I bought a car 11 months ago and have done 7,000 miles. It now has grinding brakes will my warranty cover it?

grinding brakes

This strikes us as a double problem. The first is what is causing the grinding brakes noise. The second is whether the terms of the warranty might cover it. And it’s not just applicable to brakes. It could cover a multitude of mechanical problems.

What causes grinding brakes

When you hit the brakes there will be a grinding noise. This is usually the result of worn brake pads.

When you touch the brake pedal in a car, the calipers that hold the pads push them against the brake discs. The friction from this slows the car down. When the pads have worn out, you get the grinding sound from the calipers rather than the pads rubbing against the disc. It’s literally metal against metal, hence the unpleasant sound.

If the noise from your brakes is a screech, it can be caused by a small stone or other road debris getting trapped between the pad and disc. But if this is where the noise is coming from, it will happen the whole time you’re driving and may become louder the faster you go. If the noise is from worn pads, it will only occur when you touch the brakes.

 

grinding brakes
Grinding can often happen when the pad (bottom right) wears down

It might not be the pads

Our reader doesn’t tell us whether the brake warning light has been illuminated. Usually brake pads have a wire attached to them. This is a sensor that tells the car when the pads are about to wear out. An orange warning light of a brake icon comes on in the dash. The idea is that the driver then acts upon this and replaces the pads.

If the problem isn’t worn pads, it might be to do with the wheel bearings. Worn wheel bearings can make a grinding noise but this will be a constant sound when the wheels are turning; it won’t just happen when you hit the brakes.

Can you keep driving with grinding brakes?

You can but it’s less than ideal. For a start, your car’s brakes should be in tip-top shape so that you can stop as quickly as possible if there’s an emergency. What’s more, the longer you drive with a grinding noise coming from your brakes, the more likely you are to cause permanent damage to the brake discs. And that will prompt an even more expensive repair: new discs are significantly more costly than just having the pads replaced.

Will a warranty cover grinding brakes?

That obviously depends on the terms of the warranty. However, most warranties don’t cover what are known as wear and tear items. These are components such as tyres, windscreen wipers and brake pads that wear down during the course of normal driving.

An additional factor worth bearing in mind is that our reader has covered around 7,000 miles in the year since they bought the car. This could be around a third of the life span of a set of brakes.

Taking that into account, we think it’s highly unlikely that a warranty will pay out to replace worn brake pads.