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Why Brakes Are Grinding When Driving? How To Troubleshoot It?


Why Brakes Are Grinding When Driving? How To Troubleshoot It?

Driving along casually and hearing your brakes begin to grind can be a terrifying thing. Depending on the severity of the problem, the implications can range from mildly inconvenient to potentially life-threatening. It is best to take the time to solve the problem sooner rather than later.

Your brakes are likely grinding due to worn-out brake pads. Brake pads last for 30,000 to 70,000 miles of driving, after which they wear out and will need to be replaced. Once they reach the end of their lives, they usually make a grinding sound whenever you push down on the brake.

Grinding brakes are a severe problem and should be solved as quickly as possible. If you’d like to find out what exactly causes your brakes to grind, why it’s such a big problem, and how to fix it, then keep reading

Is It Safe To Drive With Grinding Brakes?

People tend to live life on the edge when it comes to their vehicles. For many people, hearing a funny sound or seeing the check engine light turn on is just another day at the office and another thing to ignore. Doing this with your brakes is not advisable.

It is not safe to drive with grinding brakes. When brakes make a grinding sound, it means there is a problem with your braking system. As the brakes serve to stop the car when it’s in motion, not repairing them could be a potentially fatal mistake to make.

In fact, you should be thinking about fixing the brakes immediately when you hear the sound. 

If you’re less adventurous and want to do all due diligence, then park on the side of the road if your brakes start to grind and call a mechanic or tow service while you book an alternative means to get to your destination.

Deciding to repair your brake pads immediately is a smart one since, if left too long without pads, your breaks will ultimately fail. 

Read: How To Temporary Fix Grinding Brakes?

How To Fix Grinding Brakes?

Fixing your brakes should be your priority from the moment you first hear them begin to grind. Some people prefer to leave car problems, hoping that they solve themselves. However, leaving an issue unattended is risky when it comes to brakes. 

Changing your brake pads is the best way to fix grinding brakes. The severity of the change depends primarily on how bad the problem is. 

You can either replace your brake pads or overhaul the entire brake system, which could cost quite a bit.

While a problem with the brake pads is the most likely issue, it is not the only possibility. 

In most cases, you will have to take the car to a mechanic and have him take a look at your vehicle to make a positive diagnosis. However, knowing what is causing the problem will ensure that you do not get scammed into paying far more than you should.

Read: Driving With Parking Brake On: What Happens?

The Most Common Causes of Grinding Brakes

Pinpointing the problem before taking your car to the mechanic can save you from a bit of financial trouble down the line. In addition, learning more about your vehicle is always a good idea and will make you better prepared down the line.

First of all, knowing when you hear the sound is crucial in figuring out the problem. 

The braking system is likely the problem if you only hear the grinding sound when the car is in motion or when you step on the brake pedal.  

However, if you hear the sound when the car is resting, the issue might extend beyond your car’s brakes.

These are the most common reasons why your brakes have started to grind:

1. Faulty Brake Pads

If you were driving and stepped on the brakes when you first heard the grinding sound, your brakes are likely faulty. 

Usually, the grinding sound occurs because the brake pads, which should provide a barrier between the caliper and rotor disc, have worn down significantly.

The function of the brake pad is usually to apply a stopping force to the rotor, which in turn slows down and eventually stops the car

The brake pad is a rubbery material that is attached to your brakes. This material creates friction when you apply the brakes, and it goes a long way in bringing the car to a complete halt. When most of this material is gone, and you start to hear that grinding sound, most of the pads have worn away.

Worn-out brake pads are perfectly normal and to be expected. 

The coating on the pad is not made to last infinitely, which is why it is recommended that you change your brake pads every 20,000 miles (32,186.88 km) you drive to ensure that your brake system is in top condition. 

Similarly, you should also replace the brake rotors every 50,000 to 70,000 miles (80,467.2 to 112,654.08 km).

While it is expected that your brake pads will wear out over time, buying top-shelf equipment is still necessary. Cheaper brake pads will wear out faster, costing you more in the long run. So, it is usually best to stick to notable brands, even if they are more expensive. 

Read: Why Won’t My Car Shift Out Of Park?

2. Anti-Lock Braking System

If you only hear the grinding sound during very sudden stops, then your Anti-lock Braking System(ABS) may be at fault

Trying to come to a sudden stop can sometimes be challenging. Depending on how fast you were going when you applied the brakes, the wheels can sometimes lock in place, making it very difficult to control the car.

The ABS is put in the car to counteract this and ensure that the wheels keep turning, giving you more control over the vehicle in emergencies.

As a result of how the ABS works, it can sometimes cause a grinding noise when it activates. There usually isn’t much to worry about– outside of whatever situation caused it to start– if this happens.

Read: Reasons Why You Hear a Clunk when Braking

3. Debris

As your car travels over different roads, debris can sometimes get stuck beneath it. When there is significant enough build-up in the brake system, it can cause a grinding sound. 

Usually, this happens when something gets lodged between the rotor and caliper. 

When you apply the brakes and the brake pads attempt to slow down the rotor, whatever is stuck in there can push against it and cause the grinding sound. 

While this is not the worst thing in the world, it is still best to solve it as soon as possible to ensure that it doesn’t cause lasting damage.

4. Insufficient Lubrication

The absence of lubrication on the caliper bolts can emit a grinding sound when the brake pedal is applied. 

To avoid this, you simply need to lubricate them. It is best to consult a professional when lubing up your vehicle, as lubricating the wrong part of the brakes could have potentially fatal consequences

Why Getting Your Car Serviced Is Important?

Periodic service is essential not just for your brakes but for your entire car. It might seem excessive to fork out some extra cash just to look over a vehicle that seemingly has no problem, but it is imperative.

Getting your car serviced will help you detect any problem early. Catching problems early can save your life and save you a lot of money. Most issues get worse with time, so the earlier you notice them and do something about them, the easier they will be to solve.

Ideally, you should not wait until your car starts to develop faults like the grinding of the brake pads before you get it serviced. Periodic serving, while time-consuming, is recommended since it will work wonders for your car and keep it in the best possible condition.


The brakes are one of the most critical parts of any car, and keeping them in the best condition possible is essential. A grinding sound from the brake system usually implies that the brake pads are faulty, and you should correct and repair them as quickly as possible.

Faulty brakes are a potentially dangerous problem, and taking your car to a mechanic once you notice a problem with the brakes is very important.

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