Hearing a grinding noise while braking?

If you’ve noticed grinding noises from your vehicle when braking, take action to have the brakes repaired immediately. Doing so could damage your rotors and lead to further issues down the line.

A common reason why vehicles experience grinding noises when braking is worn-out brake pads. This occurs when the friction material on the pad wears down to nothing and no longer provides friction.


Worn Brake Pads

If your brake pads have become so worn down that they start grinding against your rotors, it is time to replace them immediately. Doing so could cause major damage to the rotors and calipers, making stopping difficult or impossible in some cases.

Brake pads that are too thin can fail to transfer hydraulic fluid quickly to the calipers, leading to decreased stopping power as they take longer to apply pressure to rotors. As a result, your car must use less force in order to slow down.

Front brake pads typically wear out faster than rear ones, though this rate can vary based on the surface you drive on, how hard you brake, and other factors.

Furthermore, rotors can become warped and uneven over time. This will cause brake pads to make less than smooth contact with the rotors, leading to a grinding noise when you step on the brake pedal.

If you hear grinding after having your pads replaced, it could be due to dirt and debris getting caught between your rotors and new pads. Typically, this will go away as you drive; however, if it persists and your brakes aren’t working properly, consult with a local mechanic about cleaning or replacing them.


Your brake system is an intricate web of parts that are interdependent. If one part is damaged, the rest of the system could also suffer.


Some vehicles have indicator lights that will alert you when there is an issue with your brakes. Usually, these will appear as either a circle with six dashes around it or simply state “brakes,” serving as an alert that something may be amiss.

Brake fade is a problem that can arise when you repeatedly apply the brakes without coming to a complete stop. This causes the brake pads and rotors of your car’s brake system to heat up, creating discomfort for passengers as well as increasing wear on its components. If left unchecked, this heat could potentially lead to premature brake replacement prematurely.


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Rust or Corrosion

Rust or corrosion on your brake rotors can cause grinding noises when you press the pedal to the floor. These noises occur due to rust or corrosion eating away at your rotor’s surface.

When driving, your brake rotors are exposed to elements like dust and moisture which can lead to rust or corrosion. Fortunately, there is a way of avoiding this from occurring.

Before anything else, it’s important to understand what rust is and why it occurs. Brake rotors and other metal parts of your car are typically constructed from cast iron or steel – both of which can corrode when exposed to water and environmental elements.

Rust is caused by water molecules seeping into microscopic cracks and pits in metal, where hydrogen atoms combine with metallic atoms to form acids, while oxygen atoms attach themselves to those same metal molecules to form hydroxides and oxides that attack iron or steel over time.

This process leaves your metal with a porous structure and weakens it, making it less efficient as a brake. Furthermore, excessive friction between the rotor and brake pads causes wear and tear on either steel or cast iron surfaces.

Thankfully, light surface rust on brake rotors is relatively simple to remove and keeps your rotors looking like new again. Depending on how thick they are, it may only take a few applications of brake pads to completely eradicate surface rust.

If your brake rotors are heavily rusted, however, you might need to have them resurfaced at a shop. A resurfaced rotor has a more polished and refined surface than its original rusted counterpart and this will provide your brake pads with a better grip on metal.

Even after your brake rotors have been resurfaced, they may still have slight rust in places where the surface is not perfectly flat. This could result in a grinding sound when pressing on the brakes if your vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time and moisture has built up overnight.



Foreign Objects

If you are hearing a grinding noise when braking, it could be an indication of the need for a brake inspection. This noise is typically caused by friction between a brake rotor and pads rubbing against each other, and if not addressed promptly,  can lead to significant damage to your braking system.

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to fix this problem yourself before seeking professional assistance. However, if you feel unqualified to work on your car or don’t know what to do, it’s always better to let a trained professional take a look at the situation for you.

A common reason you might hear a grinding sound when braking is if something has become stuck between your caliper and rotor, such as gravel, rock, or even something large like a washer or screw.

You may be able to remove this object yourself if you act quickly enough, but it’s also wise to call a mechanic for additional checks on the caliper and rotors. Doing so prevents further damage to these components and could save you from an expensive repair job in the future.

Another potential explanation for a grinding noise could be an inadequate supply of lubrication in your braking system. This is particularly relevant if you have drum brakes since their shoes and drum mount to a backing plate that requires extra grease for smooth operation.

Brake calipers and rotors are constantly exposed to dirt and grime that can collect on them. It’s normal for these parts to become dirty over time, but if you hear a grinding noise when your car is moving or parked, it could be an indication that something has come loose from its attachment point. In such cases, having the foreign object removed and your brake caliper inspected might be beneficial.

Other things that could be causing this grinding sound include a glazed rotor or drum. This is often due to wear and tear on these components, leading to a rough or glazed finish and creating noise when brakes are applied. Replacing either of these will likely solve the issue permanently.


brake caliper same day brake service

Brake Hardware

If you hear a grinding sound when you brake, your car could have an issue with its rotors. This is often indicative of brake pads scraping metal contact points and could necessitate a trip to the repair shop for assistance.

Brake rotors are large discs located inside the wheel and designed to slow or stop your vehicle. Made from high-quality material, they’re built to withstand intense braking pressure, making regular maintenance essential for safe driving.


A rotor with rust or deep grooves on its surface may produce a grinding noise and scratch against brake pad tabs or metal backing plates beneath them.


This can be caused by a variety of things but usually indicates that the rotor is warped or damaged. In extreme cases, it may even be completely worn away – necessitating replacement.

At the first sign of grinding noises, it’s wise to inspect for these potential issues. While replacing a rusty and scraping rotor may be costly, doing so ensures your safety and helps avoid injury or property damage.

Modern vehicles are equipped with brake pad wear sensors that detect when a pad is worn and alert you to the need for replacement. In some cases, these warnings may include a lamp on the dashboard or other indicator to remind you to get your brakes checked.

Another way rotors can be damaged is if there isn’t any lubrication on the backing plate holding caliper and brake shoes in place. A properly lubricated backing plate allows your shoes to slide easily, which in turn reduces noise from your brakes.

Furthermore, replacing brake pads when they become worn out is essential. Shims are small pieces that provide insulation against vibration and heat transference, helping to muffle the sound of a grinding rotor.

Anti-rattle clips, which prevent the brake pad from scraping against the caliper bracket, are essential for quiet braking. These come standard in many disc-brake hardware kits and help to keep the pad from rattling or squeaking against its bracket. Furthermore, anti-rattle clips may improve fuel economy by reducing brake drag.