Car Repair and Maintenance

Noise When Braking at Low Speed – Causes and Fixes

It’s common for drivers to complain about always hearing squeaking, grinding, and scraping noises when braking at low speed. That could cause their cars to vibrate, particularly when they brake slowly.

The noise when braking at low speed, like a clunking sound, can be caused by worn or broken disk rotors, callipers, backing plates, or suspension parts like bushings. It’s essential to check the suspension system because problems with it can lead to shaky movement and clunking sounds when you brake.

Therefore, this article will discuss the braking system and how brakes function. The brake relies on friction between the braking pad and the rotors connected to the wheels to reduce speed till a complete stop.

To produce friction and stop the car, the hydraulic oil forces the brake pad on the rotors when you press the brake paddle. You could hear noise throughout the operation when braking at a low speed. Typically, this may indicate a problem with one of the braking components.

noise when braking at low speed

How the brake system works

You can move your car ahead at fast speeds because of the energy that is produced by your engine. Fast driving is just half of what your car can do. It should also come to an end.

Although your car has many safety measures, the brakes are the main ones that keep the occupants secure. Friction is the basis for how the brakes work. Despite possible variations in the force transmission to the brake pads, when the brake pads contact, the automobile is eventually stopped by friction.

Most cars use a hydraulic system to apply the brakes, and most modern cars use disc brakes. A vehicle typically has brakes on all four wheels, and all four wheels of certain cars may have disc brakes.

On others, the front wheels would be equipped with disk brakes, while the rear wheels would have drum brakes. The car’s front wheels make a tremendous effort to slow it down. Thus, disk brakes are often installed on them.

Most modern cars feature hydraulic brakes. So let’s concentrate on the hydraulic braking system to grasp better how the braking system works.

Your feet must transmit the force you exert from the pedal to the brake pads. It has to be shared and amplified in addition to being transferred. The first method of force amplification uses mechanical leverage, which magnifies the force several times when you push the pedal with your leg.

The hydraulic system then enters the picture. As you depress the pedal, a piston moves into the cylinder and expels the hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid is distributed throughout the complete braking system through brake hoses and pipes network.

All brake pads get the same force from the hydraulic fluid distribution. This force pushes the brake pads toward the wheel, where they make contact. After that, the car is stopped by friction between the braking rotors and the brake pads. This is the entire process of using the brakes to stop a vehicle. Each of these parts is susceptible to failure. While this occurs, it often makes a noise when slowing down to brake.

Types of noise when braking at low speed

You will often hear creaking noises when braking at low speed. Particular issues often result in different sounds. Therefore, distinguishing one noise from another can help you locate the issue’s root cause more precisely, simplifying the repair process.

1. Grinding noise

Grinding sounds coming from the brakes are usually a significant concern. This is another type of noise when braking at low speed. You cannot just disregard this issue and continue to drive; driving should be stopped if you hear grinding noises while braking at low speeds.

Your brake rotors and callipers will likely suffer severe damage after hearing grinding noises. By rapidly checking and repairing the sound, you may reduce the harm. There is a strong probability that you will rapidly lose control of your brakes if you do decide to ignore the grinding sounds and keep driving.

2. Squealing noise

This often happens as a consequence of rust accumulation on your brake rotors. You can begin to hear a screeching sound while braking at a low speed if you keep your car parked in a damp or humid region for an extended length of time.

When the rotors are covered with rust, the squealing noise happens. Rust squeaks when it touches metal, which it does by coming into contact with it.

After your car has been sitting without being driven, you can hear a screeching sound while braking at moderate speeds. This is nothing to worry about. After a few stops, the rust will disappear progressively, and the screeching sound will eventually stop.

3. Squeaking

Grinding sounds can cause more significant harm than other sounds, which is another type of noise when braking at low speed. However, squeaky sounds are often the most annoying. Low-quality brake pads are often to blame for this, and large metal flakes are often seen on brake pads of lower grades.

