A Brake Job by Any Other Name Just Ain't the Same

Nov 24, 2008

RAY: This is from my mistaken identity series and it was sent in by a fellow named Dick Boland. He writes:

The front brakes on my old pickup truck started grinding on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. I delayed my long-laid plans so I could take Saturday to do the brake job.

I got up Saturday morning and took a leisurely stroll to the parts store a couple of blocks away from my house. I told them in English, which was the same language they spoke at the store, the year, make, model and engine size of my truck and that it was a 4-wheel-drive. I had them fetch me brake pads, new rotors and a caliper hardware kit.

I got home and jacked up the front of the truck and put it on stands, had a late lunch, watched a DVD, and then removed the wheels and the calipers. Aha! The old inner pad on one side was the grinding culprit and completely shot. So I knew what was going on.

I opened up and laid out all of my new parts and discovered that not one single new part matched any of the old parts. By this time, of course, the parts store had closed early for the holiday weekend and my truck was jacked up in front of my car in the driveway. So I was effectively under house arrest for the remainder of the holiday weekend.

The cause of the whole debacle boiled down to a single syllable. Here's the question. What is the make of my truck and what is the last digit of the model year?

RAY: Here's the answer. When I ordered the parts I said to the parts clerk - 'I'd like these following parts, and I have a 1990 Ford F150 V8 four-wheel drive.'

What he heard was, "I have a 1994 F150 V8 four-wheel drive.' So he gave me parts for a '94 when I wanted parts for a 1990.

TOM: Indeed.

RAY: And the Ford is what sounded like a four and screwed up the whole thing. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Deborah Ferraro from Iowa City, Iowa, and for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Deborah gets a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which she can get a copy of our latest book called, Ask Click and Clack.

RAY: Congratulations, Deborah!

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