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Different Brake Noises and What They Mean

From a safety standpoint, few things in a vehicle are as important as the brake system. Whether you just need to slow down or come to a fast emergency stop, you need your brakes to work properly when you press on that brake pedal. The good news is that the brakes will usually let you know when there is a problem by making noise. However, there are different sounds that your brakes can make and some are more significant than others, which is why it helps to understand the differences.

Here are the most common brake noises that lead people to bring their cars into LightHouse Automotive:


The most common brake noise you will hear is a squeaking sound when you press the brake pedal, when you accelerate or sometimes when you turn a sharp corner. In some cases, it may be more of a prolonged squealing/screeching sound that is really prominent as you drive. These sounds are more than just annoying, they are your car telling you that something is not right with the brakes. In most cases, it is simply worn brake pads and the sound is coming from metal beginning to rub against metal. Cheap brake pads can also produce this sound, so it may just be a matter of investing in better quality pads when you get them replaced.


If the noise is more of a heavy grinding sound that's more than just squeaks and squeals, then it is often the sign of a major brake problem. Do not waste time and bring your car into a professional mechanic as soon as possible for a thorough brake inspection and repairs. The grinding noise comes from pure metal-on-metal friction and that is a serious concern if the brake pads are doing nothing at all. If caught early, the brake pads may be all you need to replace, which is certainly cheaper than replacing or remachining the rotors or drums.


This is a less common noise and it is typically only associated with drum brake systems. Drum brakes can become warped over time and they are thrown off balance, which results in this thumping noise. If you hear this sound, you'll definitely want to get your brakes looked at as soon as possible.

Other Noises

There are other noises you may hear when you are driving your car, which can include vibrating, rattling, humming and more. Odds are these sounds aren't caused by the brakes. The exhaust, suspension, transmission, engine, cooling system, fans/belts and other key components of the vehicle could have damage or loose connections that will lead to some pretty awful sounds.

The simple fact is any time you hear a strange noise coming from your car, you will want to have it checked out by an experience automotive repair technician. In Colorado Springs, the shop to trust is LightHouse Automotive. We'll get to the root of the problem and recommend the right repairs to eliminate the noise and reduce risk of any further automotive damage. 

Call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.



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