How to Troubleshoot Noise in a Brake Pedal

by Robert Russell

Brakes need routine care and maintenance to keep them in good condition. If you hear squealing or grinding noises when you depress the brake pedal, this is an indication that you have a problem with some part of the braking system. Sometime the problem is minor; in other cases, brake noises are symptoms of a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Inspect the brake pads if the brakes are making high pitched squealing or whining noises. Squealing and whining noises may indicate a few different things. The brake pads may need to be replaced. High pitched squealing sound may also indicate that the brake drum needs to be adjusted. Finally, the sounds may indicate that the brake linings are worn and need to be replaced. You might hear squealing when the brakes are depressed or when they are not.

Look for loose or broken parts if the brakes make a clunking sound. The clunking sound could be caused a broken or loose bolt that holds the brakes together. Inspect the nuts and bolts. Worn or broken parts of the suspension system may also cost clunking sounds. Any number of worn suspension parts can produce vibrations that result in a clunking sound when you apply the brakes.

Stop driving immediately if the brakes are making scraping or grinding noises. In addition to the noise you can usually feel the vibrations when you step on the brake pedal. You will damage your rotors and potentially other components if you continue to drive when you hear grinding or scraping. Scraping and grinding noises indicate that the brake lining is severely worn out which exposes the metal part of the brake pad. The noises are caused by metal-to-metal contact between the brake pads and rotors or the brake shoes and brake drum. It is very dangerous to drive the vehicle in this condition, and you run the risk of causing more serious damage.

About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.