Screeeeeeee! Brake noise

As I turned down my street, one of my brakes went ‘Screeeeeeee!’ It sounds like metal dragging on the disc. ISTR this happening on one car or another many years ago, and I was told that a ‘clip’ came off.

Does this sound like it might be a ‘clip’? Naturally, no repair places (that I know of) are open tomorrow. Is it OK to drive the car like this? I may have to drive as far as 25 miles to take it in when a repair place opens.

If it’s an intermittent screech that goes away when you put on the brakes, it’s the wear sensor, meaning your pads are getting thin.

It was continuous, without applying the brakes.

Oops, power steering, or water pump? Maybe. IANAM, But I married one.

It might be the clip. It might also be that the brake caliper is stuck, which might be why the pad could be worn down to the clip. Hard to tell what it is without looking at it.

I’d be a little leery about driving it without looking at it first to see where the screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee is coming from.

Clips keep the brake pad in place properly so if it’s that then driving is going to wear that pad down pretty badly. Could also be a caliper not retracting properly–I just had that go wrong on my car, not a very spendy part to replace. The issue isn’t wearing the pad down, since a set of pads tends to be cheap–it’s that the dragging pad can score your rotor something awful and that tends to be much more costly to fix than pads.

As beowulff says, there are pad wear indicators, a little tab on the brake pad that hits the rotor to cause noise before the wear gets so bad that it actually harms the brake rotor. The noise usually happens when turning at first. If it started when turning, you probably need new brake pads.

I just spent a month of Saturdays chasing down my own brake squeak after changing a rear axle and bearings. There are little metal clips that fit into the brake caliper bracket where the pads sit. Mine were loose and allowing the pads to shudder and create a noise like something hitting the caliper. A couple of dollars for new clips (I don’t know what they are called) and I got it. There is also a brake squeal compound available at auto parts stores that you can apply to the metal parts of the back of the pad that will help. Disc brake squeal is that common. I did both changing the old loose clips and the anti squeal compound and solved my problem.

Disclaimer: this advice pertains to disc brakes and rotors, not drum brakes. And if this is your MG, Johnny L.A. I can’t help you, maybe God can.

It did start in a turn, and then continued down the block. It seemed to lessen as I hung a yooey into my parking spot, but my drive was at an end so I don’t know if it lessened or stopped.

It’s the Prius. (The MG has front discs.)

Take a peak at the pads - if they are less than around 1/8” thick, they are worn out.
Also a “screech” is probably not anything to panic about. Being down to the rivets usually produces a very obvious metal-on-metal grinding noise.

It sure seems to be. I’ve had several cars with annoying squeal that happened whenever the brakes were not applied, and which would change when cornering one way or the other. And cars with annoying squeal that behaved in other ways. And cars with a persistent “hot wheel” that would always be too hot to touch around the hub, and various other problems. Mechanics would work on them but problems would keep coming back. And this was with multiple brands of cars, the most reliable brands. It seems brakes are something difficult to make work the way we wish they worked. Unlike, say, differentials, which seem complex and big and are used every second you’re driving, and yet which I’ve never had trouble with and never even heard of other people needing repaired.

Just to be clear: The brake isn’t squealing. It’s making a metal-on-metal sound. Put a metal disc on a turntable, and then hold a screwdriver to it. That kind of sound.

Since there was no ‘warning’ such as decreased brake effectiveness, pulling, grinding sound, squealing, or other sound associated with worn pads, and since I have a dim memory of this same sound from who-knows-how-long ago that it was this thing called a ‘clip’, I’m guessing that it’s the ‘clip’. If it is, is it OK to drive 25 miles to a shop?

Call the shop and ask them. They’re the experts.

I wish! Up until a couple of minutes ago, every shop I checked is closed on Sundays. Looks like there’s a Jiffy Lube opening at 8:00, 19 miles away, and a Firestone opening at 8:00, 22 miles away.

It’s probably okay to drive, but of course without actually inspecting it one is making assumptions.

The noise described is typical of thin sheet metal touching the rotor. The pad hardware (including clips), the wear indicator tab, and the backing plate are the only things that come to mind as possible suspects. It’s hard to imagine that driving for a while is going to cause a significant problem. Items that are more worrisome tend to make different sounds, or no sound. So, probably okay but I can’t guarantee it from here.

It’s not the brand of car, it’s the quality level of the products and the competence of the people doing the work. When using premium grade pads, cleaning all contact surfaces of surface rust and such, and lubing key metal-to-metal contacts, I have not had even one case of brake squeal in decades. If there’s squeal, I’m thinking there’s economy grade pads and/or inattention to important details. My customers’ brakes work great.

I know that sounds boastful and I don’t mean to crow, but it’s true.

It’s at Firestone. No noise the entire trip. The guy said I may have just picked up a rock. He’ll do the free brake inspection and go from there. ‘Better safe than sorry,’ he said.

My brakes are ‘fantastic’. They have about 80% pads left. The guy said I probably just had some dirt or debris in one of them. If it had been a clip, the noise wouldn’t have gone away. No charge.

Nice. Yep, Prius brakes are rarely used if you drive a Prius with only gentle braking. (which means most of the work gets done by the motor generators, not the pads)