rusty brake rotors

Grinding Noise When Braking – Common Causes

In Brakes by Magnus Sellén1 Comment

Brakes are a critical part of a car. Without them, you cannot bring your vehicle to a stop, and this could lead to accidents.

A moving car without brakes is not only a danger for the driver and passengers, but also for pedestrians who might get in the way.

Therefore it is your duty as a car owner to keep the brakes of your car in check. The good thing about brakes is that they wear out gradually and you can feel when they are failing.

So you have enough time to go to the mechanic and have your car repaired. If your car’s brakes make a squeaking or crunching noise every time you use them, there is a good chance that your brake pads will soon run out.

Brake Grinding or Making Noise Causes

There could be many different reasons why your brakes make unpleasant noises. In this article, we will talk about some of the most common reasons that can cause this.

1. Brake Pad Failure

We have already mentioned that the main reason your brakes make a squeaking noise is that your brake pads have gone bad.

Brake pads are made of rubber, but not the kind of rubber we normally find in our everyday life. The rubber used in brake pads is of the highest quality. They do not wear out too quickly, although they are in constant contact with their biggest enemy, friction. A brake pad has a service life of about 7,000 to 10,000 miles, after which it must be replaced.

It does, of course, depend on your driving style. The more often you apply the brakes, the faster the brake pads deteriorate. But why the squeaking noise? Well, it is caused by the brake caliper coming into contact with the brake disc. When metal collides with metal, there is an unpleasant squeaking noise, and you hear this when you apply the brakes.

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2. Dust Particles Depositing on the Brakes

When cars are not used for a long time, dust falls on them, and this dust settles in the most unusual places. The brakes of your car are one of the places where the dust settles the most. This even applies to cars that are driven every day.

If you are driving an unclean car and try to brake, you will feel a squeaking sound from your brakes. This noise can disappear if you clean your car thoroughly.

3. Noise Caused by Rust/Edge on Disc

bad brake disc

Rust can form on any metallic component if water remains on them. When you wash a car, the only place that is difficult to dry is the brake system of your car. The caliper and disc of the braking system are made of metal and can succumb to rust.

As soon as this happens, the car starts making strange noises while the tires are running and when you try to brake. The use of oil can reduce the effects of rust, but there is no permanent solution except to replace your braking system.

You can often hear a grinding noise when there is a large rust edge on the sides of the brake pads on the brake disc. By removing this edge, you can often solve a grinding noise problem.

4. Cheap Brake Pads

Remember that when you have your car checked regularly, you should always have original parts fitted by your mechanic. This must be taken seriously, as inferior components can damage your car so badly that you will have to spend a fortune to restore it to its original working order.

If you have your brake pads changed, you should never install cheap brake pads, as they wear out quickly and damage the brake discs. You should always be wary of brake pads with higher metal content, as these wear out more quickly. Brake pads with more rubber content last longer and protect the brake discs.

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I recommend buying brake pads from a well-known brand. Highly recommended are brake pads from Bosch; they are often not too expensive, and very high quality. You can find them here: Bosch Brake Pads on Amazonn. Make sure to choose the right brake pads for your car.

5. Effects of Moisture

Rubber slips when it comes into contact with water or moisture. This is why your car makes a squeaking noise when you take it out for a drive after a rainy night. As soon as the moisture is rubbed off the rotors, the brakes start to respond better – thanks to friction – and the noise disappears.

Dew and snow can have the same effect on the brakes, but as we have learned, the noise disappears after a while, so there is no need to worry. However, if the noise persists, there may be another problem with the braking system.

6. Broken Brake Discs

brakes grinding noise

A brake disc is made of metal, but this does not mean that it is not susceptible to damage. The rotor can crack, melt, or be deformed by friction and other factors. If this is the case, you will inevitably hear grinding noises from the brake as you apply the brake.

This is an alarming situation as it means that your brakes are not suitable for stopping your car. Fortunately, even an inexperienced driver can easily detect cracked discs. If you see a crack or other irregularity in your brake disc, you should go directly to the mechanic and have your discs replaced. Ignoring the noise can lead to fatal accidents.


The brakes of a car must be checked regularly. However, there is no reason for concern; these checks do not have to be carried out frequently; at least, not as often as an oil change, for instance.

The brakes must be checked once every 8,000 – 10,000 miles. If any other problem occurs before this time, you can make an emergency visit to your mechanic to have it looked at. In addition, brakes are easy to repair, and the repair doesn’t cost too much unless you leave things to the last minute, in which case you can expect a hefty bill.

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It is always a good idea to know why the brakes make so much noise because this knowledge can lead you to the solution of the problem at the earliest possible moment. Remember: the more you hesitate, the more you have to pay for repairs.

If you have any questions, leave a comment down below!

1 thought on “ Grinding Noise When Braking – Common Causes ”

  1. Thanks for the obvious answers in your article. I feel there maybe other solutions, so here goes: My pads and rotors where replaced by a certified mech less than 10,000 km ago. I am now getting a cyclic scraping sound when I apply the brakes gently at slow speed. I took one rear wheel off and examined the pads, they are like new. The rotor is shiny with no visible imperfections. The caliper moves and does not appear to be binding or stuck. When moving the caliper I noticed the rotor also moves slightly. I suspect the rotor should not move and it could wobble and make the intermittent scraping noise. Is that possible?? What is the tightening spec (ft/lb) for the rotor shaft (axle) bolt?? Infiniti G35 sedan.

  2. Due to very high demand and a high amount of comments, you might have trouble getting your comment answered by me. If you want to get fast answers from a certified automotive technician you should ask your questions here: Ask A Mechanic

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