Updated at: 03-08-2023 - By: Lucas

Have your car’s brakes been making a grinding sound? If so, it must be giving you a lot of worry. Grinding brakes are not only annoying, but they can also cause more damage to your car if you keep ignoring this sign.

Brakes are a very stressed part of a car, so it’s not a big deal if they make a squeaking sound every now and then. Have you ever heard a race car squeak when the brakes are lightly applied? That is normal for a race car because the high performance sintered brakes have a lot of metal in them. These brakes are made to do one thing: grab the rotor disc very hard.

But the brakes on regular cars need to be quiet. It’s normal to hear squeaky noises every now and then.

This is especially noticeable when a car hasn’t been driven in a while and the brake rotors have rust on them. This rust will go away quickly after the first few times you use the brakes, so don’t worry about it.

But a grinding sound when stopping needs to be fixed right away. How to find out? Drive your car at a normal speed and use the brakes to stop (please ensure to do it in a safe environment). If the grinding keeps going on even when you put more pressure on the brakes, you need to look into it more.

What causes Brake Grinding Noise?

When brakes grind, the most likely cause is that the brake pads are worn out. That’s why it’s best to stop right away and look into the problem. If you can’t figure out what’s wrong, drive slowly to the nearest car repair shop. Still, there are other things that can cause the grinding sound. Let’s discuss all possible probabilities:

1) Used up Brake pads

Brake Grinding Noise-1

As I’ve already said, a grinding sound from the brakes usually means that the brake pads are completely worn out. On the metal backing plate is a few millimetres of material that stops the car.

When all of the material for stopping is in place, the backing plate is pushed against the rotor. As you might expect, having metal touch metal is pretty rough on rotors. You definitely don’t want the brake rotor to be scraped by bare metal.

If you keep driving like this for a long time, the brakes will stop working as well, the rotors will get damaged, and the brake callipers could also get damaged. If your brake pads are fine but you still hear a grinding sound, keep reading.

2) Foreign object stuck in the Braking System

Dust and grime are always getting on the brake rotors and callipers. But that’s nothing unusual. But sometimes a big pebble or other foreign object could get stuck in the brake system and rub against the brake rotor. You can easily fix this problem by prying out the foreign object with a screwdriver or even a pressure washer.

3) Damaged Brake Shims

Shims for brake pads are made of metal and keep the pads in the right place in the calliper. They also keep the brakes from making any noise. Sometimes, these shims can break and start to drag on the rotor. And when that happens, the brakes will be noisy.

Most people use the same shims for years and never replace them with brake pads. But shims should be checked every time brake pads are changed. If you see signs of wear, replace the shims with new ones. Don’t wait until they break and cause problems.

4) Worn out wheel bearings

When a wheel bearing wears out, it will make a grinding sound even when the brakes are not being used. But the noise can get worse when you hit the brakes. That’s because when you brake, more force is put on the bearings. Because of the same problem, you’ll also hear a grinding sound when you turn.

Other kinds of Brake Noise and why it happens?

What Causes Brake Grinding Noise-2

1) Squealing Noise due to using Racing brake Pads on public roads

Some people who like to drive want the best brake pads for the car they drive every day. This is a very good thing to do, since good brakes only make things safer. But don’t make the mistake of using brake pads that are only good for track use on public roads.

There is a lot of metal in these brake pads. On a racetrack, the brakes have to work at very high temperatures, which is when they work best. Yes, they wear out rotors faster, but that’s the price you pay for great stopping power.

The problem comes when you use them in public places. These pads will always make a squeaking sound and won’t stop well because they never get to the right temperature when driving on the street.

2) Brake pad wear indicator rubbing on rotor

Most cars have a wear indicator for the brake pads. When the wear indicator touches the rotor, a warning light flashes on the dashboard of German cars. In other cars, it’s just a piece of metal that rubs against the rotor and makes a squeaking sound.

Don’t ignore this warning message, because if you do, the brake pads will soon be completely worn down and make a grinding sound.

3) Unlubricated Caliper Guide Pins

When you put your foot on the brake, the pads move very slightly back and forth over the guide pins in the calliper. So, you should put a little bit of brake grease on the guide pins. This cuts down on the friction, making it easier for the brake pads to slide over.

Most mechanics don’t do this, and even when they do, the brakes still don’t make any noise. But a layer of high-temperature grease is a good way to stop this from happening. Besides that, the grease also makes the pins last longer.

4) Clunking or Thumping Brake Noise

This kind of noise is more likely to be caused by a problem with the suspension than by a problem with the brakes. When you hit the brakes, the car goes down, then back up. Bad struts or shocks can make a clunking sound because of this. Even cables that are held by loose brackets can be to blame.

To work on your car, you might need these tools.

You should now be able to figure out why your brakes are making noise. If you have something else to say, please leave a comment below. Look at: 6 signs of bad brake master cylinder

Is it safe to drive with grinding brakes?

No, a grinding sound from the brakes is definitely a sign that you should drive slowly and get them checked for worn brake pads. On the other hand, high-performance brake pads should make a squealing sound.

Can you keep driving with worn brake pads?

You can, but you probably shouldn’t. In addition to being dangerous, it can damage parts of the brakes like the rotors and callipers. $50 brake pad vs $500 brake parts. You decide.