Car Brake Grinding Noise: Causes And Solutions

Do you want to know if the car brake grinding noise is normal or not? Have you ever wondered what causes this noise and how to fix it?

One of the most important safety systems in your car is the brakes. If you start hearing a brake grinding noise, it’s important to take notice and understand what might be causing the problem. Not only is brake grinding incredibly dangerous, but it can also cause extensive damage to your car if left unchecked.

There are several different reasons why your brakes might start making a grinding noise. 

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of car brake grinding noise and what you can do to fix the problem.

Different Types Of Brakes

Car brake

Before diving into the different causes of brake grinding noise, it’s important to understand the different types of brakes available on today’s cars. The two most common types of brakes are disc brakes and drum brakes.

Disc brakes are the most commonly used type of brake on modern cars. They work by using a caliper to squeeze a brake pad against a spinning disc (or rotor). The friction between the pad and the rotor slows down the wheel and eventually brings the car to a stop.

Drum brakes are typically only found on older cars. They work similarly to disc brakes, but instead of a caliper squeezing a brake pad against a rotor, the brake pad is forced against the inside of a metal drum.

Disc brakes are generally more effective and longer lasting than drum brakes. However, both types of brakes can experience issues that may cause a grinding noise.

Common Causes Of Car Brake Grinding Noise

There are several different reasons why your brakes may start making a grinding noise. Here are some of the most common causes:

?Worn Brake Pads

One of the most common reasons for brake grinding noise is worn-out brake pads. Most brake pads combine graphite, copper, steel, and brass. Over time, the brake pad will shrink, and the metal backing will become visible.

Brake pads have a rather lengthy lifespan, but the padding will wear down if you haven’t changed them in 25,000 to 60,000 kilometers. When this occurs, the metal backing plate beneath the pads rubs on the brake rotor, causing a loud grinding noise.

However, your brake pads will frequently screech before they begin to grind. This screeching is a symptom that your brake pads need to be replaced and is known as “brake scrubbing.” Eventually, the squeaking will turn into grinding if they aren’t replaced.

Remember that your brakes may generate a screaming noise as the brake shoes wear down. Squealing is typical; however, it is also associated with brake dust buildup. If your brakes are screeching but still operating properly, dirt or metal particles are probably on your brake pads.

Brake calipers can also scrape the metal surface of the rotor disc. This can occur if the caliper’s mounting bolts and shims are worn, damaged, or missing. When a brake caliper is not securely fastened to its mounting bracket, it can grind against the rotor disc.

Additionally, a grinding noise can be produced by the brakes if there is no brake caliper lubrication or shims between the backing plate of the brake pads and the piston of the caliper.

Get your brake pads replaced by an expert. Depending on your car type, you should anticipate paying anywhere from $350 to $600 for each axle.

?Warped brake rotors

The brake rotor is a metal disc that sits behind the wheel and is responsible for stopping the car when the brakes are applied. Over time, the brake rotors can become warped or damaged. This can happen due to extended periods of heavy braking, driving on rough roads, or brake fluid leaks.

When the rotors become warped, they no longer sit flat against the brake pads. As a result, the pads and rotors will make contact unevenly, causing a grinding noise. Warped rotors can also cause a braking vibration, making it difficult to control the car. If you suspect that your rotors are warped, it’s important to have them checked by a professional. 

In most cases, warped rotors can be repaired or replaced. However, if they are not addressed promptly, they can cause serious damage to your braking system.

?Buildup of brake dust

Brake dust combines metal shavings, brake pad material, and road debris. When the brakes are applied, the pads squeeze against the rotors and create friction. This friction produces a small amount of brake dust that is released into the air.

Over time, this brake dust can build up on the pads and rotors, causing a grinding noise. Additionally, the buildup of brake dust can cause the brakes to feel less responsive and can reduce their effectiveness. 

In order to prevent this issue, it’s important to regularly clean your brakes with a brake cleaner. This will help remove any accumulated brake dust on the pads and rotors.

?Faulty calipers

Brake calipers are located on either side of the rotor and are responsible for holding the brake pads in place. When you apply the brakes, the calipers push the pads against the rotors, causing friction.

This stops the wheel from rotating and brings the car to a halt. If the calipers become damaged or faulty, they may not squeeze the pads evenly. As a result, the pads and rotors will make contact unevenly, causing a grinding noise.

Luckily, you can take some simple steps to fix faulty calipers:

  1. Check the caliper piston for any leaks. If there are any, replace the seal.
  2. Check the caliper slides for any debris or damage. If there is any, clean or replace them as necessary.
  3. Check the caliper bolts and make sure they are tight.

