My old Schwinn is a World from 1990. It's equipped with sidepull brakes which are marked Star.
Not too long after it was new, I was unable to get the best braking performance out of them. While they will bring the bike to a stop, my memory believes that they used to be better. I put new $10-per-pair brake pads on it, and they're ok, but not great.
While using them on a ride today, I noticed that the front brake seems to move back and forth when applying and releasing, which doesn't seem normal. However, if I were to tighten the nuts on the front of the brake assembly, it won't release properly. They've been oiled as directed. I looked for stuff like this in the manual, but there's not much there.
Is the washer that goes between the front and back halves of the brake assembly made of nylon? They may need to be replaced.
So, what can I do to improve this situation? I guess the best plan would be the cheapest, but hearing an expensive solution would be helpful as well. Getting rid of the bike is not an option. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.