Why Brother-In-Law Brake Jobs Aren’t Covered

I’ve done many brake jobs over the years for my family for one reason or another. I always tell them that the minute they pull out of my driveway, the warranty is expired. In jest of course, but also kind of seriously. While I am a trained technician, I don’t own a shop. The tools I use are my own and the parts are from the local parts store most of the time. And the parts I typically recommend are not expensive because I know they don’t have much to spend. I tell my family that if it were my car and I was in your situation, I would do this.

But when you take your car to a family member, one thing you should always ask: do you know what you’re even doing, Bro?!

A simple case that illustrates this point is from a Reddit user who is an ASE-certified tech who works at (or owns) a real shop. He had a customer bring in one of these so-called “brother-in-law brake jobs” that went awry.

We pick-up the thread here from Waffle911:

From my post on Reddit : ’08 Nissan Versa sedan. Customer’s brother-in-law recently did her brakes. Managed to twist the brake hose around before bolting the caliper back on. (This kinks the brake hose, which then traps brake fluid in the brake caliper, preventing it from releasing; this wears down the brakes very quickly.) Never seen the ejected brake pad get stuck behind the wheel before, it’s always long gone by the time the car rolls in. (This is caused by the pad getting worn so thin it slips out between the caliper and brake rotor. The ticking noise mentioned was the loose brake pad rapping against the holes in the wheel. The grinding is the bare caliper clamping against the rotor without a pad in between.) Ended up doing CPR – Calipers, Pads, Rotors, and next we’re doing hoses because apparently those were ruined, too. Don’t let the calipers drop or hang from the hoses when doing a brake job, folks! https://www.reddit.com/r/Justrolledintotheshop/comments/enhnd9/cs_brakes_make_grinding_noise_also_there_is_a/

What was that ticking sound? It was your destroyed brake pad smacking against the inside of the wheel! But the story gets better. Turns out the customer drove the car to the shop like this and was on expired tags. Waffle911 says there is nothing a shop can legally do to stop someone from picking up their vehicle.

Oh, and by the way, besides the obvious damage to the brake pads, the caliper looked like it was hung from the brake hose, which created a kink in the line and therefore locked the caliper on long enough to cause this wear and spit out the pad.

Now, you’d think that a vehicle owner would notice something didn’t feel (or smell) right? But you would be wrong. It took for the pad to make noise to get this owner to bring in her 2008 Nissan Versa because the brother-in-law doesn’t cover the damage.

H/T: Reddit/Waffle911