Front right wheel grinding noise


i recently brought my 2005 toyota corolla to my mechanic to give my car a check up as i will be going on a three week road trip soon.
Upon assessment, my mechanic told me that my front right wheel bearing was making a strange noise and that i should replace it. I went ahead and had it replaced. after i had it replaced the front right wheel area was still making a grinding noise (louder than before it was replaced). I brought it back and he replaced it again with a new wheel bearing. Again after the 2nd replacement it continued to make a load crunching, grinding noise when ever i brake the car. So once again, i brought it back. I thought perhaps it was my brake rotor and had him check that. He did just that and said the break was fine. He said it may be because the axl was not sitting true. so i had the axl replaced. well today i picked up the car and drove it approx 5 miles and the same crunching/grinding noise persists!!! I brought it back and it is once again being worked on. I’m now very frustrated. I’ve spent over $500 now and still no solution. Can anyone help me? Im very desperate. i need it fixed and am worried that my car won’t hold up for my upcoming 4000mile road trip. I have attached a video clip of the sound to this post. thank you to anyone who can help me out

I think your mechanic has tried to diagnose the problem, unfortunately the video is black except fot the beginning and the end. It should not be that hard to find the source of the sound, try a different mechanic.

It’s not a wheel bearing or axle, you would hear those with the brakes off. I’m pretty sure it is in the brakes, but your mechanic had to pull the calipers off to replace the wheel bearing so he should have seen anything that would cause this noise.

I think your mechanic should go to his AllData and printout an exploded diagram of your brakes, then pull you calipers and see if anything is missing, like maybe an anti-rattle clip, or a clip that is backwards now. I don’t think this will be a problem for your trip, just an annoying noise. The only damage will be to the part installed incorrectly and that will not be an expensive part.

On second thought, I think the noise maybe one of the SS slides in the calipers that the ends of the pads slide on. If one of them comes out of position, then it will slide with the pads when the brakes are applied instead of the pads sliding on them and that could make exactly the noise you have and it could damage the rotors if left like this too long (5 - 10k city miles). There maybe a small groove in the rotors by now, but a shallow groove won’t hurt anything.

BTW, that is also the noise pads make when they need to be replaced, but I’m assuming that your mechanic would have noticed that too.

Thank you for the information, i really appreciate it! :slight_smile:

Sounds like badly pitted rotors to me, but any reasonably observant mechanic should have noticed that while changing the wheel bearing.

You can’t go back to this mechanic, that brake rotor is laughing at him. Is he deaf? How can return the car to you three times with that noise?

How did this noise start? Was the vehicle in an collision?

It sounds like the rotor has a great deal of runout, bent rotor or bent hub. This should be easy to see.

the car was never in a collision. To be honest, I’m not sure how the noise started.

I’m 110% with Nevada on this. What you need is a different mechanic.

If my count is right, he has RETURNED the car to you FOUR TIMES with the noise still present. Or is it five? Why on earth would he return a car that still had the problem you asked him to fix?!? That’s crazy. If he can’t even recognize that the noise is still there, then you definitely don’t want him touching your car ever again!

If you don’t know any other mechanics in your town, look at the “mechanics files” at the top of this page. And ask everyone you know for recommendation for other shops to consider. But do not go back to this guy, except to insist on a refund for the work he did and charged you for which did not fix the problem.

With the utmost and sincere respect to keith, I recently discovered the hard way that a bad wheel bearing can manifest itself as a grinding sound when braking but only a mellow oscillating growling sound when not braking. Mine just did. And mine was a 2005 Toyota product (a Scion). I also discovered in doing a bit of research that Toyota (and other manufacturers) has switched to double-row ball bearings in the wheel hubs to reduce friction and they’re apparently not holding up well over the long haul.

However I’d also like to point out that sound travels, and the sound may not be coming from where you think it is. In my case I changed both front bearings on the theory that their lives were probably fairly similar since they both came from the same gene pool. Problem solved. I plan to do the rear bearings proactively soon.

Your best approach is to
(1) jack up one corner of the car at a time. For the front wheels, apply the parking brake, chock the rear wheels, and put the tranny in neutral. For the rear, take the parking brake off, put the tranny in 1st or reverse, and chock the wheels.
(2) first, try spinning each wheel by hand. Feel and listen for roughness.
(3) after spinning each wheel, remove the wheel and try turning the hub by hand. Sometimes without the wheel damping the vibration you can feel it in the hub. IMHO it’s a good way to check the bearings.

And I agree that you should get a new shop.

Click on the Mechanics Files tab on this site to find a recommended mechanic in your area. This guy doesn’t seem to have a clue.

thank you to everybody who has kindly taken the time to respond to my post. I am from Canada so the mechanics files tab is not useful. However just to update all of you, i did get the “knuckle” or “spindle” replaced and so far it isn’t making any sound. i will try to find a new mechanic in my area. I only went back to him because I have gone to him over the past couple of years and I haven’t had a problem until now. thanks again for all of your help.

Thanks for the update, so glad to know you’ve made progress!

I would still encourage you to find some other reasonable mechanic before your trip for a safety check. That way you’ll either catch an unnoticed problem while it’s convenient to solve it, or more likely be good to go. Then you’ll be able to enjoy your 4000 mile trip without worrying about a looming issue.

Hope you have a fun, and safe trip!


I also thank you for the update. We try to helo people, but so very often we never find out the end result. I’m happy to hear yours was a good ending.

Happy motoring.

I too thank you for the update. I would never have suspected the steering knuckle, its a solid piece of cast iron. I hate to further disparage your mechanic, but I suspect he damaged it when he replaced the bearing the first time. The only thing I can see happening would be that he deformed the bearing race stop with the hydraulic press so the new bearing wouldn’t sit right. But thats just a guess.

“Spindle”, I believe the hub was bent causing the rotor to slap back and forth.

She said spindle or knuckle. Spindle is not a correct term so I assumed knuckle. It could have been the hub, but again, that is a solid chunk of cast iron and they don’t bend under normal use. Either way, I suspect the press operator is at fault.