It's been my karma lately to do a couple of brake jobs for friends and loved ones who don't have the cash to take the car to the shop, and I don't mind. Normally, brake jobs are easy with disc brakes, a lot easier than the old drum brakes I worked on at my grandfather's knee. However, yesterday I saw something I thought I'd never see. My friend told me that she had a shade-tree brake job done in December, last, and that she was hearing a grinding in the back end, suspected the brakes. I drove the truck and agreed. Something wrong back there.
Got home from work, our friend brought the truck over, and I jacked it up and took off the left rear tire. My son showed up to help, a very capable school trained mechanic. Yep, brakes are shot, so I inspected the rotor as well.. Yep, it's shot too. Still, she had a full brake job eight months ago, what's up with bad brakes on the truck? I went around to the right side, jacked it up, took the tire off. Those brakes look great, nearly new. Whazzup with that? New brakes on the right, horrible bad brakes on the left? Maybe a bad caliper.
Consulted with my son, a SAE trained mechanic. First class wrench-bender. Sounds like a bad caliper to him as well. So, he's there, helping, and we go to the parts store (and my friend had her receipts from December), and we talked to the parts guy, got a new rotor, new brake pads, and a new caliper. Came back to the house, installed them. Bled the system, tested the brakes. She's good for another couple of years.
Friend called her last shade-tree mechanic, told him what we'd found, and he told her that he had only done a right-side brake job.
Whatthehell? Who does a right-side brake job and doesn't do the left? That's the damndest thing I've ever heard. My grand-daddy (and my father, for that matter) would be shaking their heads in disbelief. A right-side brake job? I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.