7 Causes of Grinding Noise & Vibration when Braking


Hydraulics are still used to provide functionality to the brakes of vehicles. Each wheel of a vehicle is going to have individual brakes built into them. The brakes basically consist of a brake pad which creates friction against a disc brake in order to slow down the vehicle. All these braking functions are controlled through a hydraulic system. This is how stepping on the brake pedal will cause the wheels to slow down or stop spinning.

Since most of the vehicle’s weight is pushed toward the front of the vehicle, it is the front wheel brakes that will endure the most wear and tear. They are under more pressure to slow down the vehicle after you step on the brake pedal. For this reason, disc brakes are used for the front wheels and drum brakes are used for the back wheels.

The Top 7 Causes

When you normally step on the brake pedal, it should feel nice and smooth as the vehicle slows down. But if you experience vibrations or hear strange grinding noises as you are stepping on the pedal, then something must be wrong in your braking system. Below are the top 7 possible causes of vibrations and grinding noises as you step on the brake pedal.

Dry Caliper Bolts – The caliper bolts have slides which need to be lubricated at all times. Otherwise, if they are dry, there will be grinding sounds coming from them. It is not too common for you to develop this problem, but it can happen on occasion. People who are driving older cars might have a bigger chance of having dry caliper bolts. If so, just get them replaced at your local auto shop. It won’t be too expensive.

Worn Brake Discs – Healthy brake discs will be flat and won’t cause any noises during the braking process. However, brake discs tend to become worn out as you continue to use them over the years. They will eventually become uneven instead of flat, resulting in loud squeaking sounds to be heard each time you step on the brake pedal.

Damaged Brake Pads – The most common cause of vibrations and noises from the braking system is damaged brake pads. As you continue to use your brake pads for years, the backing plate on each pad will begin to diminish. If the plate disappears completely, there will just be metal left. Once this metal makes contact with the metal of the brake disc, it will create a lot of annoying sounds and friction.

Bad Shims – Brake shims are designed specifically for preventing noises to occur between the brake discs and brake pads. These shims are merely rubber layers which go between the two components. The material can easily diminish as time goes on. As a result, they won’t be able to prevent brake noises as much anymore.

Rust or Corrosion – With all these metal pieces in your braking system, you need to keep them moving on a regular basis. If you just let your car sit in a garage for weeks or months at a time, you can expect these metal components to form rust and/or corrosion. Once that happens, you will experience all sorts of strange noises coming from your brakes until you either clean these components or replace them, depending on the severity of the rust or corrosion.

Brake Debris – There could be foreign debris stuck inside your braking system that is causing those noises. Perhaps a small rock flew into the caliper area and got stuck there. If you have any hard debris like this in between the caliper and the disc brake, then you will certainly have these noises occur.

Read also: 5 Types of Constant-Velocity (CV) Joints

Bad Wheel Bearing – A bad wheel bearing could create inconsistent noises from your braking system. Sometimes they will be loud while other times they will be soft and quiet. Do not leave this to chance. Replace your bad wheel bearing right away.


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