I’m Not Braking, but I Hear a Scraping or Squealing Sound

Have you ever heard a scraping or squealing sound coming from the wheel area of a car when it drives past you in a parking lot? I’m not talking about the high pitched squeal that often occurs when applying the brakes in the morning (when the brake components are all cold) or when slowly coming to a stop. The sound that I am talking about occurs even when the brakes are not being used and sounds more like metal scraping against metal. If you have, most likely the car making the noise is in need of a brake pad replacement. Although there are many things that can cause disc brakes to make odd noises, one of them is actually supposed to happen. Here’s why.

Illustration or a new and worn brake pad with wear indicatorMany of today’s brake pads are equipped with what is called a wear indicator on them. It is a little metal protrusion that is attached to the brake pads backing plate (the metal part of the brake pad that the pad material is bonded or glued to). The wear indicator is sized so that it will make contact with your vehicle’s brake rotor/disc (the part of your brakes that the pads squeeze against to make your car stop) before your pads completely wear out. (more…)

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