They make a squeaking or scraping sound when they come into contact with the brake rotors. You will have other problems and squeaking sounds due to poor brake pads, and your brake rotors will be impacted by poor braking. Therefore, you should examine the condition of your brake pads if you hear squeaking sounds.

The sound that worn brakes make may be similar. If this were the case, the brake’s wear indicator would inform you of the brake’s condition. You may use it to determine when to repair your brakes.

Noise when braking at low speed

Now that you know how to distinguish one noise from another, it’s time to understand the true causes of creaking noise when braking at low speed. You must first pinpoint the source of the issue to correct it and stop your brakes from making noise. Then you may consider how to solve the problem.

The causes:

1. Worn-out brake pads

This is usually the primary cause of noise when braking at low speed. Friction is how brakes function and the brake pads deteriorate because of conflict.

Copper, graphite, and iron are used to make brake pads. When braking, friction is produced when this layer makes contact with the rotor, and the outer metal cover contacts the rotor when this layer becomes worn out.

When the outer metal layer touches the rotor, a strange sound will be heard since this is not the substance used to do so. It makes a squeaky sound. Frequently, the indications for worn brake pads will also illuminate, and the rotors are only supposed to come into touch with the braking places.

There is a danger that the rotor might sustain harm if the metal surface touches it. As a result, if you do not change your brake pads as they get worn, you could also need to replace your rotors.

2. Worn rotors

Your rotor disks may become scratched and damaged if you use cheap brake pads or if you’ve been using worn-out brake pads. The rotor’s surface will no longer be flat due to wear and tear. So, when the brakes are engaged with worn-out or broken rotor disks, you can hear squeaking noises.

As you try to clean your car, you might damage your rotor. After a drive, the brakes can get quite warm. The sudden temperature shift might harm the rotor if you attempt to wash your automobile with cold water and the water comes into touch with a heated rotor.

What type of damage your rotors could sustain is challenging to foresee. As a result, strange sounds may be heard while braking slowly. As you use the brake, you can feel vibrations.

3. Debris and dirt

Your car’s brakes are in continual contact with the road since they are so near to it. Protective coverings keep most of those pollutants out, but some foreign particles often get past.

Between the brake pads and the rotors, these particles get trapped. The brakes come into touch with each other and make a distinctive noise when they are applied.

Distinct-sized particles may produce different sounds. Therefore, it is impossible to determine what kind of noise this would have. You could hear a grinding, squeaking, or squealing sound when braking at a low speed.

In this case, replacing the brake pads may not be essential. You can try taking the brakes apart and cleaning them.

4. Damaged shims

Shims, which may be either thin rubber strips or metal adhesive, are inserted between the calliper and the brake pads to lessen the noise produced during braking. These often sustain damage or degrade over time. While the shims don’t work as they should, you notice more noise when braking than typical.

You can also hear grinding sounds if your shims are made of metal. When the shims and rotor make contact, something occurs. The grinding sound is caused by metal-on-metal contact. If your shims are worn out or broken, change them as soon as possible.

5. Rust

Rust has a lot of areas to grow within the braking system since there are so many metal parts. Whatever the location of the rust, it can ruin your car. Your brake rotors need to rust for you to hear sounds while braking.

Rust will accumulate if your car is parked for a long time in a wet place. When you use the brakes, you will hear a screaming sound if your rotors are rusted. The rust will go on its own because the brake pads scrape the rotors. Note that there’s nothing you can add to it to prevent surface rust from forming—Haynes.

6. Not enough lubrication

You may wonder why my car makes noise when I brake slowly. And how lubrication fits into a system that relies on friction. Although most of the braking system’s components do not need lubrication, certain parts must. The screws and nuts on the calliper must sometimes be greased.

When braking at a low speed, specific components not adequately lubricated can make grinding or squeaking sounds.

