I have a fairly cheap Marin Bolinas Ridge mountain bike that I'm trying to get in working order because I just bought two new wheels for it. The problem is that now that I've got the new wheels put together and ready to go, the brakes aren't working the way they were before.
They're the standard brakes that came with the bike--I believe they're aluminum linear-pull brakes, Shimano Altus levers. See several badly-lit pictures below. I've loosened and then re-tightened all the different components, and it seems that the left brake pull (left looking down from a seated position on the bike) lacks the kind of "spring action" that the right side still delivers. In other words, when the wheel is on and I press the brake lever, the left brake pad comes into contact with the wheel and then sticks, not springing back the way the other side does. I can't seem to figure out what's working on the right side that isn't working on the left. Any ideas? Should I just replace my brakes? I am trying to spend little to no money if possible. Apologies if this detail isn't enough/this question has been asked a million times before.
Also, good Bay Area bicycle mechanics who'd take a look for cheap much considered. Thanks!