Wednesday, April 4

Alero Check-Up

I'm driving around in a 2004 Alero. It's a fairly nice car but not as sporty as my last car. It wasn't new when I purchased it and I've never actually owned a brand new car. I just have never needed the latest and greatest bad enough to pay the extra bucks.

Sample image, not my car!Anyway, I've noticed a lot of noise out of the brakes just recently. Especially after a day or two of not driving. I wouldn't usually worry, but it feels and sounds like there is some grinding going on. At the same time, I got a letter from the local garage telling me to come on in for a free brake inspection or checkup.

Free? Ok. They had done a little brake work for me not too long ago, so I guess they were proactively looking for more. Anyway, on my mind is what happens to the cost of repairs if you put them off too long. Also on my mind was the fact I didn't have a lot of discretionary money because I'm socking it away for the annual fishing trip vacation.

So, figuring that I can't let the brakes wear down to the point that the pads are gone and I'm damaging the rotors or drums, a big expense, I'll go in now. Although the grinding sound had me worried, you just never know, maybe I was already there.

Okay, okay, enough lead in, I'll tell you what happened. Nothing. Not a damned thing. The brakes are fine. So, while I am noticing the noise more than I used to, the brakes are in perfect condition. Excellent!

Anyway, while I'm thinking about my car, I should also note that one of these days I'm going to get the courage to go to one of those places for online auto insurance quotes. Honestly, the details required on the form usually scare me off. I've seen these things advertised on TV, and it makes sense that not having a local office might make them cheaper, but along with filling out an online form, I also have worries about service in the event that something happens.

Does anyone have experience with this type of service? Did you save money? Have you had a reason to make a claim after switching? How was the service during the claim event and what happened to your rates after that? Okay, so maybe I'm still too chicken to give it a try.

Frugal Guy said...
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Mary W. said...

Hey. I used to use Progressive and they were considerably cheaper than what I had previously. The premiums were smaller, they let you pay monthly with automatic payments, and you could do everything online (after filling out a lenthy form, of course). When I had a claim from an at-fault accident, I (and the person I had hit) had a check in my hand in about 2 days. They were not stingy with what needed repaired. The only drawback might be that, if you are a brand-name guy, you don't get paid to buy new brand-name (factory) parts. They use cheaper parts, but new parts, to estimate your loss. All in all, I thought they were great and only switched to a local company (with an office) because they had a humongous discount for multi-policy owners (I insure a home and two vehicles). Saved a ton that way!

Frugal Guy said...

Mary, thanks for the review. Maybe it will help me get over my fear of the unknown and give it a look.