Why Does My Car Produce Noise When Braking at Low Speed?

One of the most frequent issues that drivers always bring up is that they frequently experience noise when braking at low speed. Vibrations may be caused by noises like scraping, screeching, and squeaking, particularly noise when braking at low speed.

One of the most audible components of your car when it comes to noise is your brakes, which are one of the most noticeable when they aren’t working properly. Even at low speeds, brakes can make sounds, but when you start hearing a high-pitched screaming or squeaking sound, it’s obvious that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

We’ll discover the typical reasons for noise when braking at low speed in this post, along with several potential fixes. But you must understand how the braking system functions before we proceed.

How Does the Brake System Function?

The most important safety feature of a car is its braking system. The system’s many components all work together to accomplish the same objective, which is to stop the vehicle’s wheels and, in turn, the car.

The friction principle governs how every brake functions. Friction creates the opposite force, but we amplify it by employing brakes. The kinetic energy is transformed into heat by friction, which finally causes the vehicle to come to a stop.

All automobiles feature hydraulically-operated brakes on all four wheels. Drum or disc brakes are available. The majority of cars have disc brakes on all four wheels, however, some can have drum brakes on the back wheels and disc brakes on the front.

1. Close up of a disc brake
Close up of a disc brake by David.Monniaux / CC BY-SA 3.0. All autos have hydraulic brakes on each of their four wheels. There are options for disc or drum brakes. Most automobiles have disc brakes on each of their four wheels, however, others may have drum brakes on the rear wheels and disc brakes on the front. However, because they are responsible for stopping an automobile the most, the front wheels are fitted with the more potent disc brakes.

However, the more powerful disc brakes are mounted on the front wheels because they bear most of the burden of stopping an automobile.

There are several ways the brake system operates.

When you press the brake pedal, mechanical leverage multiplies your leg’s force by a great deal. The brake booster’s action then intensifies it further. The hydraulic fluid is forced out of the end of the cylinder by the piston as it enters.

The entire braking system is subsequently filled with hydraulic fluid via a network of brake hoses and cables. After that, each brake receives an equal amount of pressure. The car is stopped by the friction created by the force between the disc brake rotors and brake pads.

If you experience noise when braking at low speed throughout this operation, one of the braking components is likely to be defective.

Understanding Noise When Braking at Low Speed for Appropriate Diagnosis

Understanding distinct braking noises can help you determine the severity of a brake problem before you get into the reasons and solutions. Find out what sounds like grinding, scraping, and squeaking mean.

Grinding Brake Noise

There is likely a significant issue when the braking system makes a grinding noise. All of your car’s brakes are worn out if you hear grinding noises when braking gradually. The rotor and the caliper are the only items left. Stop driving as soon as you hear your automobile brakes grinding at a low pace.

Go right away to the closest service facility for assistance. You’ll be in worse shape if you let your brakes grind before servicing them. The cost of the repair will increase.

Squealing Brake Noise

Parking your automobile outside in a wet region frequently causes squealing noise when braking at low speed. Rust begins to form on metal surfaces when they are exposed to water for an extended period. And in this instance, it is so.

However, the rust starts to disappear after some time of driving. Additionally, the creaking sound that occurs when braking gently may even go away after a few breaks. Parking your automobile in a wet place is not a good idea, though.

Squeaking Brake Noise

When you press the brake pedal if you hear that annoying squeaking or scraping sound, your car’s brake pads are of inferior quality. because the combination may contain sizable metal flakes. You will therefore hear this sound as it drags along the rotor.

So selecting a high-quality braking pad is the best approach to avoid this kind of noise. Additionally, if you hear a squeaking or scraping sound as you use the brake to stop the car, the brake wear indicator is hitting the rotor and is the cause of the noise.

2. Front suspension and brake system
Front suspension and brake system by CZmarlin / CC BY-SA 3.0. The brakes, which are one of the most obvious when they aren’t operating properly, are one of the most apparent parts of your car when it comes to noise. Although brakes can generate noises even at low speeds, it becomes immediately apparent that anything is wrong and needs to be rectified when you start to hear a high-pitched screaming or squeaking sound.

