7 Causes of Grinding Noise & Vibration When Braking

Every motor vehicle has a braking system, whether it’s a disc braking system or drum braking system. It is impossible to safely drive your vehicle without a braking system because you need brakes to slow down or stop your vehicle. There is hydraulics used in the braking system to manage your braking very carefully. Each time you apply foot pressure to the brake pedal, the hydraulic fluid in the system pushes other vital braking components to slow the vehicle down. If it’s a front wheel drive vehicle, then the braking pressure is applied to the front two wheels.

In normal circumstances, there should not be any strange noises heard when you apply the brakes. But if you start to hear grinding noises as you put pressure on the brake pedal, then it could mean there is something wrong within your braking system. It is even worse if you feel vibrations in the car seat while braking. These are not symptoms that you should ignore or else you may find your entire braking system malfunctioning someday soon.

7 Common Causes

To stop the grinding noises and vibrations from happening again, you need to figure out what the cause of them are. There are several possible causes of these symptoms, so you need to know which areas of the braking system to look.

Below are the top 7 causes of grinding noise & vibrations when braking. This should help you diagnose the problem faster so that you can fix it faster.

1) Poor Lubrication

Your braking components need lubrication just like most metal components in the vehicle. This goes double for your brake pads because they’re constantly rubbing against your brake rotors. Brake caliper lube needs to be lightly used on the backside of the brake pads. If you don’t lube the brake pads periodically, the caliper piston and brake pads will make grinding or squealing noises when they come together.

2) Bad Brake Pads

If your brake pads are low-quality or old, then you may find the brake pad material thinning and wearing out. Once this friction material gets to be too thin, the metal of the pad will rub against the spinning metal rotor and create all kinds of issues. Noises and vibrations will only be the beginning of the symptoms.

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3) Bad Shims

Whenever you replace your brake pads, the shims must also be replaced right along with them. If you don’t replace the brake shims at the same time, then they’ll wear down faster than the new brake pads. As a result, the brake shim may connect with the metal of the rotor if it gets bad enough. Then you’ll have those obnoxious grinding sounds forming.

4) Bad Wheel Bearings

This is not a common cause of grinding noises when braking, but it could be the cause if you experience infrequent vibrations in addition to the noises. These vibrations will be felt in your steering wheel more than anywhere else. If these signs are present, then you have bad wheel bearings.

5) Bad Rotors

Brake rotors can wear out and go bad just like brake pads. If you see signs of cracks, gouges, or rust on your rotors, then this is likely why you hear grinding or scraping noises when you brake. The vibrations will be very intense too, especially when you apply the brakes quickly.

6) Inconsistent Driving

When you don’t drive your vehicle too often, corrosion and rust can form on the metal components of your braking system. Your rotors will get corroded and rusted the most. So, try not to let your vehicle sit parked in a garage or driveway for weeks on end. Even if you drive it for 5 or 10 minutes each day, that will still be enough to keep the components in good condition.

7) Brake Debris

It is possible for road debris to get stuck in any of the components of your braking system, such as the brake caliper. There could be a rock, stick, or gravel piece in the road which flies into your braking area and gets jammed in there. As a result, you’ll hear noises when you apply the brakes.

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