The Batmobile

I have been driving the Batmobile, a black 1999 Ford Ranger, since 2001. When I first got it, my dad put a batman sticker on the rear bumper, and my mother hid another one on the flip-down sun visor on the passenger side. The rear bumper sticker is gone now, so Batgirl rolls incognito.

The only vehicle I’ve ever owned, the truck has taken a few beatings in its 153,000 miles. Last week I heard a new cricket-like squeak. While I knew I needed new rear brakes, I had a feeling that wasn’t the source of the suspect noise.

I was in Boulder, Colorado, 10 hours’ drive from Foster’s, my favorite mechanic shop in Bozeman. Luckily, I found Mike Turner and Jeff Waulbaum at Canyon Automotive. Mike is a father of two, and Jeff is a racecar driver.

First, they put in new rear brakes, but that didn’t solve the squeak noise. When I drove around with Mike, the crickets disappeared while he was in the car. The guys put my truck up on the lift again and checked the U-joints, which were fine. They yanked on the e-brake cable, which did sound like a cricket. Then they jostled my front wheels around and realized the bolts attaching the right control arm were much looser than the left one.

My right tires were at 80 psi when they should have been at 40. Maybe that imbalance loosened the bolts? They also changed my oil, topped my fluids, scraped the corrosion off my battery terminals, and replaced my right headlamp bulb.

We brainstormed what else my trusty rig might need in the future: new rear drums, front rotors and brake pads, fuel filter, new tires and the fluids changed.

Thanks, guys. Time for me to go to work.


About Emily Stifler

I grew up in Vermont and live in Bozeman, Montana. I love topography: mountains, rocks, weather and people.
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