What’s Causing That Loud Screeching Noise that Changes When I Brake

by | Jan 23, 2018 | Auto Questions, Car Problems & Repairs

Not long ago, I walked into the reception area at our auto shop and greeted two long-time customers. After chatting for a while, we eventually got around to the reason why they were there. The wife shared with me that she had noticed a constant scraping noise coming from their car that got worse while braking. Then the husband held out his hand and displayed a tiny jagged stone about ¼ inch long.

“Take a look at what caused all that noise and scared us,” he shared. “We thought we were in for a big repair bill.” 

They asked me, “how could a stone this small cause so much noise?”

Well, what happens is a small stone becomes lodged behind the backing plate that protects the brake rotor. The stone rubs against the rotor causing one type of noise. Then, when the brakes are applied, the noise changes. This is a very random thing, but it’s not an unusual occurrence. And, there’s not much you can do to prevent it from happening short of avoiding gravel roads!

Our customers were pleased that it was such an easy issue to address. Their car was fixed in about 45 minutes at minimal cost.

When the stone is easily accessed, we can fix problems like this at no charge. That’s because often, we can just pull the backing plate gently back and the stone will drop out. Other times, we have to remove the brake caliper to remove the stone.

Sometimes a tiny object or issue can be the cause of an annoying problem. And sometimes it’s easy to fix. If an auto care issue, you think may be a big deal, is keeping you up at night, search our blog and you may find the answer, or submit your question to AutoAnswers4U.


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.