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 noise when braking at low speed. That could cause their cars to vibrate when they brake, particularly when they brake slowly.

Therefore, we will discuss the braking system and how brakes function in this article. 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. When braking at a low speed, you could hear noise throughout the operation. 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 a plethora of safety measures, the brakes are the main one that keeps 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 contemporary cars use disc brakes. A car typically has brakes on all four wheels. 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 put up the greatest effort to slow it down. Thus, disk brakes are often installed on them.

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

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

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 a network of brake hoses and pipes.

All brake pads get the same amount of 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 full process of using the brakes to stop a car. 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. Distinct issues often result in different sounds. Therefore, distinguishing one noise from another can help you locate the issue’s root cause more precisely, which will simplify the repair process.

1. Grinding noise

Grinding sounds coming from the brakes are usually a significant concern. 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 calipers 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 for a while without being driven, you could hear a screeching sound while braking at moderate speeds. This is nothing to worry about. After a few stops, the rust will begin to progressively disappear. The screeching sound would eventually stop.

3. Squeaking

Grinding sounds can cause greater harm than other sounds. However, squeaky sounds are often the most annoying. Low-quality brake pads are often to blame for this. Large metal flakes are often seen on brake pads of lower grades.

They make a squeaking or scraping sound when they make contact with the brake rotors. You will have other problems as well as squeaking sounds as a result of poor brake pads. 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 are aware of how to distinguish one noise from another, it’s time to know 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 issue.

The causes:

1. Worn-out brake pads

This is usually the cause of noise when braking at low speeds. Friction is how brakes function. The brake pads deteriorate because of friction.

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

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

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 change as a result of wear and tear, no longer being flat. So, when the brakes are engaged with worn-out or broken rotor disks, you could 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 difficult to foresee. As a result, strange sounds may be heard while braking slowly. As you use the brake, you could 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 manage to 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 with certainty what kind of noise this would produce. When braking at a low speed, you could hear a grinding, squeaking, or squealing sound.

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

4. Damaged shims

To lessen the noise produced during braking, shims, which may be either thin rubber strips or metal adhesive, are inserted between the caliper and the brake pads. These often sustain damage or degrade over time. While the shims don’t work as they should, you start to 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, get them changed as soon as you need to.

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 left 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 be wondering why does my car make noise when I brake slowly? And how lubrication fits into a system that relies on friction. Although the majority of the braking system’s components do not need lubrication, certain parts must. The screws and nuts on the caliper must sometimes be greased.

When braking at a low speed, certain components that are not properly 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 then proceed to fix the noise that disturbs you.

There aren’t many solutions for fixing faulty brakes. You still need to have it fixed even if the noise helps to narrow down the list of 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, if they do move, you need to tighten any loose pieces.

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. This, as you are well aware, is the main 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. Braking sounds are mostly caused by broken or deflected brake rotors. 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 if you checked the brake lines and brake 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 color is off, you’ll know it needs to be changed. If your braking fluid is anything less than clear and brilliant, you should replace it.


What is the best material for brake pads?

You may be unsure about the best option for your car given the range of options. Bestsellers in automobile replacement brake pads are composed of ceramic. They can tolerate heat, are quiet, and are resistant to corrosion. Organic brake pads might be a fantastic alternative.

How should brake fluid look like?

The brake fluid should be clear with a little yellow color when it is clean. It should maintain the same color while it is in the brake fluid reservoir. You should think about refilling your brake fluid when you notice a color change.

What noise do worn-out brake pads make?

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

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 caliper.

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. The remaining expense is thus for labor. By changing the brake pads yourself, you 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 does my car make noise when I brake slowly? Well, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. Before driving your car, you must always make sure that 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 properly. 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 course of action is to take your brakes apart and do a physical check.

If you hear a noise when braking at a low speed, you should never dismiss the issue. Work on the repairs right away. Get your brakes checked out and repaired by a specialist if you are unable to resolve the problem yourself.

Bernard Juchli

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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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