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High pitched noise when going slowly

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  • [Non Corsa] High pitched noise when going slowly

    Thought I'd try my luck here, when I'm doing between about 3mph and about 15 mph I get a very high pitched sound coming from (I think) the front passenger side of the car. If I apply the brakes it stops, and when I release starts again. Also if I very slightly apply the brakes at higher speeds I hear a similar (not the same pitch) noise.

    Any ideas where to start? I assume it's brake related but the garage that took a look didn't see anything actually wrong, so I'm guessing it's subtle.

  • #2
    It may be the small metal wear indicater fitted to one of the front brake pads that gives off a high pitch noise when the pads are worn down. Or the front brake pads have worn a groove in the Disc and that makes a high pitch noise. You could just remove the pads and inspect them.


    • #3
      Could be brake pads squealing. Basically they vibrate due to resonance. They are fitted with 'anti squeal shims' that are springy and attempt to dampen the vibration,but not always successfully and the shims may even contribute to the squealing. Some mechanics use 'copper ease' brake grease to lubricate some moving parts when fitting new pads. A light smear of copper ease on the back of the brake pad (the metal bit) can help, and in a few other strategic places. But other mechanics say copper ease is not a good idea. The copper ease controversy is discussed on-line.

      You could try giving the brakes and callipers a good washing down with a bucket of soapy water and a soft brush, or a garden hose. This may clean out brake dust etc and improve things. Dont use a power jet or a stiff brush as this can damage rubber seals or force water into places it shouldn't oughter. You could also try carefully driving the car with both front brakes still thoroughly wet to see if the slight lubrication this gives makes a temporary difference.

      Squealing is not easily diagnosed when inspecting brakes on a stationary car. But dont go to any expense without a second opinion.


      • #4
        The pads aren't far off new looking at how much is left on them, perhaps I'll have to take it all apart to confirm everything moves as it should and give it a clean as you suggested.

        It sounds like a metal on metal noise, but can't work out how that would be possible.


        • #5
          Brake pads vary in quality - it is always a compromise for the manufacturers between obtaining the best friction and longest life.
          I would suggest removing the pads, placing a sheet of coarse emery cloth on a flat surface and clean up the friction face by rubbing it on the emery cloth.
          If you have a D.T.I., you could check the run out on the disc whilst the pads are out.
          It is also worth checking that the calliper is free to move.
          I tend to use a LITTLE copper grease on the very edge of the metal part of the pads - emphasis is on LITTLE though - the last thing that you want is lubricant on the pad or the disc.
          If, after carrying out the above, the noise is no longer there, but returns after a few days/weeks, there is a chance that the pads are not of the correct friction material.