Brake issue or Alignment?


I have a 2002 Dodge Intrepid, 172k miles. I replaced the brake pads on it in January and they turned the rotors as part of the deal. Since then the brakes have developed this tugging when slowing down and a very low grinding sound. The mechanics said it was normal for the grinding sound to last a week or so as the pads grind out any imperfections in the rotors…but it got worse. Also, my front end alignment is getting worse as well.

I took it in to the mechanics and they drove it around, put it up on the lifts, and said the brakes are in perfect condition and no problem with the rotors, they didn’t hear a sound or feel a tug at all.

I trust my mechanics after years of honest and excellent service (a Pop and son shop) so I doubt it is my brakes if they says it isn’t.

Can it be my alignment making this an issue? Could the alignment of the front end be causing this tugging and grinding when I slow down to stop?

Someone mentioned wheel barings…so I’m not so sure. I had my front end aligned twice last year but I assumed it was because I was driving a lot, and hit some massive pot holes and have tons of speed bumps in my living community. Could this just be a sign of a much larger issue??? Any thoughts appreciated!!!


i don’t mean to be wise, but you are driving a dodge with high mileage. these particular cars have a reputation of wearing out at this mileage and year.

i never ‘turn’ or resurface rotors on my cars. new rotors cost around 30 bucks or so, and the 12 dollar resurfacing fee is covered by never having the pulsing, shuddering and warping which WILL happen when you turn rotors.

i think your original post actually has your answer in it. you state: “Also, my front end alignment is getting worse” get that fixed, then see about any changes in the brakes.


I’m sorry, not 172, just 72k miles. I’m taking it to a tire place this afternoon for an alignment. If this does not work, do you have any other thoughts?


Grinding from the front wheels usually indicates either the brakes or the wheel bearings. Since it’s probably not the brakes, that leaves the wheel bearings.


On the topic of brakes and alignments I have a bit of a silly question, but I just want to be sure:

I will need brakes (rear) in the next few months (dealer inspected last month, they are at 4 mm) and the tire shop told me I need an alignment badly. Apparently that is the reason that my two front tires wore out so quickly. I am going to get the alignment next weekend, but will getting new brakes in a few months necessitate another alignment?


New brakes do not necessitate an alignment.


when you get a brake job done, go for NEW rotors. spend the extra 20 bucks or so (over the cost of turning th old ones) and get new.

no a re-alignment isn’t necessary (unless you’ve whacked something else).


The mistake made was turning the rotors, not replacing them.

For new brake pads to properly seat to the rotors, the rotors require the proper surface finish. And you get that with new rotors. When rotors are turned or machined, it’s highly unlikely that the proper surface finish is produced. This then doesn’t allow the brake pads and rotors to seat properly, and you end up with brake noise.



In perusing the above responses I have come up with another question.

In both idle and while slowing down I am hearing some grinding coming from the front of my car. Could this be caused by bad/old wheel bearings? Again, brakes were inspected last month and front ones checked fine.


while you hear the noise, does it change in tone or pitch (or even go away) when you press the brakes?

if so, it most likely is the wheel bearings.


i have to disagree with your comment that turning rotors instead of replacing them when installing new pads will cause noise.I have turned plenty of rotors and installed new pads without any noise being created. turned properly with good cutting bits and taking the time to burnish in the pads will produce good results. I do realize however that not everybody has the proper training and/or good enough equipment to do a good job turning rotors. and for cappys response that new ones are not much more expensive to just go ahead and buy new ones well that depends on the vehicle and the method used to turn them I use an on car brake lathe so the rotors do not have to be removed from the vehicle which in my opinion is the only way to go when turning rotors. this method will turn the rotors true to the vehicle and not the lathe.and on a few occasions have run into new rotors that had to be turned because they vibrated,why not make them give you another pair you ask, well when its the only set they have and your customer is in the waiting room waiting for their vehicle you do what you have to do. this is rare of course but does happen. and how about the trapped rotors you dont want to replace those if you dont have to much labor time involved,but then again an on car brake lathe eliminates the necessity to remove the rotors from the vehicle.


idle as in stopped and idling? if so it is not a wheel bearing noise, for the wheel bearings do not turn while you are stopped.


well, since you brought it up, i thought i’d compare.

NAPA sells the rotors for this car for 41.99

i would assume you charge 15 or so to turn a rotor. so the math indicates 26.50 extra per rotor. so i was wrong about 30 bucks, but from my experience the 53 bucks is well spent, to totally eliminate the pulsating, throbbing brakes from rotors which can warp faster, because they are thin. i know there are minimum thickness considerations, but i have found through many brake jobs the most satisfaction comes from NEW rotors. i have also found the longest lasting rotors are the made in USA (vs. china) so that is worth the extra couple of bucks fo rme too.

  1. It stops when the car is stopped (brake pedal pressed) or it is above 15 or so miles per hour. Then it sounds normal. Could it be the way the transmission sounds? I just had it rebuilt in October and the shop tested it in March and said it was fine.

  2. Idle as in my foot is neither on the gas or break pedals.