How Long Can You Drive on Grinding Brakes?

I discovered my brakes grinding. How long can I continue driving with grinding brakes? If you’re seeking an answer to this question, you’ve come to the right place!

On a beautiful sunny day, as you embark on a journey to your desired destination, you suddenly notice that your car’s brakes are making a grinding sound. Even when you pull over to the side of the road, the grinding continues. Panic sets in naturally.

A question that immediately pops into your mind is how long the grinding of brakes will persist. How much longer can you drive before you need to stop and fix the problem? In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind your brakes grinding and discuss how long you can continue driving under these circumstances.

How Long Can You Drive on Grinding Brakes?

Well, the duration you can drive with grinding brakes depends on various factors, such as the condition of your brakes, road conditions, driving speed, and more. As a general estimate, you might be able to drive about 1500 miles in this condition. This distance should be sufficient to reach your home or the nearest garage where you can find a mechanic. However, during this time, it’s advisable to minimize your use of the brakes as much as possible. Keep in mind that after the mechanic fixes the brakes, it may take some time to readjust to their optimal functioning.

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It’s crucial to note that you should not continue driving for an extended period with grinding brakes. If you do, there’s a risk that your entire braking system could fail. This can be extremely dangerous and potentially result in a fatal accident. Therefore, if you’re planning a long trip and notice your brakes grinding, it’s wise to visit a car mechanic as soon as possible.

Reasons Behind the Grinding of Car Brakes

You may observe that the brake caliper keeps touching the wheels, leading you to ask, “Why is my brake caliper grinding against my wheels?” This is a common issue in cars and can be caused by several factors. Let’s explore the possible reasons behind the grinding of car brakes.

When the Brake Pads Are Worn Out

Frequent braking while driving can cause the brake pads to wear out. In this condition, the brake pads produce a grinding noise whenever you apply the brakes in your vehicle. Even the slightest pressure on the brakes can trigger the noise. This occurs because, in the worn-out state, the contact between the pad and the metal results in metal-on-metal friction.

Deposition of Debris

If you regularly drive on muddy or dirty roads, particularly in rural or countryside areas, dirt, sand particles, and even small rocks can accumulate on the brake calipers or brake rotors. Using performance brakes can prevent debris from getting lodged in the brake pads or calipers.

What Should You Do If the Brakes Start Grinding on the Road?

Now that you understand the problem, let’s discuss the possible solutions.

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Drive at a Lower Speed

When your car brakes start making grinding sounds while on the move, there are safety protocols you should follow before taking it to a mechanic. The first step is to slow down. Whenever you have the opportunity to exit the main road, and if heavy traffic prevents you from doing so, apply the brakes gently. Instead of applying full force, tap the brakes repeatedly without pressing the accelerator. Driving at a lower speed will help you reach the nearest garage without risking harm.

Keep a Safe Distance

When you notice your car making screeching sounds, it’s best to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. This precaution is helpful because, if you need to make a sudden stop while in motion, applying the brakes won’t cause your car to collide with the vehicle in front of you.

How to Prevent Car Brakes From Grinding?

Once you reach the car garage, the mechanic will address the issue. However, if you prefer to handle it yourself, here are some possible solutions.

Change the Brake Pads Regularly

If you hear grinding noises, the first thing to check is the condition of the brake pads. As worn-out brake pads can produce screeching or grinding sounds, it’s important to periodically inspect and replace them. You can purchase new brake pads from any auto repair shop, and if you need guidance, there are instructional videos available on platforms like YouTube.

As a general rule, it’s recommended to change your car’s brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles of driving. This practice ensures that your brakes perform optimally and prioritizes your safety.

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Remove Dirt from Brake Calipers and Brake Rotors

Thoroughly cleaning the brake calipers, rotors, and the entire braking system can be tremendously helpful. Use a degreaser to remove accumulated dirt from these components whenever you have the opportunity.

Seek Expert Assistance

What could be better than entrusting the job to an expert? The problem causing the grinding noise in your brakes might be more substantial than you think. The noise could be merely a symptom of a larger issue with the brake lining, rotor, caliper, or even the cylinder of the braking system. Therefore, whenever you hear grinding noises, it’s best to leave the work in the hands of a mechanic. They will provide a comprehensive diagnosis and repair solution.

Additionally, there are temporary, budget-friendly fixes available for grinding brakes. However, these solutions should be considered as a stopgap measure, as a permanent repair may be required.

Brake Pad Shims

Brake pad shims can enhance your braking power. These shims, made of either metal or plastic, are inserted between the brake pad and the wheel cylinder. By using brake pad shims, your brakes will last longer, and you’ll be able to stop your car more efficiently when necessary.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair My Brakes?

The cost of repairing grinding brakes varies depending on the specific problem within your car’s braking system. On average, the repair cost falls within the range of $900 to $1,200. The overall cost can be divided into two parts: towing and repairs.

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

#1. Why are new brakes and rotors grinding when stopping?

There can be several reasons for new brakes and rotors grinding:

  • Mismatched brake materials.
  • Semi-metallic discs and calipers in new brakes can inadvertently touch each other, resulting in grinding sounds.
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#2. Why is my brake caliper grinding against my wheels?

If the backing plate behind the brake rotor is bent, it can rub against the rotor and grind against the wheels. The issue may also stem from problems with the wheel bearings.

Final Words

Even new brakes and rotors can grind while stopping. Regardless of the condition of your brakes, take prompt action whenever you hear screeching sounds while braking. We hope this article has provided helpful insights and answered your questions. If you’re unable to identify the problem causing the unpleasant grinding noise in your braking system, it’s best to take your car to a trusted mechanic.

Thank you for reading! We hope this article has been valuable in resolving your brake grinding issue. For more information, you may also like to read: “Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up – What to Do?” and “Rubbing Noise From Rear Wheel When Driving.”

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