When the brake pads are worn out and need to be replaced, a metal tab known as the wear indicator of the brake is attached to the pad. To alert you that it’s time to replace the pads, this indicator begins to pull toward the rotor.

Why Does Noise When Braking at Low Speed Occur?

Now that you are aware of the different noises, let’s jump right into the causes so you can determine the best course of action.

1. Damaged Brake Pads

Having worn-out brake pads is one of the frequent causes of noise when braking at low speed. Copper, iron, and graphite are combined to make brake pads. A brake pad is created by bonding all of these components together. But over time, they deteriorate.

The noise is caused by contact between the clippers and the rotor’s outer metal at that point. Therefore, go change your brake pads right away if you’ve been using them for a while or if they’ve become worn.

Your brakes will suffer serious damage if you don’t perform this. In addition, the caliper and the backing plate may damage and groove one another.

2. Presence of Moisture

On rare occasions, you could hear your automobile brakes screech as you begin to drive after it has rained or on a particularly humid morning. That is typically brought on by moisture in the brake assembly, specifically near the brake pad and rotor.

Water may ultimately find its way in there, but if it only affects the sound of your brake and not how well it works, it might not be a problem.

If it occurs more frequently and even in the mornings when it’s not humid, you might have a problem that needs to be resolved.

It causes a thin film of rust to build up around the rotor when it occurs. The thin layer of rust is scraped off as rusty debris when you press the brakes, and this is what causes your brakes to screech.

3. Presence of Debris In the Brake System

Foreign contaminants like dust, grime, grease, etc. enter the braking system in the same way that water does. Road surface debris and dust are frequently exposed to brake pads, calipers, and rotors.

The hissing or screaming noise when braking at low speed is brought on by these impurities becoming wedged between the brake pad and rotor surfaces.

3. Reinforced carbon brake disc
Reinforced carbon brake disc by The359 / CC BY-SA 3.0. When the braking system grinds, there is probably a serious problem. If your car makes grinding noises as you progressively apply the brakes, all of the brakes are worn out. The only components left are the rotor and the caliper. As soon as you hear your car’s brakes grinding at a low speed, turn off the engine.

The accumulation of foreign materials on the braking surface may also increase the force that the brake pads exert on the rotors. If this occurs, the brakes may become noisy and sticky, especially when moving slowly and the brake pads’ normal operating temperature is higher.

If the car has been parked for a few days, some minor rust on the rotor surface is to be expected. However, this rust usually spreads quickly after a few high-speed stops. However, if the brakes are only utilized at slower speeds, the rust can remain on the rotors even longer.

4. Damaged Shims

These sound-canceling materials—metal adhesive or thin rubber—are positioned between the caliper and the brake pads. As a result, it is quite clear what happens when the shims are damaged.

A damaged shim will come into touch with a rotor or other component of the braking system. Your braking system will make a grinding noise when there is a metal-to-metal contact like this. Therefore, whenever you have brake work done, make sure the shims are changed.

5. Poor Brake Pad Material

The kind of material used to make your brake pads has a big influence on the noise your brakes make when you apply them. Brakes need to absorb a lot of friction, so they need to be able to withstand a lot of heat over time.

When it came to brake lining, asbestos was formerly the preferred material, but its use was eventually phased out due to its carcinogenicity.

After asbestos was banned, other materials like Kevlar, ceramics, and other metal alloys entered the picture. Kevlar can collect dust and occasionally cause brakes to screech. Squealing, grinding, and hissing noises, however, can also be produced by the usage of various metals and ceramics.

These are petty irritations. They aren’t always a sign that the brakes need to be fixed. When these noises happen, your brakes will still function properly; it’s just a kind of irritation to put up with.

Other brake pads of a lower quality are produced using high-quality metal. The majority of brake pads contain some metal, but the less expensive ones sometimes contain a lot, which over time can easily harm your rotors.

You may hear a screeching sound as the metal embedded in the pad material presses on the rotors, especially when slowing down. This sound may continue for the whole pad’s lifespan.

Make sure to concentrate on the brake pads with more organic substance when it comes time to replace your current ones. Materials that make up a brake pad include resin, rubber, fiber, Kevlar, and others. These materials produce less unpleasant and destructive noises when used as brake pads.

