Can I blame my husband for this?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband and I have a 1980 Audi 4000 which we like very much. Last year, my husband replaced a set of front wheel brake pads. Now, when you brake the car, you hear a "clunk" from the region of the front end where my husband did the work. Also, you can hear something rattling up there when driving on rough surfaces. You can stop the rattle by applying the brakes lightly. I'm worried that my husband made a mistake that may affect the car's braking ability, even though he pooh-poohs that notion. He's looked over the brakes and can't find anything he did wrong. What do you think?

TOM: I think you're angry at your husband for something else. He obviously did something that annoyed you, and you're hoping that we'll give you ammunition by blaming him for this horrible rattle. You're fantasizing about cutting out this column and leaving it next to his cereal bowl tomorrow morning, aren't you?

RAY: Well, you've come to the right place, Karen! That deadbeat husband of yours probably forgot to attach the "anti-rattle" clips when he put the pads back in. Each pair of pads has two little clips that keep the pads from moving around. The clips don't affect the car's braking ability, but they do prevent the pads from sliding back and forth and making noise.

TOM: To be fair to your husband, the clips are very small and quite easy to lose when you're changing the pads (we lose them all the time). Have him look at the brake pads on the other side. Unless he changed those too, he should be able to see where the clips go. Then have a heart to heart with him and tell him what's really bothering you.

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