Noise when braking at low speed is a challenge that several car owners report. The noise appears due to worn brake pads, rotors, calipers, or bearings.
You can repair the brakes by tightening loose elements, replacing faulty parts, or cleaning and lubricating. Read on as we dive into all possible causes and solutions to this dilemma.
- 1 Why Does the Car Make Noise When Braking at Low Speed?
- 1.1 – Dirt Lodged Between Brake Components
- 1.2 – Squealing Noise From Rusty Brake Parts
- 1.3 – Squeaking Worn Brake Pads
- 1.4 – Noise Due To Damaged Brake Rotors
- 1.5 – Grinding Noise Due To Defective Caliper
- 1.6 – Faulty Bushings on Control Arms
- 1.7 – Noise From Broken Shims
- 1.8 – Corroded or Worn Wheel Bearings
- 1.9 Braking Noise Due To Improper Lubrication
- 1.10 – Noise Due to Loose Lug Nuts on Wheel
- 2 How To Fix Noise Heard While Braking at Low Speed?
Why Does the Car Make Noise When Braking at Low Speed?
The car makes noise when braking at low speeds because of faulty parts such as bad brake pads, rotors, or calipers. Rust or dirt lodged inside the barking system can also result in grinding noises. Other reasons include damaged shims, bushings, and wheel bearings.
– Dirt Lodged Between Brake Components
A common reason for noisy brakes at low speeds is dirt or debris trapped inside the brake components. The brakes lie on the bottom of the car, close to the road. Although these components have covers to protect them from road dirt or dust, some particles still manage to get inside.
Sometimes even water or mud can come in contact with the brake parts. When the mud or other particles get locked in, the car makes noises. These noises depend on the size of particles or the type of contaminant. You might hear a grinding, clunking, or creaking noise when braking low speed.
The noise appears because of increased friction between the brake parts. Greater friction means that the brake pads will apply more force on the rotors when you push the brake pedal. You can detect this problem by observing the components.
– Squealing Noise From Rusty Brake Parts
If you are hearing squealing or scraping noise when braking, chances are, the brakes are rusty. You should suspect this issue if you have not driven your car in a while. If your car is parked in a damp garage or space, rust might build up and create noise when you drive at a slow speed.
– Squeaking Worn Brake Pads
Brake pads have a tough job and are prone to damage. These pads are pulled against the rotors with the help of a caliper, and this causes the car to slow down or stop. This intensive job results in the wearing of the pads and hence the squeaking or groaning noise when braking at high speed.
The brake pad material is a mixture of different elements that provide friction to slow down. This material may be ceramic, graphite, or a blend of metals such as iron or copper. The pad creates a surface between two metallic components. During normal function, it prevents noises due to friction.
As the pads get older, the material hardens, and the pad and rotor start making noise. Since brakes are usually applied while slowing down, the noise would be more prominent when you slow down. Some older brake pads wear out to the extent that the metallic layer comes in contact with the metallic surface of the rotor. This results in louder noises that demand instant repair.
The brake pads may wear out if the material is low-performance. Such materials get damaged at high temperatures. Other reasons include normal wearing due to aging, fast driving, and putting greater force on the brakes.
– Noise Due To Damaged Brake Rotors
Another common reason for brake noises is defective brake rotors. These rotors are also known as brake discs or rotor disks because they are circular and rotate along the wheel. The rotors can develop defects due to various reasons.
For example, they might corrode or get rust if the car is parked in a damp area or if you do not drive frequently. Apart from that, low-quality brake pads wear out in an uneven pattern. So when they move against the rotors, you may hear a rubbing noise when braking at low speed.
Sometimes the problem occurs because the rotors are old. Older rotors have deposits from the brake pads resulting in an uneven surface. You should also take care while cleaning or washing your car. The brake disc or other brake parts tend to get scorching hot. When you wash them right after turning the engine off, the rotors might crack, causing a pulsating noise when braking at low speed.
If you notice a grinding noise when braking but pads are fine, it is time to check for warped rotors. The rotors can deform due to overheating of the brakes. It occurs on long drives or if there is the intensive use of brakes. Besides, the rotors may deform with time due to aging or if they are improperly installed.
– Grinding Noise Due To Defective Caliper
Like brake pads and rotors, brake calipers are also an essential part of the braking system. The caliper brings the brake pad close to the rotor when you apply force to the brake pedal. The caliper is in direct contact with the hydraulic system. If the caliper is defective, the system will not work properly, and you will hear noises.
A common issue is a sticky caliper which prevents the smooth release of the brake pad. You can detect this issue if your car pulls on one side while applying brakes. Moreover, you might notice brake fluid leakage or a burning smell.
A caliper is a metallic component containing a movable piston. The piston works due to the sealed brake fluid. If there is a defect in the seal, the fluid may leak or get contaminated with dirt particles. It also increases the chance of corrosion and failure of the caliper.
Calipers also have metallic pins that help them move forwards or backward. They are responsible for maintaining the appropriate angle for applying force. If these pins get stuck, the caliper will not be able to move the brake pad, and you will hear a grunting noise when braking.
