechanical luck with both of them (barring the DEF issue on the Cascadia – it’s so nice not worrying about a DEF system anymore), which is a good thing because finding a mechanic for your truck is like finding a pediatrician for your child. There’s a reason we call it “our baby.”

We used a pretty big dealership/service center the first time we took a truck in for repairs and maintenance, and it ended up being kind of a nightmare. I wasn’t happy, George wasn’t happy and they weren’t happy when I publicly voiced my unhappiness. We ended up being satisfied, and I’m sure if we chose to take our truck there again they’d do a fine job for us. They were very nice people and they have a thriving business without us, so we moved on to find a better fit.

We found our place through Landstar. When we bought the Precious we had to have her initial Landstar inspection done, and this place was on the list. Again, like finding a doctor or pediatrician your insurance company accepts. So many parallels here. Anyway, they were great, she passed with flying colors and we took off and ran hard for about a hundred days. It only made sense to go back to them for the 90/120 day.

It’s a little nerve-wracking to wait on an inspection for a ten-year-old million-mile truck, even when you know it’s been cared for meticulously and in great working order. You can take exceptional care of them and still never know when a $3,000 repair bill is going to pop up. It’s the trade-off for OO’s, the constant worry of wear and tear. You worry about every bump and boogie because the “company shop” is paid out of your own pocket.

Precious ended up needing new brakes – shoes and drums. We weren’t super surprised, it was probably the only thing Randy hadn’t replaced recently before he sold her to us, and we all know running through and around Austin and Dallas on a regular basis will flat kill a set of brake pads. It was painful, but I’ll have to say her new shoes only cost about $400 more than the custom cowboy boots I want, and she has a lot more feet than I do.

We’re officially ready for the 2014 Care Bear Festival. According to a graphic I saw that Todd put up, brake violations are the number one vehicle offense, so the brake thing is super-important, for more than just obvious reasons (like stopping). We sincerely appreciate Dean and the crew at Howard Truck Repair for getting to it quick so we can roll. I’m glad the brakes are done. I won’t get custom cowboy boots for another six months, but at least I know I’ll live that long if my life depends on us stopping, which it often does. Can we go now?

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