Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Braking noise in 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan

Just bought this van used last fall. Had an occasion, a few months ago, to brake quite hard (to avoid hitting a bird in the road–yeah, I know…) and felt a clattering vibration/noise in my brake pedal. It’s happened a few times since then. Is this a problem that needs to be looked at or a normal reaction to quick, hard braking? (Braking noise in 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan)

Its probably your ABS system kicking in - which would make it normal.

But anytime you have a question about your brakes it pays to just have them looked at.

I agree with cigroller that this is likely to just be an indication that your ABS is functioning.
When you hit the brake pedal really hard, if the roadway is even the slightest bit slippery, the ABS is likely to activate, and when it activates, it is normal for some vibrations to be felt through the brake pedal, and for some noise to be produced.

That, of course, leads to the inevitable question:
Is this the first vehicle that the OP has owned with ABS?

It certainly sounds from the description like the ABS system working.

The ABS system works by monitoring the speeds of all four wheels, and if the speed of one is too different from the others, it interprets this as meaning the wheel is losing traction and interferes with that individual wheel’s hydraulics. It does this by causing via an electrical solenoid a valve to open and close rapidly in the brake’s hydraulic line. That pulsating can be felt in the pedal.

And I can testify that yes, the first time it happens it’s scary. Mine scared the bejesus out of me the first time it ectivated, and I even understand how the thing works!

You have nothing abnormal happening.

Well, I have an '09 that I bought used, and I didn’t notice it for a while, but the front rotors are warped and when I have to stop hard, I get the old brake fluctuation.

I have also experienced warped rotors on a couple of occasions, but I have never heard any noise resulting from that situation. Vibration or shaking in the pedal–yes. Noise–no.

Yeah, you’re right. However, I have never noticed the ABS kisking in on dry pavememt at highway speeds either. In fact, in the 10 months I have had my van, I have never noticed the ABS doing anything!!

Well, have we found out what the problem was??

Are your tires in good shape? Tires with poor tread on wet roads or loose road surfaces will kick in the ABS more often.

I still have a gut feeling that the problem is warped rotors.