About that grinding sound you’ve recently noticed when you step on the brakes? You may be tempted just to ignore it till you’re getting ready for your next safety inspection, but please don’t. That grinding noise is a warning sign of brake trouble. Left alone, the problem will only worsen, endangering your car and – even worse – your life.
Find out 8 possible causes for a grinding noise when braking.
1. Bad Wheel Bearing
A grinding noise that seems to come from one of the tires, possibly accompanied by shaking sensations of varying intensity, is likely caused by a bad wheel bearing. Fortunately, a simple bearing replacement won’t cost you an arm and a leg (and no, you don’t have to get all the bearings replaced at once).
2. Something Stuck In Caliper
If you hear a constant grinding noise (which sometimes is more of a screeching) while driving your car, stop and check the caliper. You might have some type of object — such as a pebble or twig – stuck in there. Removing it is the first step, but don’t stop there. Take your vehicle into a repair shop to make sure the brakes have not been seriously damaged.
3. Worn Out Rotor Discs
Worn out rotor discs can produce a whole symphony of sounds and sensations. Scraping sounds are a signal of general wear and tear, while squeaking noises usually indicate a bent disc. Alternatively, you may not hear anything definite, but rather feel vibrations coming up from the brake pedal. To quiet things down, replace rotor discs about every 32,000 kilometres.
4. Bad Quality Brake Pads
Don’t cheap out when you buy brake pads. Sure, high-quality brands are a bit more expensive, but they are so worth it. You see, cheapo brake pads not only slow down your car’s reaction time when you step on the brakes, but they may also even contain chunks of metal… which are very bad news for your rotor.
5.Old Brake Pads
When you let your brake pads get too old, the coating will wear off the backing pad. As a result, the bare metal of the caliper and rotor rubbing together causes a loud grinding noise which starts as soon as you apply your car’s brakes. Don’t wait till this happens; change your brake pads every 48,000 to 56,000 kilometres.
6. Idle Vehicle
Your car needs to be driven regularly to keep it in good shape. Otherwise, rust will tend to build up on the caliper and rotor. If you won’t be using it for more than a week or two (while on vacation, for instance ), consider finding a trustworthy “car sitter” to take your vehicle out for short drives.
7. Brakes Aren’t Oiled
Your brakes work hard and need some occasional TLC, in the form of lubrication. Neglect this bit of maintenance for too long and your calipers will start to complain. The best solution at this point will probably be to have them replaced.
8. Damaged Shims
While shims are only tiny parts, they are responsible for a large percentage of grinding noises from your braking system. These plastic or metal pieces act as a sort of buffer between your brake pads and your rotors. When they become damaged, you’ll start to hear your brakes grinding. Best practice: Ask your mechanic to change the shims every time you have a tune-up or repair.
Bemac Will Make Sure Your Brakes Are Safe
Your car is only as safe as your brakes. If you’re experiencing any of these issues in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, contact our team of experienced technicians ASAP. We’ll check your brakes, repair all problems, and get you back out on the road safely and quietly.