The pins may stick due to corrosion when the metallic pins come in contact with water or salt from the road. Other reasons include dirt accumulation and lack of lubrication in the brake parts.
– Faulty Bushings on Control Arms
Control arms connect the frame of the car to the wheel parts. They have rubber bushings that act as a cushion between the components of the car. The bushings prevent the frame from coming in contact with other solid parts. In case of damage, the bushings fail to do so, and the car produces grinding sounds.
Control arms are a part of your car’s suspension. They absorb shocks and vibrations and keep the wheels aligned. Damaged bushings also result in loss of steering wheel control and alignment.
– Noise From Broken Shims
The brakes of cars have shims to keep the processes silent and prevent noise. Shims can be metallic or made of rubber or some composite material. They sit between the brake pads and caliper and cut the noise and vibrations. If they get damaged, you will hear grating noises when you apply brakes.
The shims may get defective with time due to normal wearing because they are under a lot of pressure. Corrosion or high temperature can damage or deform the bad-quality shims. As a result, the uneven wear leads to contact with the metallic rotor and hence the grinding sounds.
– Corroded or Worn Wheel Bearings
Bearings make sure that the wheels roll smoothly. These small spherical components are essential for your car’s suspension. In case of damage, they produce a grinding or clunking sound when braking at low speed.
The bearings work to reduce friction which means that they undergo stress. They function continuously as you drive and can wear after a few years. It can also happen with new cars if there is a lack of proper lubrication, corrosion, or dirt. Moreover, the bearings may be damaged due to heavy off-road use.
You can detect faulty bearings by lifting the car with a jack. You will have to hold each wheel one by one and shake it. Do it by holding the wheel from top and bottom, and then left and right. If you notice some play, the bearings will be the culprit.
Braking Noise Due To Improper Lubrication
Most components of your car’s braking system undergo stress and friction to slow down the car. Lubricants minimize the heat generation from friction, so you will hear brake grinding noises when they are not applied.
Brake parts come in contact with each other and produce excessive heat. This heat does not dissipate, and the brake parts overheat. As a result, the parts deform or are damaged. It also shortens the lifespan of brake parts, especially brake rotors, and pads.
Moreover, the brake caliper also does not function properly. The caliper screws and bolts need lubrication. Shortage of lubrication will not only produce noise but also impact the braking function.
– Noise Due to Loose Lug Nuts on Wheel
If you have considered all the causes but are still thinking about the noise when braking at low speed causes fixes, you should check the lug nuts. Although not common, you will hear groaning noises if the wheel is not tight. There is a need to torque the lug nuts from time to time.
It becomes necessary if you have recently changed the brake pads. Sometimes the wheel is not fully tightened, so the nuts remain loose, and the wheel wobbles. You should fix this issue as soon as possible because it also leads to tire wear or detachment of the wheel.
How To Fix Noise Heard While Braking at Low Speed?
You can fix the noise heard while braking at low speed by tightening the screws and bolts of wiggling brake parts. Cleaning the brakes and applying the dampening material also stops noises and vibrations. You can also replace or fix the leaky or shabby brake parts.
– Fix Loose Disc Brake Parts
Diagnosing and fixing any loose components can stop the braking noises. You can do this by removing the front car wheel and observing each part by trying to wiggle them.
Try to wiggle all parts, including brake pads, calipers, and rotors with your hand. If they move or vibrate, look for loose bolts and screws and tighten them with the help of a screwdriver or wrench.
– Clean Brakes and Apply Dampening Paste
If you have opened the brake to find loose parts, clean it before putting everything back in place. It may help since dirt is also a cause of the noise. Afterward, spread the dampening compound on the surface of the brake components.
The paste will prevent corrosion and minimize the noises and vibrations. Make sure you let the paste dry out before reassembling the brake parts. It might take 2 or 3 hours to dry.
– Diagnose and Fix Broken Brake Parts
Look for worn-out brake pads, brake shoes, rotors, shims, or calipers. If the brake pads are unevenly worn, you can sand the ridges to make them smooth, but it is better to replace them. Depending on the car model, you can get them for around $50 to $150.
Similarly, if there is a minor rotor deformity, you can mend it by getting a smooth surface. Serious damage calls for the replacement of the rotor, costing $200 to $400, depending on different factors.
– Lubricate and Fix Brake Leaks
Proper lubrication is important for the smooth functioning of the brakes. If you open the braking system to fix worn or loose components, check and fill the brake oil. If it is below the appropriate level, buy a suitable oil, and fill it up. Moreover, if you notice leakage of the braking fluid, fix the defective parts.
Noise when braking at low speed, causes, fixes, and repair costs must be clear now, thanks to this article.
Let us look at the main findings to prepare you for fixing the car noises:
- The brakes make noise at low speeds if the brake pads, rotors, or calipers are defective or loose.
- Dirty or rusty brakes, damaged bushings, and low lubrication can result in noise.
- You can fix brakes grinding noise by tightening the screws and nuts and replacing damaged parts.
- Brake repair can cost between $50 to $400, depending on the worn part and car model.
After reading our recommendations, you can take steps to diagnose and fix the brake noise.
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