Understanding Brake Noises

Your vehicle’s brake is one of the most important features that should always be in top working condition. Unusual brake noises should be regarded as a warning sign that your brake is malfunctioning. Also, learning to distinguish the type of noise is one of the easiest and most effective ways of gauging the severity of the problem. Read on and let’s see how one would know if the brakes need to be replaced.

Growling or grinding

This sound is an indication that you have already worn down the pads. The growling or grinding noise is mostly due to the rubbing of the caliper and the disc, which could scratch your rotors. If this happens, you’ll be advised by the mechanic to have the rotors turned or replaced.


If the vehicle pulls to one side as you brake, this could be a sign that there’s a foreign matter within the brake fluid or the brake linings are unevenly wearing.  A brake adjustment is what your vehicle might need. To remove the foreign matter, the fluid should be drained and replaced.


A vibrating or pulsating brake pedal could indicate warped rotors. It could also be an indication that your vehicle is out of alignment.

Warped rotors usually occur due to severe braking for long periods. Here, tremendous amount of friction is created; thus, causing the rotors to heat up and warp. The vibration is felt since the brake pads fail to grab the surface evenly. If you are driving and you happen to experience this, it is important to stop for a while in order to allow the brakes to cool off.


Brake rattle is one of the most common concerns among drivers. This resembles the sound of someone shaking a can of spray paint.

This sound is usually caused by the pads, which is okay. Sometimes, the brake pads rattle because of heat expansion. Brake rattle is especially evident if no anti-rattle shims were installed. Mind you, the rattle should not be consistent. Plus, it shouldn’t happen while your foot is on the brake pedal. If any of these signs occur, you should consider having your brakes checked as this could signify a more serious problem.