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How to Diagnose Brake Noises - Vibrating Grinding Brakes

Created on: 2019-06-21

If your brakes are making scraping or grinding noises, or pulse or vibrate when you use them, check out this video to see what to look for on your vehicle

  1. step 1 :Diagnosing While Driving
    • Test your brakes in a safe place away from traffic. If you feel unsafe driving the vehicle, don't take it on the road!
    • Listen for scraping or grinding noises
    • Check for pulsation or vibration when applying the brake
  2. step 2 :Visual Brake Inspection
    • Raise and support the vehicle
    • Remove the wheel
    • Inspect the brake line flex hose for bubbles or bumps, which can lead to line damage or breaks
    • Check the brake pad thickness, and for uneven wear
    • Heat from over worn brake pads can cause rotor warping and caliper damage, which leads to pulsation

Tools needed

  • Jack Stands

    Floor Jack

Hey friends, it's Len here at 1A Auto. Today I'm going to be working on a 2001 Ford Focus. I'm going to try to diagnose a brake pulsation and/or grind. And if you need any parts, you can always check us out at 1AAuto.com. Thanks.

All right. Let's give these brakes a try. Pretty good grind there. Let's hit it again. Try for a pulsation here. Watch our steering wheel. Got a pretty good shake going on there. Get a little bit of speed going and do it again. Yep. All right. Front brake pulsation. Front brake's scraping. Now we can get it back to the shop.

All right, so now it's time to get this jacked up. We're going to jack it up. We're going to check the front end real quick. We'll give the wheel a shake. We're going to make sure that it's supported with the jack stands there. Once we get it jacked up, we'll take the wheel off and we'll take a peek at what's going on in there. Easy peasy.

Okay. Just going to make sure my safety glasses are on. I have hand protection. I'm going to use a little bit of penetrant. I'm going to spray that bleeder screw. Got my collection bucket under there. We want to make sure that we're not poisoning the environment with any type of chemicals. I'm going to try to break this bleeder screw free. I like to just give it a couple bonks. Generally speaking, a little bit of vibration will help break things free. Well, there you go. Broken bleeder screw. Okay. So let's diagnose this now. What do we got going on? We know we have a flex hose that's got the swollen bumps right there. So that means that this flex hose is garbage. We know we have an inner brake pad that's lost all of its pad. The inner padding area, and it's rubbing directly metal-to-metal on the rotor. So we know we need rotors, pads, we need a flex hose because the flex hose is no good. With the heat from this being metal-to-metal on here, we could have caused internal caliper damage. How can we know? Well, we can pop open that bleeder screw that just broke off and we can try to push back the piston.

Would we ever know if there's really a problem in there? I don't really know for sure. So where we're doing everything else, it only really makes sense to go ahead and do the calipers at the same time, because why do three-quarters of a brake job, have everything new in exception of just one thing? Right? You're doing it. You're already here. Just go ahead and do it. So at this point, I would say rotors, pads, calipers, flex hoses. If you're doing them on this side, you don't even need to go over to the other side and diagnose it. You're going to do both sides' rotors, both sides' pads obviously, both sides' flex hoses because they both generally wear at the same time. They've been in there the same length of time. And your calipers, right? Do everything as a pair. That way they're safe. This is your brakes. This is your safety for you, your family, everybody else on the road. Okay? So we've diagnosed the noise, metal-to-metal pulsation. These heated up, made the rotors warped, and we've got a hydraulic issue here. Okay? So there we go. It's diagnosed. I'm going to make sure I tighten everything back up and we'll get it back on the ground and we'll set this aside and make sure that we don't drive it anywhere far until we get some brakes in it.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1AAuto.com, your place for DIY auto repairs, for great parts, great service, and more content.

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