With these simple steps, you can quickly and easily fix Faulty calipers and eliminate that annoying grinding noise.

?You brake hard too infrequently

Another typical issue is that you are not using your brakes to their full capability. This will cause rust on them and make them unable to move freely, causing them to begin grinding and screeching noises.

Try braking at higher speeds now and then to warm them up a little. This keeps your brakes in good repair for longer and means fewer trips to the mechanic.

?Your brake fluid is low

If your brake fluid runs low, it can cause many braking problems, including a grinding noise. Furthermore, if your brake pedal feels spongy, this is a sign that your brake fluid needs to be changed.

You should also check for leaks in your brake lines. If you find any, take your car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem and fill up your brake fluid.

?A broken gear system

A defective gear system would most likely cause your car to make a grinding noise. For example, you may hear grinding noise when accelerating or changing gears.

A defective gear system affects not only the smooth shifting of your gears but also the overall performance of your vehicle. Moreover, a grinding noise is likely if your gear system, car engine, and wheels are out of rhythm.

When you shift into reverse or first gear, you often notice the same grinding sounds when you step on the accelerator.

So, if you don’t address this issue immediately, it will eventually ruin your transmission.

When you hear the first grinding noise, take your vehicle to your nearest technician. If you do not resolve this issue as soon as possible, it may affect various sections of your vehicle.

When you realize a problem with your transmission, it’s too late to fix it. You’ll have to replace the complete transmission, which will be very expensive.

No matter how eager or self-sufficient you are, do not attempt to repair a broken gear system. Transmissions are complicated for average automobile owners, and only experienced professionals are well-equipped to repair them.

?A faulty wheel bearing

Wheel bearings help the wheels on your car rotate freely. Over time, however, they can become damaged or worn out. When this happens, they will begin to make a grinding noise.

If you suspect that your wheel bearings are the problem, there are a few things you can do to check. 

First, see if the noise changes when you turn the steering wheel. If it does, then it’s likely that the problem is with the wheel bearings. 

Another way to check is to jack up the car and try to wiggle the wheel. If there is any play in the wheel, the bearings are likely damaged and need to be replaced.

Replacing wheel bearings is fairly straightforward, but it’s best to leave it to a professional if you’re not confident in your abilities.

?Broken Shims

Shims are small metal pieces that help to keep your brakes in place and prevent them from moving around. They act as a buffer, preventing the two surfaces from directly contacting each other. 

However, shims can become worn down or damaged, which can cause the brake pad to rub against the caliper. This will often result in a grinding noise and reduced braking performance. In some cases, broken shims can also lead to brake fade when the brakes become less effective at slowing down the vehicle.

If you suspect that your shims are the problem, then you’ll need to take the car to a mechanic so they can inspect it and replace the shims if necessary.

Tips To Maintain Your Brakes

Car brake

Maintaining your car’s brakes combines good driving practices and frequent maintenance visits. Here are some tips to help you keep your brakes in good condition:

Avoid Sudden Stops

One of the best ways to avoid brake problems is to make sudden stops. If you can see that traffic is slowing down ahead of you, then take your foot off the accelerator and coast to a stop. This will help preserve your brakes and prevent them from wearing them prematurely.

Don’t Ride the Brakes

Riding the brakes is another bad habit that can lead to premature brake wear. If you constantly press down on the brake pedal, you’re probably riding the brakes. This is especially common when driving downhill. Instead of riding the brakes, use a lower gear to help control your speed.

Watch Your Speed

Speeding is not only dangerous, but it can also lead to brake problems. The faster you’re going, the harder you have to press on the brakes to stop. This can cause the brake pads to wear down faster. It’s also worth noting that high speeds make it harder to stop in an emergency situation.

Don’t Ignore Warning Signs

If you hear strange noises from your brakes, or if the brake pedal starts to feel soft or spongy, it’s time to take your car in for a brake check. Ignoring these warning signs can lead to serious problems down the road.

Limit Heavy Loads

If you’re planning on carrying a heavy load in your car, it’s best to avoid using too many brakes. This can cause the brakes to overheat and fail. If you must use the brakes frequently, then take breaks often to allow the brakes to cool down.

Keep Your Car in Good Condition

In general, it’s important to keep your car in good condition. This includes regularly checking the brake fluid level and ensuring there are no leaks. You should also have the brakes inspected during every routine maintenance visit. By catching problems early, you can often avoid more serious and expensive repairs down the road.

