Pep Boys on What Noisy Brakes May Be “Saying”

Source: Excerpted from a post

The automotive retailer Pep Boys notes that grinding noises indicate a serious problem with the braking system. According to, there are two major causes behind the grinding noise made by brakes.

If the grinding sound is audible when pressing on the brake pedal, this is likely because the rotor disc is coming into contact with part of the caliper. This typically occurs because the brake pads or rotors are extremely worn down, causing the steel backing of the worn-out pad to grind against the rotor. In such instances, Pep Boys recommends replacing the brake pads immediately.

If the grinding noise is audible while the vehicle is in motion, debris might be stuck inside the brakes. Drivers might be able to dislodge this debris by repeatedly moving their cars forward and backward in a safe place, such as a driveway. If that does not work, have the brakes serviced by a qualified mechanic.


Many drivers are familiar with the high-pitched squealing sound that comes from their vehicles or those of fellow motorists. That squeal, while certainly not music to the ears, might be a good thing. That’s because Pep Boys notes that some brake pads are equipped with small steel clips that serve as wear indicators. When brake pads have worn down, these devices produce a squealing sound to let drivers know it’s time to get new brake pads.

But squealing can be indicative of other things as well. Squealing noises are sometimes heard immediately after brake pads or rotors have been replaced. In such instances, the noise typically subsides within a day or two once the pads have been broken in.

Glazed pads also can create a squealing sound. When calipers stick, the brakes stay partially applied, producing excessive friction or heat. The heat causes the brake pads to glaze.

No one wants to hear noises coming from their brakes. However, such noises are often a car’s way of telling drivers that brakes need to be serviced.

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Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.