Why Are My Brakes Grinding and How Do I Fix Them?

The only acceptable noises emanating from your ride should come from Big Boi, throttling up your twin-supercharged V16, and excited … Continued

The only acceptable noises emanating from your ride should come from Big Boi, throttling up your twin-supercharged V16, and excited children as you enter Disney World. Your brakes should be as quiet as a tomb. If they’re grinding like someone who wears a mouthguard to sleep, then you’ve got a problem.

Grinding brakes are an all-too-common problem among motorists. But with a little knowledge about what could be causing the noise, you can very quickly remedy the situation. Let Car Bibles’ harmonically attune editors drop some knowledge to help you resolve your problem and silence your ride. Now peep this.

Why Are My Brakes Grinding?

Your brakes are grinding because there’s something wrong within the braking system. This could be caused by debris, broken and worn parts, or something as simple as installing the wrong part onto your car.

What grinding brakes do tell you is that you need to get them inspected. Grinding noises aren’t good and could affect your car’s braking performance and thus, endanger the safety of you and those around you.

What Could Be the Cause of Your Brakes Grinding?

Honestly, a bunch of things. Here are just a few potential reasons why your brakes could be grinding.

Debris

Road debris is a common cause of grinding brakes. A pebble, rock, sheared off car part, or piece of glass can get wedged within the braking system and cause a grinding noise if lodged between the friction surfaces.

Warped Rotor

If a brake rotor is warped enough, the undulating surface can cause the brake system to produce a grinding noise.

Broken Brake Pad

Though uncommon, brake pads can break. This can be caused by improper construction methods, bad materials, or extreme usage. If that occurs, the broken pad can produce grinding noises.

Worn Brake Pad

As a brake pad wears down, it reveals a part affectionately known as a “squeaker.” Many will associate the noise a squeaker makes with grinding. This is to tell you it’s absolutely time to replace your pads.

Broken Caliper

Parts break, and when they do, they can become dislodged or lodge broken pieces into the braking system, as can happen with a broken caliper.

Broken Rotor

Far less often than broken brake pads, though it has been known to occur, a broken rotor can produce grinding noises.

A wheel hub with a brake rotor and brake caliper.
Quick visual inspections can reveal a lot.

How to Fix Grinding Brakes

Fixing your grinding brakes will depend on what’s causing the issue, as shown above. Here’s what you’ll need to do for the above reasons.

Debris

You’ll have to pull apart the brake system and find the debris, dislodge it, and put it back together.

Warped Rotor

You’ll have to replace the brake rotor.

Broken Brake Pad

You’ll have to replace the brake pads.

Worn Brake Pad

You’ll have to replace the brake pads.

Broken Caliper

You’ll have to replace the brake caliper and dislodge the debris from the rest of the system.

Broken Rotor

You’ll have to replace the brake rotor.

Car Bible’s Brake System Glossary

Welcome to Bible School.

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes are a type of braking system that is used on almost all new cars. They use calipers, rotors, and brake pads to halt the momentum of your car.

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes are a type of braking system that has fallen out of favor in the automotive world due to their complexity and performance. Older cars, as well as a small handful of more affordable rides, still use drum brakes, though they’re becoming scarcer. Rather than rotors and pads, they use drums and shoes.

Brake Pads

Brake pads are the friction surface a caliper presses into a brake rotor.

Brake Shoes

The shoe is what presses the lining friction surface into a drum brake.

Brake Rotors

A brake rotor is what a caliper presses a brake pad into to halt the momentum of the car.

Brake Calipers

Brake calipers press brake pads into the rotor to halt the momentum of a car.

New brake rotors and pads sit on a white background.
You might need new brake pads and/or rotors to fix the problem.

Your Questions, Our Answers on Grinding Brakes

Let Car Bibles’ editors answer all your burning questions!

Q. Can You Drive When Brakes Are Grinding?

A. You can, but you shouldn’t, as grinding brakes indicates your braking system has a serious issue somewhere in the system.

Q. How Much Does It Cost to Fix Brake Grinding?

A. How much you’ll pay to fix grinding brakes will vary. It could be your calipers, a warped rotor, bad brake pads, or something as simple as debris caught in between the pad and rotor.

Q. Can Grinding Brakes Catch Fire?

A. That depends on whether or not what’s causing them to grind is flammable or will spark onto something that is. So yeah, it could!

Video on Brake Grinding

Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly what brake grinding can entail and how to fix it. We pulled it from one of our most trusted sources and it’s a great additional resource.

Car Bible’s Favored Brake Related Products

You can buy tools to fix your grinding brakes at almost every auto parts and home improvement store. As well as online stores like Amazon. You have a sea of options to select from. To aid in your search, here’s a resource for Replacement Brake Pads and Car Jacks to get your ride up in the air.

Disclosure: Carbibles.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Pages on this site may include affiliate links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.

Jonathon Klein

Jonathon KleinJonathon has jumped Aston Martins for Automobile Magazine, clocked 200 mph in a McLaren 720S for Playboy, and sampled his best life behind the wheel of a Ferrari Dino Evo for Road & Track. He’s hopelessly addicted to the strongest coffee he can brew. Please send him more. Contact the author here.