What happened with my brakes?
May 15, 2006 3:57 PM   Subscribe

What happened to my brakes?

I got new front pads and rotors a little while ago and after about three weeks of normal use they started squeeling extremely loudly. It was almost defeaning if I was driving next to a barricade or a tall curb. They were still under warranty so I took the car in and was told the "rear brakes needed cleaning." Is this common? The guy was hesitant to answer some of my questions and I was in a hurry to get my car back. Now the brakes don't make any noise but I feel a noticable grind when braking. Does this situation sound fishy? Is a grinding "feeling" normal?
posted by skallas to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
Sounds to me like there's a loose pad in there. A friend of mine had the same problem (not new brakes, but a loose pad). Could be that the brake shop didn't do a great job putting your brakes back together.

If the squealing was coming from the front then that guy was trying to sell you a line of crap about your rear brakes.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 4:08 PM on May 15, 2006

I'll bet he was just covering his ass for sloppy work. The brakes are probably perfectly safe and assembled correctly, but a piece of metal or part of an old spring etc.. could have gotten lodged in the pad. They probably took the brakes apart, made sure there was no metal debris stuck to them, then re-assembled. As for the grinding, I would give that a little time. It may go away once the pads wear down enough to perfectly match the countour of the router.
posted by zgott300 at 4:45 PM on May 15, 2006

ehh, I meant rotor not router.
posted by zgott300 at 4:46 PM on May 15, 2006

Take it somewhere else...get a second opinion. Sounds like they did a shotty job to me. Even if it stops making the noise take it in. Grinding is never normal and going too long with grinding may damage your brand new brakes.
posted by crypticgeek at 5:30 PM on May 15, 2006

Do get someone else to check it out. Are these brakes from the dealer or Midas?

The last time I had a set of brakes put on my car from Midas, they always were a little noisy. I firmly believe that the quality, fit or whatever of parts from Midas isn't quite as good as the "official" parts. I take a pass on Midas and such now and have never had any complaints.
posted by bim at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2006

I can't believe they didn't check your rear brakes when they worked on your front ones. I took my car to a reliable full service garage since I was hearing a high pitched squealing sound from my front wheels. They found that my rear brakes were dirty and that my front brakes was taking care of ninety percent of the braking. They replaced my front pads and cleaned and adjusted my rear brakes. There was a slight sound that came from my front wheels that eventually went away after about a week.
posted by plokent at 6:12 PM on May 15, 2006

Seconding the second opinion. Grinding is not normal, ever.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2006

Most disk brake assemblies require one of three things in order not to squeak: anti-rattle grease, anti-rattle shims, or anti-rattle springs. I'd suspect the shop neglected the anti-rattle ingredient, whatever it was.

The rear brake thing was BS. The grinding could be dangerous.

posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's not necessarily grinding, I had a problem like this a couple of years ago. It turned out the brake pads "crystallized". I can't remember why it happens but it is definitely something you should look into.
posted by isopropyl at 10:34 PM on May 15, 2006

Your brake pads weren't broken in. This is much more of a problem with the ceaper brands and can cause rotor to wear unevenly and feel 'warped' (The discs rarely warp, they pulsate due to uneven wear) later in their life. Not to mention squealing (which CAN also be caused by excessive brake dust). This has happened to me several times before I found the proper break in procedure.
I have also found that sanding the new rotors very lightly (breaking the glaze) with 400+ grit paper before installation can ease break in and helps prevent these problems.
Look here.

It's probably not to late to save your new rotors, use the break in procedue to attempt 'burning off' the deposits that are uneven now and replace them with a smooth grey finish (this is why properly broken in rotors don't rust as easily as bare metal.)
posted by IronLizard at 11:50 PM on May 15, 2006

They found that my rear brakes were dirty and that my front brakes was taking care of ninety percent of the braking.

Isn't that true of a normal setup (not the dirt, but the 90/10 split)? I know it is on a bike, and would assume it would hold true on a car as well.
posted by qwip at 1:49 AM on May 16, 2006

It could be that poor-fitting (and/or cheap) pads were installed. If the pads are too thick they will rub against the rotors when they're not engaged.

This happened to me recently; my Mazda dealer replaced my rear disk pads with non-Mazda pads and they squeaked and squealed like crazy (but became silent when I applied the brakes). They installed Maza pads and the noise went away. It took three visits to get it fixed, and the second time they tried the "Your rear brakes needed cleaning" routine on me and sprayed something on them, which did not solve the problem.
posted by the matching mole at 6:50 AM on May 16, 2006

Take it back and tell them it's making noise. They should be able to fix it, and they have no right to charge you anything. I've had the same symptoms after rushed brake pad changes -- they're not aligned right, there's dirt or air in there, something along those lines. It should be easy to fix, but it does need to be fixed.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:22 AM on May 16, 2006

I've had a similar problem with my own front brakes - only the squeal/squeak happens when I apply the brakes. I have taken the car back in three times now, each time being told the pads had 'some glaze' on them that needed to be removed.

Well, the brakes still squeal. Thoughts?
posted by NationalKato at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2006

I had the same problem until I bought the bullet and purchased the most expensive brakes available. The problem stopped. And I tried everything including the anti-squeel grease and glaze, smoothing the rotors, pretty much anything until literally the only thing I hadn't done was buy higher quality brakes. From what I understand all brakes squeal it's just a matter of finding the brake pads that squeal at a range that's non-audible.
posted by geoff. at 9:49 AM on May 16, 2006

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