How to fix the noise when braking at low speed

Identifying the sounds you hear is the simplest method to achieve this. After identifying the sound, you can fix the noise that disturbs you.

There aren’t many solutions for fixing faulty brakes, and you still need to have it fixed even if the noise helps narrow down the potential possibilities.

1. Search for loose parts

The complete front wheel has to be taken apart. Start jiggling the brake system’s parts right away. Keep in mind that these parts shouldn’t move at all. Therefore, you need to tighten any loose pieces if they do move.

2. Use dampening paste

It’s time to add some dampening paste after checking all the loose pieces. It is a water-based substance that will lessen the components’ wriggling and vibration.

Apply a thin coating of paste to the brake pads’ backs. It ought to dry out after two to three hours. Reassembling the brake system comes last.

3. Examine the brake pads

Check to see whether the brake pads are worn out. As you know, this is the leading cause of brake sounds. However, you need to attempt to sand them down and see if it helps before you replace the brake pads. If not, you should replace your brake pads.

However, there have been cases when brand-new brake pads have also made noise. So wait for a little before replacing that.

4. Check the rotor

The rotors could be your final inspection. Broken or deflected brake rotors mainly cause braking sounds. You should then determine the rotor’s thickness. Get it machined if it is not suitable for your car. Brake rotors that are significantly harmed, however, cannot be repaired. Therefore, your only choice is to swap them out.

5. Conduct an additional inspection

It would be best to check the brake lines and oil since you’ve already disassembled your braking system. There might be issues if there is not enough oil.

Therefore, ensure the brake fluid is level. But if you see that the brake fluid’s colour is off, you’ll know it needs to be changed. If your brake fluid is anything less than clear and brilliant, you should replace it.


How should brake fluid look like?

When it is clean, the brake fluid should be clear with a bit of yellow colour and maintain the same colour while in the brake fluid reservoir. You should refill your brake fluid when you notice a colour change.

What noise do worn-out brake pads make?

Brake pads always produce A shrieking or screeching sound that resembles the friction of chalk on a board. This noise indicates that the brake pad bond has a metal flake dragging into the rotor or that the brake pads are of poor quality and the wear indicator is pulling into the brake rotor.

What is the best material for brake pads?

Given the range of options, you may be unsure about the best choice for your car. Bestsellers in automobile replacement brake pads are composed of ceramic, and they can tolerate heat, are quiet, and resist corrosion. Organic brake pads might be a fantastic alternative.

What Is the price of new brake pads?

Expect to spend between $400 and $1000 for a total brake repair, which includes replacing the pads, rotor, and calliper.

Expect to spend between $400 and $1000 for a total brake repair, which includes replacing the pads, rotor, and calliper.

However, if you are merely changing the brake pads, your expenses might range from $250 to $400. This is the price for changing the brake pads on all four wheels.

Brake pads typically cost roughly $80 per pair. They often arrive in pairs, and the remaining expense is thus for labour. Changing the brake pads yourself may save a lot of money.

How can you tell if your brake discs need replacing?

Examine the brake discs’ surfaces to see if they are smooth or whether they have deep grooves. Additionally, hear and feel the braking action to determine if the automobile vibrates or makes any squealing noises when braking. If every test comes back positive, new brake discs are required.


You may ask why my car makes noise when I brake slowly. Well, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. Before driving your vehicle, you must always ensure they are in good working order to avoid hearing creaking noise when braking.

When you hear a noise while moving slowly, your brakes are probably not working correctly. You could narrow down the potential causes based on the noise. While some situations are controllable, others will need you to stop.

To know this, you must be familiar with the various sounds that your brakes could produce. You need to start working on the solution as soon as you identify the issue. The best action is to take your brakes apart and do a physical check.

You should never dismiss the issue if you hear a noise when braking at a low speed. Work on the repairs right away. Get your brakes checked out and repaired by a specialist if you cannot resolve the problem yourself.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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