4. Mercedes AMG carbon ceramic brake
Mercedes AMG carbon ceramic brake by Dana60Cummins. One of the common reasons for noise when braking at low speed is having worn-out brake pads. Brake pads are made from a combination of graphite, iron, and copper. All of these elements come together to form a brake pad. But they lose their quality with time. At that point, the clippers come into touch with the exterior metal of the rotor, which produces the noise.

If the issue doesn’t go away, you could have the harmonics changed and the assembly disassembled by a mechanic. Even though it could seem like a risky course of action, if the issue is severe enough, you might want to think about it.

6. Outdated Rotor Discs

Worn-out brake pads can scrape the surface of the rotor, which can lead to worn-out rotor discs. The flat surface of the rotor will eventually get warped, producing a squeaking noise. Rotor discs that are severely worn out may instead make scraping noises.

When washing your car and exposing the rotors to cold water while they are still hot, you run the risk of deflecting the rotor surface. When braking, this causes the surface to deflect, which causes noise and vibrations. The brake pedal might easily pick up on these irregularly shaped vibrations.

7.  Caliper Screws Without Lubrication

When the caliper screws and bolts become unlubricated, this results in a grinding noise when braking at low speed. Though it is uncommon, it is possible. Ask your professional to change the caliper bolts for you if it occurs.

8.  Defective Wheel Bearing

You most likely have a worn-out or damaged wheel bearing if you hear alternately quiet and loud noises or vibrations coming from your wheels. To stop unpleasant noises, carefully inspect the wheels and replace them as necessary.

Noise When Braking at Low Speed: How Is This Problem Diagnosed?

Before driving your vehicle to an auto repair shop, it’s crucial to do your diagnosis of any brake noise issues. Here are some other methods you can use to examine and see where the issue is coming from.

Step 1: Identify the Loose Parts

The first step is to disassemble the front wheels of your car. Shake the rotor, pads, calipers, and other brake parts to make a quick inspection. This entire assembly shouldn’t be moved by hand.

There are a few broken, loose, or missing nuts and clips, which may be the cause of any vibrations. You need to correct that right away. Failure to do so results in increased vibrations and braking noise.

5. Porsche composite ceramic brake
Porsche composite ceramic brake by User:Edgy01 / CC0. The brakes’ application noise is greatly influenced by the type of material utilized to produce your brake pads. Brakes must be able to resist a lot of heat over time because they must absorb a lot of friction. Asbest was once the material of choice for brake lining, but due to its carcinogenicity, its use was gradually phased out.

Step 2: Put Some Dampening Paste

Extreme braking component vibrations frequently result in terrible noise when braking at low speed. Apply damping paste, a water-based solution that is highly effective at minimizing noises and vibrations from your braking parts, after tightening any loose or damaged nuts or clips.

Between the caliper piston and the brake pad, apply dampening paste on the metal portion of the brake pad (at the rear of it). Before reassembling the brake unit, give the paste plenty of time to cure (between 2 and 3 hours, or until it is entirely dry). It can get sticky and darker because of this.

Step 3: Check the Brake Pads or Shoe

Check the brake pads for wear and tear or replacement. This is difficult for most drivers to do while driving. The majority of brake pads contain a wear indication to let you know when they need to be replaced.

Since aftermarket brake pads are available in various sizes, their wear is frequently uneven. You can hear noise when braking at low speed as a result of the pad riding on the edge of the rotor, but the brake pads are in fine shape.

In that scenario, you can even out the lip and smooth it down to reduce noise and extend the life of the brake pads. If replacing your brake pads is necessary, be careful to get the right pad. Up until the pads reach the shape of the rotor surface, new brake pads might also generate noise.

Step 4: Check the Brake Rotor

Your rotors may be impacted when you use your automobile and replace the brake pad. It might lead to an unbalanced brake rotor, which would cause the brake pad to bounce and jiggle.

You should have a smooth rotor surface. Therefore, if the rotor wear is not too severe, you might be advised to have the surface of your rotors machined.

Before carrying out this technique, make sure to examine the rotor’s thickness because it could affect how safely you brake. However, you must replace the rotors right once if the wear is severe or the entire rotor is thin or warped.