Brake Maintenance 3 Most Important Elements

Vehicle upkeep is essential. If you neglect your home, the paint will flake, mold will sprout, and vermin will move in. If you ignore your yard, weeds will take over faster than you may imagine. It won’t last as long if you don’t take care of your car. 

Every automobile necessitates upkeep. That is why the manufacturer issues a service schedule to notify drivers about normal maintenance items.

However, many drivers put off car maintenance. They don’t have the time, or the cost is prohibitively expensive. Other individuals take their car to the auto mechanic at the first sign of trouble, even if it is something small.

Many people don’t know that there are three primary maintenance tasks you can perform to keep your car running well. These have nothing to do with changing the oil, rotating the tires, or checking the fluids. These maintenance items will save you time and money in the long run.

1. Brake Fluid Flush

Most carmakers recommend a brake fluid flush every two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. You can get this service done at the dealership or any reputable auto repair shop.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water. Water in the brake fluid can cause corrosion and reduce the fluid’s boiling point. When the brake fluid’s boiling point is lowered, it can cause vapor lock in the brake lines, leading to brake failure.

To flush the brake fluid, all of the old fluid is removed from the system and replaced with new fluid. This helps to prevent corrosion and maintain the proper boiling point.

2. Brake Pad Replacement

Brake pad replacement is one of the most frequently performed brake repair tasks. Similarly to how a person in a wheelchair could grab the wheels to stop, the sacrificial friction material (often organic, semi-metallic, or ceramic) included within your brake pads grabs hold of the braking rotor. 

The heat produced by friction directly results from the transformation of the moving car’s kinetic energy into thermal energy. Brake pads wear down over time due to friction material wearing down.

Sadly, many drivers ignore the dashboard indicator, high-pitched screech, increased stopping distances, or a low brake pedal as signals that their pads need to be replaced. Brake pad wear may be indicated even by low brake fluid. 

In the event that these warnings are disregarded, the vehicle will continue to make grinding noises and will not come to a complete stop. By then, what was once a very inexpensive servicing had resulted in a substantial repair expense owing to broken rotors and other brake system components – or a crash.

3. Brake System Service

Checking and, if necessary, bleeding the brakes is a vital part of keeping your car’s braking system in good condition. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with water, dirt, and other debris. This can cause corrosion and reduce the boiling point of the fluid. 

When the brake fluid’s boiling point is lowered, it can cause vapor lock in the brake lines, leading to brake failure.

A technician will use a pressure gauge to check the fluid level in the master cylinder to check the brakes. If the level is low, they will add more fluid. 

Next, they will check the condition of the brake pads and shoes. If the pads or shoes are worn, they will replace them. Finally, the technician will test the brakes to ensure they work properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the consequences of ignoring brake maintenance?

A: The consequences of ignoring brake maintenance can be serious. They can wear down and break if you don’t maintain your brakes. This can lead to expensive repairs or, worst case, a crash.

Q: How often should I have my brakes checked?

A: Most carmakers recommend a brake check every two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, if you notice any signs that your brakes need to be checked, such as a dashboard indicator light, increased stopping distances, or a low brake pedal, you should have them checked as soon as possible.

Q: How much does it cost to maintain my brakes?

A: The cost of maintaining your brakes will vary depending on your car type and the problem’s severity. However, generally, you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a brake check.

Q: Does brake noise mean my brakes need to be replaced?

A: Not necessarily. Brake noise can be caused by several factors, such as worn-out brake pads, contaminated brake fluid, or a problem with the brake caliper. However, if the noise is accompanied by increased stopping distances or a low brake pedal, it’s a good idea to have your brakes checked as soon as possible.

Q: How can grinding brakes be repaired?

A: Grinding brakes can be repaired by replacing worn-out brake pads and shoes. However, if the problem is severe, you may need to replace the rotors or other brake system components.

Q: What if the brake noise comes from the front of the car?

A: If the brake noise comes from the front of the car, the problem is likely with the front brakes. However, it’s always a good idea to check your brakes with a professional.

Q: What if my car’s brake light is on?

A: If your car’s brake light is on, it’s a good idea to have your brakes checked as soon as possible. Brake light failures can be caused by many factors, such as low brake fluid, worn-out brake pads, or a problem with the brake caliper.

Final Words

The braking system is one of a car’s most important safety features. However, some brake issues can only be detected by a trained eye. That’s why it’s important to have your brakes checked regularly by a qualified technician. If you notice any of the signs that your brakes are not working properly, don’t wait to have them checked. Doing so could save you money in the long run and help prevent a serious accident.