Brakes are one of the most vital parts of a car. They ensure that your car stops when you need it to stop. So, if you encounter a problem related to brakes like grinding noise when braking, it should not be neglected at all. Ignoring such problems can have serious consequences as faulty brakes are very dangerous when you drive. Most brake problems are due to the wear of the parts because of friction, and it is a good thing that brake parts wear gradually, and we can identify the problem before it gets too worse. There are a lot of reasons for grinding sound when you apply brakes, which are given below with the solution of each cause.
#1 Worn out Brake Pads
One of the most common causes of grinding noise, when you apply brakes, is the wearing out of the brake pads. Brake pads get worn out with time due to friction, and when they wear out, metal can come in contact with metal on the rotor and cause metal grinding noise when braking.
It would be best if you replaced your brake pads when they are worn out; otherwise, they can cause serious problems.
#2 Bad Quality Brake Pads
When you are changing brake pads, do not go for the cheapest quality. It may be light on the pocket at that time, but it will cost you in the future for sure. Grinding noise is one of the common symptoms of bad quality brake pads. Their material is not good and can have metal bits in pad material, which can come in contact with the rotor metal and cause problems.
Always choose brake pads from a reputable and reliable company to avoid such problems.
#3 Worn out Shims
When you replace brake pads yourself or with the help of a mechanic, always replace the shims as well. Some mechanics skip this to save time, but it will cost you big time as shims wear out too. When they wear out, they can get de shaped and come in contact with the rotor’s metal and cause problems.
Always make sure that your mechanic replaces the shims with the brake pads.
#4 Infrequent Driving
If you change your brake pads, they can last for around 40,000 to 70,000 miles of normal driving, but if you drive infrequently, this mileage can come down a lot. If you do not drive your car for quite a long time, say a whole winter season, then the rotors can develop rust and cause uneven areas in the brake system. Issues like caliper sticking can also develop other than slight grinding noises when braking.
Make sure that your vehicle does not sit too long without getting driven. Little rust gets cleared when you drive, but if the rust develops too much, you will need to resurface the rotors.
#5 Lack of Lubrication on Brake Parts
If there is no lubrication in the braking system, then metal to metal contact can happen between the pads and the rotors, and they can make a rubbing or grinding noise when you apply brakes.
When installing brake pads, their backside should be properly lubricated using a brake caliper lube. Also, the caliper slider pins should be lubricated before installing them again.
#6 Debris Stuck in Brakes
If you hear grinding noise when braking but pads are fine, then the most common reason can be outside debris that gets stuck in the caliper. The debris can be any piece of rock or gravel. It can easily cause grinding noise or even vibration. It can also cause a misalignment in your brake pads, reduce the performance and cause uneven pad wear.
Check for such debris in the brake caliper and rotor and remove it if present as soon as possible.
#7 Worn out Brake Rotors
If your brake rotors are worn out, they will also make strange noises when you apply brakes. Warped and worn rotors also cause a lot of vibration in the braking system.
If the warp in rotors is not too much, you can get the rotors resurfaced. But if they are worn or warped too much, changing them will be the only solution.