Why Are My Brakes Grinding?

Here at Car Guys Auto Center, we have quite a few clients that call us to let us know that their vehicle’s brakes are grinding.  There are several reasons why this may occur, with some of those reasons being a bit more serious than others.  If your brakes are grinding, we strongly recommend you have them checked out as soon as possible.   Here are a few of the most common reasons for grinding brakes:

  1. Brake Repair - Near Fraser, MIThe brake pads on your vehicle have worn out. This is the most common reason why your brakes are grinding.  Brake pads are manufactured with a mix of brass, copper, steel, and graphite.  Over time, the pad wears down and exposes the metal backing.  Although brake pads are meant to last quite a while (25000 – 60000 miles depending on your driving style) the padding will eventually wear out.  When this happens, the metal plate under the brake pad will rub up against the brake rotor which is the cause for the loud grinding noise.  Fortunately, when the pads begin to wear out, they will first give you a heads-up with a squealing sound.  It’s at this point, we recommend you bring your car in to have your brakes checked out by an experienced auto repair shop.
  2. The brake rotors need to be replaced. Your brake calipers squeeze against the rotor to slow down your vehicle. If when braking you feel some vibration through the steering wheel and brake pedal, it’s likely your rotors have worn out or are warped. Brake rotors can be replaced but they can also be resurfaced.  Be sure to ask your licensed mechanic which is best for your specific situation.
  3. You May Have a Faulty Wheel Bearing. If a wheel bearing starts to wear out or debris has somehow found its way into the bearing, it may develop a grinding noise.  Wheel bearings are what allow your wheels to spin without overheating.  Fortunately, there are several things you could check.  First, if a wheel bearing is an issue, you may find that your tires are wearing unevenly.  Second, as you begin to slow down, you feel a vibration that many describe as driving over a rumble strip on the highway.
  4. You have Debris in Your Caliper. If while not braking, you hear a grinding or squeaking sound, it’s possible that you have some debris lodged in your brake caliper. A piece of gravel, a small stone, or even a small object may be the culprit.
  5. Your Car Hasn’t Been Driven in a While. If your vehicle has been sitting for long periods of time, especially outside in the elements, it’s possible that rust has developed or your brake fluid has gone bad. Signs that your brake fluid has gone bad include the brake pedal feeling firmer or more depressed than usual and unusual noises every time you brake.

If your vehicle’s brakes are squeaking or have already started to grind, the simplest solution is to contact your local auto repair shop to have the mechanic identify the cause.  If you live in southeast Michigan, give us a call at 586-285-4444.  We are one of the leading auto repair shops serving customers in the Fraser area. Our auto repair services are performed by highly qualified and certified mechanics.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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