Deborah L. Asks: Why Does My Car Vibrate And Grind Horribly When I Apply The Brakes

Metal on metal brake pad

Well Deborah the first question that I would have to ask you would be this. When was the last time you had your brakes checked out? I did have the opportunity to ask Deborah this question and she told me her car was just in for a service not to long ago for a “B” type service at a quick lube establishment. The pictures you see are not from the car Deborah drives, but from two different vehicles with similar symptoms. The likely reason as to why you are feeling the horrible brake pulsation is too much excessive brake rotor run out. In other words your brake rotors are likely warped. It only takes a small amount of warpage or difference in thickness of the brake rotors to cause your steering wheel to shake, or you may actually feel the brake pulsation in the brake pedal itself. With that said remember that when you feel the steering wheel “Shake”  when you apply the brakes, the front rotors are the likely cause of concern. When you feel the pulsation more so in the brake pedal the issue is likely coming from the rear brakes. If your brakes are to the point that they are grinding, this means that there is no more brake pad lining left just the metal portion remains of the brake pad. In this case your brakes need immediate attention,in other words you should not be driving it. Pictured above  is a brake pad that went metal on metal, and was grinding horribly. What is left of the brake pad is indicated by the red arrow. The yellow arrow indicates the brake rotor that was ground into. The vehicle that had these brakes replaced also needed a brake caliper, because the caliper piston in the caliper over extended and ruined it as a result. If you look at the brake rotor pictured below you will see hot spots indicate by the red arrow towards the inside of the brake rotor. The red arrow towards the outside indicates a significant rust ridge that will add to a brake pulsation. These brake rotors were overdue to be replaced and were the source of a significant brake pulsation concern from the customer. You can help minimize brake rotor warpage by pumping your brakes down long hills to help prevent the brake rotors from overheating. If you want to get the maximum life span from your brakes have your brake pads removed cleaned and lubricated with a good synthetic brake grease annually. And remember that when you do this you can improve fuel mileage if your brakes are not dragging. Check out my book ” If That Car Could Talk” for more information about your vehicles brake system. You can view a sample of my book,or purchase it HERE

Bad brake rotor.

Bad brake rotor. Note the rust ridge on edge, and the hot spots inward.The shiny silver line indicates metal on metal contact.

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