Airplane brakes

My car, a 2009 Civic, has started sounding like an airplane when I brake, just in the last day or so. Sometimes the noise continues for a little bit after I’m off the brake and moving again, but mostly not. Obviously, I’m going to get it in to the shop, but my question is do I need to take off work and do it today / tomorrow (Tuesday / Wednesday), or will it probably be OK if I wait until Saturday morning?

The more you drive, the more damage is done to the rotors. However, it is probably already too late to save them, so you can probably wait till Saturday.

Answer this question:

Can you stop your car without injuring yourself or other motorists or pedestrians if the noise you are hearing your car make right now is the brakes starting to fail?

If the brakes fail completely, can you stop the car safely without risking anyone’s lives?

If you can’t say NO to that question, you should get your car looked at today.

The brakes are the only thing that lets you stop the car.
They need to work properly.
If there’s any question on their reliability, you NEED to get them looked at, RIGHT AWAY.


Well, that’s kind of the question – is it a warning noise, meant to get the driver’s attention, or an “imminent failure” noise? At this point, it’s stopping fine, other than making noise, or seems to be.

My guess is you are hearing the wear indicator. If so you would be safe to wait, but since I can’t hear or see what is going on, I would not want to suggest driving it as it might end up with no brakes at all. You really don’t want to guess when it is involving something like your brakes, especially if you might be behind me in traffic.

The brake system does have a warning “squealer” that makes noise when the pad thickness is low. This is probably what you’re hearing. You’re probably okay waiting for the weekend. Unfortunately, the warning tab often breaks off and it just goes straight to grinding the rotor. Usually you can feel the grind in the brake pedal. It’s not hard to check the pads to see what the case may be. You’ll probably be fine till the weekend. Most of the time the rotors are changed with the brakes anyway because they are so thin.

I would be more worried about them not being able to stop for a red light while I am driving through the intersection from their right to their left. Getting t-boned hurts A LOT MORE than being rear ended.

I had my left hip fractured at age 24 due to a t-bone accident that wasn’t my fault.
That same hip was completely replaced at age 34 back in March '09 due to deterioration over the previous 10 years.

I wouldn’t wish anyone else to have their femoral head broken off from their femur.


There are lots of airplanes out there, and they all make lots of noises. You need to describe this “airplane” noise a lot more specifically.

Like a jet from the local Marine Corps Air Station is flying over…even when I’m not near the flight path.

Could be wear tabs, but could also be a vacuum leak just the right size to make a whistle. Do your brakes feel any different? Spongy, or a different-than-normal pedal travel?

At any rate, get it in and diagnosed ASAP.

No, it’s more of a roar / grind than a whistle. The brakes feel fine, just noisy.

Too late to save the rotors. Need to get the brakes fixed NOW before the caliper piston breaches and you lose all braking.

Brakes are nothing to put off. Get them fixed right now.