Brake Noise -- What Is That Horrible Sound ?
September 7, 2011
Brake noise is an unfortunate noise which most of us are familiar with. It usually begins once our brakes start to wear down as a warning signal that the brakes will most likely need to be replaced in the near future . How this works is that on your brakes is a special metal clip which only begins to make contact with your rotors once the brakes have worn down to a certain point. It's usually when you have about one fourth of an inch or so of brake pad left. When the clip engages the rotor, it creates a noise that is pretty easily identifiable letting you know that you'll either need to schedule an appointment with your mechanic, or else change the brake pads yourself.
So why does this noise sound so dangerous, like metal grinding on metal? That is because it is metal scraping against metal. The metal clip on the brake pad makes contact with the metal rotor and the sound erupts from within the wheel as the sound of grinding metal . This can be very distressing for people, especially if it's this is the first time that you've heard that sound. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their brake pads have already totally worn away and that the grinding they hear is the sound of the metal of the brake system scraping against the metal rotor.
While this is possible, the more likely reason for the noise is that the early warning brake system clip is finally starting to engage the rotor when you step on the brakes and is telling you that you need to change your brakes soon. If you're concerned about the noise , one method to discern what the noise is is by listening to it when you aren't hitting your brakes. If there is still a noise of grinding metal even when you're not hitting the brakes , that's because the metal clip wears down at a slower rate than the brake pads, and is still slightly pressing against the rotor even when you're not actively braking . So if that's the case with what is happening with your car , then most likely the noise you're hearing from your brakes is from the early warning clip that is letting you know you need to change your brake pads.
A lot of people ask the question, how long do I have from the time the noise begins until I need to replace the brakes? Unfortunately, that's impossible to tell for sure . It really depends on your driving patterns, how heavy the car is , and the brand of the brake pads you're using . For safety purposes , it's recommended that you change your pads quickly once you begin to hear the noise. Replacing your brake pads is a fairly simple process, as far as car repairs go, and it only requires a few tools. You can buy new brake pads cheaply at just about any local auto part's store. If you've done repairs on vehicles before, and if you like to do repairs on your own vehicle, why not save some money by replacnig your own brake pads. But if you don't feel comfortable working on your own vehicle , especially in an area like the brakes, which can cause a dangerous or fatal situation if not changed properly, then definitely leave it to the professionals to do .
Working on vehicles is often a very rewarding and satisfying pastime , not to mention the fact that it can save you lots of money. If you are interested in reading more about cars, check out:
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