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

Getting weird high pitch sound from the front middle/front passenger side

Hello Forum,



I have a 2004 Nissan Sentra 1.8 S. I have been getting a strange high pitch sound (I liken it to metal on metal but not scraping/screeching and not whirring) from either the front middle or front passenger side of the car. The sound seems to happen randomly with the one constant being that if it happens, I’ll have to be going at least 40 mph. The sound stops if I apply any amount of pressure to the break pedal. Sometimes it stops completely and sometimes starts up again. I mean even the lightest touch on the break pedal. So I’m wondering if this sounds familiar to anyone and what I should tell me mechanic to look at.

Just an update. The sound was heard earlier today at speeds lower than 40 mph. It sorta sounds a little like the sound a rolling shopping cart makes when it traveling in the parking lot on the way to the car.

Sounds to me like your brakes are getting worn and the “crickets” are letting you know.

FWIW I find it a bad idea to tell the mechanic what to look at rather than telling them the symptoms of your problem. If you tell them what to fix and then your diagnosis was incorrect who’s to blame? Would you expect not to pay because the repair did not fix the problem even though you’re the one that told the mechanic what work to do?

You can count this as one more vote for the source being worn brake pads.
When the pads become worn, small metal pieces that are embedded in the pads will make a noise–by design–in order to warn you to replace the pads a.s.a.p. The noise is heard while driving without the brakes being applied. When you apply the brakes, the noise will stop.

When the noise stops completely, that means that the brake pads have become so badly worn that even the wear sensors have worn away. At that point, the next event will be inability to stop the car.

Take the car to a competent independent mechanic, and ask him to check your brake pads front and rear. Do not go to Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, AAMCO, or any other chain unless you relish the thought of being overcharged for possibly substandard workmanship.