Step 5: Perform an Additional Check

After doing maintenance on your braking system, it’s crucial to check the brake lines and the brake oil. If the level is below the marked level, check the level and add the appropriate amount of oil to bring it to the marked level.

Additionally, be careful to examine the color of your braking fluid. You must change it as quickly as possible if it is anything other than bright and clear. Check the brake line for any indications of leaking, and if you find any, replace the line right away.

6. GM disc brake caliper 1
GM disc brake caliper by Ken T1381. You run the danger of deflecting the rotor surface when washing your car and subjecting the rotors to cold water while they are still very hot. This results in surface deflecting while braking at low speeds, which generates noise and vibrations. These strangely curved vibrations might be easily detected by the brake pedal.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Noise When Braking at Low Speed?

The noise when braking at low speed may occasionally become intolerable or give you the impression that your brakes are working less effectively as a whole. It is advised to have your brakes fixed in that situation. Even if they aren’t broken, the sound they produce may be so unpleasant that you should replace your pads.

Your new pads will cost you per axle. As a result, you would typically replace both the front and back brakes at the same time. You could complete it all at once, but the cost would increase.

The typical range of brake pad replacement costs is $150 to $300 per axle. Nevertheless, depending on the sort of brake pads you’re using, this could change dramatically. Better brake pads should cost $30 or more on average, depending on the material.

Is It Possible to Fix Noise When Braking at Low Speed on Your Own?

Your brakes can be fixed if you want to, just like any other repair. For instance, if you’re comfortable working on your vehicle’s repair, changing the brake pads isn’t a tough chore. You must remember that there are more than just issues with the brake pads that might cause your brakes to screech.

There are a ton of tutorials online that can help you repair your brakes in detail, so you know precisely what you need and can make sure you don’t miss anything. One such guide is the one below.

To do the task, you must have jack stands, a floor jack, and a brake. The brake caliper piston should be positioned correctly concerning the new brake pads. Additionally, it’s crucial to guarantee that the brake pads are correctly adjusted before replacing them.

Not properly fitted or adjusted brake pads are what you want because they could clamp down on the rotor when you apply the brakes with your foot. Despite its low cost, many people who don’t spend most of their time working on brakes don’t have one of these in their toolbox because it is one of the less common items utilized.

Most drivers have avoided replacing their brakes out of fear that they would make a mistake, and fixing your brakes incorrectly is the last thing you want to do. If such is the case, there is no danger in having your car repaired at a shop rather than attempting it yourself.

When repairing your brakes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Therefore, if you are not confident installing this fixture, you should leave it to the professionals so that nothing goes wrong.

Noise When Braking at Low Speed: How Do I Maintain the Brake System on My Car?

Instead of merely taking your automobile to the auto repair shop when a problem arises, maintaining your car is a brave move toward cost-cutting. Even before an accident, your car needs to be thoroughly inspected and maintained.

7. Example of two piece disc brake
Example of two-piece disc brake by Luc106. The noise you hear when braking at a low speed may occasionally become intolerable or give you the feeling that your brakes aren’t working as well as they should. In that circumstance, it is advisable to have your brakes fixed. You should repair your pads even if they aren’t damaged because of the unpleasant sound they make.

You can be confident your brakes are safe for the road when the car is regularly inspected. These actions will help you maintain the brake system of your car.

  • Check the amount of your brake fluid every three months. Every 30,000 miles or every two years, you should replace the brake fluid on your car.
  • Depending on your driving habits and the surrounding conditions, you should replace your brake discs as necessary. Like a typical automobile, replace them at regular intervals. Brakes on sports cars should be replaced every 20,000 miles. The brake discs on a typical car would typically last a lot longer than that.
  • To make sure your brake rotors and pads are in good operating order, have them checked out by a professional. Replace the brake pad if your brakes are damaged or worn out.

The Conclusion

We think you’ll save yourself the frustration and tension the next time this happens to you now that you’re aware of the causes of the noise when braking at low speed and how to remedy it.

Just keep in mind to examine your car often. Additionally, if you suspect a problem with your brake system, try to identify it and resolve it on your own. If you have any doubts regarding the process, simply go to the closest vehicle repair shop and have the problem fixed.

8. Noise When Braking at Low Speed 9. Noise When Braking at Low Speed

GM disc brake caliper by Ken T1381