Not only is summer starting, along with all the scheduling problems that involves, but Silent E has been acting up, too. For the past few weeks the driver's front wheel bearing has been squeaking. It sounds like I'm powering the car with guinea pigs.

Last weekend I took it down to Goodyear to have the bearing replaced. I decided to try a new place because the mechanic at the mom-and-pop place I usually like ignored all my advice, driving faster than I've ever been and forgetting to plug it in afterwards.

At Goodyear they looked me right in the eyes, listened to everything I said, and wrote it down for later reference. If only the repair itself could have gone so smoothly.

When they took the hub off, the bearing fell right out. Normally I'd have done all the repairs myself, but this bearing needs to be press-fitted.

English translation for the non-mechanical: it's a bugger to get on and off. You need a special tool called a "hydraulic press".

Simpler translation for those whose signs haven't arrived yet: it shouldn't have fallen off. That's BAD.

The entire spindle was shot. They replaced it, but getting the parts took two days.

Wednesday morning, they couldn't get the car off the lift: it wouldn't move. This is pretty much my second-worst nightmare. I tried to make the car easy to drive, just like any other car. But when stuff goes wrong, you need someone who understands what's under the hood. That's me.

The problem turned out to be the inertia switch. Mike, the mechanic, was rather chagrined. He recommended I should reinstall it facing up to help prevent nuisance trips.

This did give me the opportunity to talk with him a bit, though. He was going to do an alignment for me, and I asked him to align everything as close to 0 degrees as possible for better rolling. He agreed, saying it would be no problem. He also opined that the always-on brake light was due to the proportioning valve. I'll have to look into that.

When I came back an hour later, everything was ready. Mike told me that the rear wheels had been aligned to 60, which was terrible. (I assume that's 0.60 degrees.) It was like dragging the tires along behind the car. He claimed the new alignment was like driving a totally different car.

Everybody in the shop had been impressed by the car. They didn't act superior about the range, and they actually thought it had "nice" pickup. They had followed all my instructions. Next time I need a mechanic's help, I'm going to the Goodyear.

As I drove it to work, I had to agree with Mike: totally different car. It coasted like a dream. It was nice to be rid of the squeaking, too, but I was delighted with my fully-charged, glide-enhanced EV. I wound up using my brakes more than usual.

I tested its energy consumption on the way home. It looks like I'm below 300Wh/mile! That's pretty good for a wagon. I'll have to test a few more times to be sure.