When a car makes a strange grinding noise, that can be disheartening for any car owner. The underlying cause for the grinding noise may vary, and as a driver, it will be tricky to determine the noise source.
Most often, the noise will be audible when you try to accelerate or apply the brakes.
In this article, we explore five reasons why your car makes grinding noise and give you some possible solutions to those noises.
But before we dive into it, first things first.
What causes grinding noise when you accelerate or brake?
You may hear grinding noise when the components of your brake system come into contact. The noise comes from friction material or brake linings, brake pads, and brake rotors that have worn away. So when you apply the brakes, you’ll create an unpleasant grinding noise.
You may also hear a grinding noise when accelerating your vehicle.
In most cases, that noise will be due to:
- your transmission,
- a problem with your differential,
- a bad wheel bearing,
- a damaged CV joint,
- or a worn motor mount.
Hearing your car grinding when you turn or stop means something is flagrantly wrong with one or more essential parts of your vehicle.
But it also means your car is not safe to drive.
So driving an unsafe vehicle will put you and other innocent motorists at risk. When your car makes the grinding sound, the first step should be determining what is causing it.
You can take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for a thorough check or replace all car parts.
Let’s take a look at some causes.
1. A faulty gear system
When you have a faulty gear system, your vehicle will likely emanate a grinding noise. For instance, you may hear grinding noise when accelerating or changing gears.
That noise is due to a defective system.
Not only does a faulty gear system affect shifting your gears smoothly, but your car’s overall performance, too.
If your gear system, engine, and wheels are not in sync, that is likely to cause a grinding noise.
You’ll hear the grinding noise when your car is in a specific gear.
Most often, when you put on the reverse or the first gear. You may hear the same grinding noise when you put your foot on the accelerator.
So if you don’t attend to this problem sooner, it will eventually damage your transmission.
We recommend you book your vehicle to your nearest mechanic when you hear the first grinding noise. When you delay resolving this problem earlier, it may affect many parts of your car.
When you notice a transmission problem, it’s too late to fix it as you’re past the point of fixing it. You’ll have to replace the entire transmission, which will cost you much money.
Do not try to fix a faulty gear system, no matter how keen or self-sufficient you are.
Transmission is quite complex for ordinary car owners, and only seasoned mechanics are well-equipped to fix them.
Fixing a faulty gear system will cost you $4,000 to $8,000. Of course, depending on how worn-out your transmission is.
2. Worn-out brake pads
Another possible cause for your car to make grinding noise is worn-out brake pads. If you haven’t changed brake pads or bought a second-hand car with worn-out ones in a while, they are likely to make a grinding noise.
If a small pebble gets stuck between the rotor and rotor backing plate, that may cause a lot of grinding noise.
When brake pads are worn out, they affect other braking system components. That includes ruining the plates of your brake system.
That will result in squeaking noises.
When your brake pads are worn-out, the rotor will rub the caliper and scrape the surface of your brake system.
Therefore, if you do not replace worn-out brake pads immediately, they will severely damage your brake system.
Furthermore, it costs you more money to replace them.
Remember, your brake pads will worn-out quicker if you install low-quality ones. Most often, low-quality brake pads contain inferior metal chunks that are not as durable as high-quality brake pads.
This can also be the cause if your car makes a grinding noise when driving slow or idle.
We recommend that you change your brake pads regularly. A general rule of thumb is to change your brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.
At the same time, you should replace rotors between 50,000 and 70,000 miles.
Expect to pay an average of $35 and $150 for the parts. The average labor costs around $80 and $120 per axle.
You will also pay between $115 and $300 to replace each axle of your brake system.
3. A faulty wheel bearing
Your vehicle will make a grinding noise if your wheel bearing is faulty. When your car makes a grinding noise from the wheels, it may be frustrating to drive the vehicle.
You may also feel vibrations on your wheels.
Hence, it is critical to change your wheel bearing regularly. It is also vital that you use high-quality wheel bearing. Your wheels may also make a howling noise even when your vehicle is not traveling at high speed.
When your wheel bearing is overly worn-out, your wheels may make a rumbling sound.
You may also hear this grinding sound when you’re turning the car.
Wheel bearing can impact the smoothness of your ride and the longevity of your tires. It can also cause real safety concerns; you must change bearings.
Signs that there is something wrong with your wheel bearing:
- A grinding noise or grating noise from your wheel or tire,
- Your vehicle feels lose control when you drive it. For instance, your wheel steering feels less responsive.
A common cause of the grinding noise comes from your failing wheel or hub bearings. When your wheel bearing is worn out, your car’s wheels will rotate.
The friction of the wheel bearing can ultimately damage your wheel grinding.
We recommend that you rotate tires regularly.
That will allow tire experts to pick up any issues about your wheel bearings.
Expect to pay a minimum of $350 to fix the wheel bearings, although that will depend on the making of your vehicle.
4. Unlubricated caliper bolts
Another possible cause for your car to make a grinding noise is when your caliper bolts are not lubricated. You will hear a grinding noise when you apply your brake.
However, it is challenging to determine if the grinding noise comes from your caliper bolts.
Only a seasoned mechanic will know this.
When you don’t lubricate your caliper bolts well, your car is likely to make a grinding sound when you brake your vehicle.
Book your car for regular maintenance. A mechanic will check if there is anything wrong with your caliper bolts. A mechanic will also replace your caliper bolts if you need to replace them.
When a mechanic decides to install brake pads, they will need to lubricate pads using a brake caliper lube.
Failure to lubricate brake pads or caliper bolts will cause your brakes to make a grinding or squealing sound when you apply the brakes.
In addition, lubricating caliper bolts will ensure that your brake pads are correctly installed, including adding caliper slider pins.
Caliper slider pins will connect the two sides of your brake caliper.
It will cost you between $35 to $50 to rebuild your calipers.
5. Worn-out CV joints
If your vehicle has worn-out CV joints, that will cause grinding noise to your car.
Your vehicle may grind, especially when making tight turns at slow speeds.
Leaving CV joints unattended for a long time may damage some critical parts of your vehicle.
Your CV joints make grinding noise because of the worn CV. A damaged CV joint can lead to losing control of your car.
It would help if you fixed CV joints before they can affect your experience.
To replace or fix a faulty CV joint may cost you between $95 and $210. Labor costs for replacing CV joints will be around $165 and $800.
Lastly, it is crucial to prioritize your safety.
That’s why we recommend that you immediately fix your car’s grinding noise. When you take your vehicle to experienced mechanics, diagnose the issue and determine where the problem comes from.
Generally, mechanics will follow four steps:
- First step: A mechanic will start or test drive y to determine the grinding noise. If your car won’t start and makes a grinding noise, read this article.
- Second step: The mechanic will check your wheels, alternator, power steering pump, and your transmission, even your engine.
- Third step: The mechanic will describe the problem and suggest a solution to stop the grinding noise.
- Fourth step: The mechanic will replace parts or fix the problem.