Automobiles are fun things. When they work.
This past week, I had a component failure on my Jeep. The failure was a leak in the brake-fluid. The vehicle ran fine, stopping it safely was a problem.
In scheduling terms, it was the best week of the year for this to happen in. The days were mostly-free, and I had rides from family to various Christmas-celebratory events.
In weather terms, it was the worst week of the year to need auto repair. It would be cold, with predictions of snow.
Also, I wasn't sure I had the appropriate tools.
The problem was localized (with a little inspection) to a leak inside one of the rear brake calipers. The dark splash of brake-fluid showed where the leak had happened.
With some help (from a family member, more experienced than I with brake-repair) I began the task. We did some research, and consulted a reference book. Then we began disassembly.
Several hours later, we found what appeared to be the source of the problem.
To explain: drum brakes have an auto-adjust mechanism, and this mechanism had gotten stuck so it would not adjust. Every time the brakes were used, this caused the brake cylinder to extend further out. Eventually, the cylinder extended too far and leaked fluid.
The repair took more hours than I liked, mostly because the leak had left a thick coating of dirt and brake fluid on every component in the system. Some components had to be re-used, others had to be replaced. This process took some time.
Finally, the brakes were re-assembled, the brake-fluid replenished, and air-bubbled bled out of the system. After the wheel was on the rim, a test-ride was done. Not only did the Jeep run, the brakes were able to stop it.
That made for a good ending to the day.