Grinding noise when I push down on the brakes

I am guessing my brake pads are going but figured I’d check with the forum first. What does it mean when you press down and about 3/4 of the way you start hearing this grinding noise almost like two pieces of iron are grinding across eachother?

Your brake pads may already be gone. Grinding is a bad sound, you may have worn the pads to the point that the metal backing is hitting the metal rotors. You probably need new pads and rotors. Please have this checked ASAP as this could be very dangerous, you may not have any braking soon.

A grinding sound usually means something is grinding. If it only happens when you push on the brake pedal while the car is moving I’d inspect all the brakes.

Some vehicles have brake pad wear indicators that come in contact with the brake rotors when the brake pads become worn causing a grinding noise. Meaning the brake pads are worn out.

This is when a complete brake inspection is performed.


I don’t think it’s that terrible at this point. I mean I’ve driven other cars before where it was beyond obvious the brakes were going. I think this is just the early signs of wear on them. It’s a Honda civic at 140k so I guess that’s to be expected. I’ll go ahead and get them inspected.

On a Civic, if this is just starting to occur, I’d guess the noise is the pad wear indicators making the racket. They are doing a favor to your wallet by giving you a heads up that the exposed rivets on the pads will soon be wearing grooves in the rotors. If your Civic has drum brakes on the rear, it could be those too. I don’t think brake shoes have wear indicators, so if you are hearing the noise from the rear, you may already be damaging your rear drums by the shoe rivet contact.

Experts here … curious, do brake shoes on newer rear-drum equipped econoboxes sport audible wear indicators these days?

The sound is coming from the from the front right. But I probably need to replace both sides since they have the same wear. How would I know if I need new rotors instead of just new brake pads? the brake pads are like only $20 but the rotors are pricey!

A service manual will tell how to check the rotors. As long as there is no severe surface wear and no thermal glazing, you simply measure the thickness of the rotors with a relatively inexpensive measuring gadget. * I think that most shops usually don’t do this tho, and usually replace the rotors when they replace the pads. Rotors on a Civic are pricey? How much? I wouldn’t think they’d be overly pricey. Then again, I haven’t purchased rotors since the 1980’s, for my VW Rabbit. For that car , at the time the rotors were around $35 each, aftermarket versions.

  • Edit, shops would probably do a run-out test too, checking for warping.

The brake inspection will determine what’s required.

And always demand that the brake components being replaced meet or exceed the OEM’s specifications.


I just checked again yeah I can get the two brake pads and brake rotors for about $120. I’ve watched a few videos online the job doesn’t look too complex, I might be able to preform this myself.

The brakes are going cost more than $120.00 for everything if you want do it right.

Cheap out now?

Or I can do it latter?


What’s going to cost more? I have the tools already.

Quality brake pads? $50.00-$70.00.

Quality brake rotors? $70.00- $80.00 each.

And that’s just for the basic front brake system.

Now look at the rear brakes?

You may have the tools, but do you have the right replacement brake components?


Saw the Centric Parts 120.40021 Premium Brake Rotor with E-Coatin for $30 each
and then Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Ceramic Disc Pad Set With Installation Hardware, Front for $28 both had significantly high ratings on Amazon. There is no sound coming from the back and I can’t afford to buy all four of them right now.

Wagner is good name when it comes to brake components.

I’ve never heard of Centric brake components.

If you can do a front brake swap for a $120.00 without a problem, my hat’s off to you sir!


Consider Rock Auto, they list 40 different brake rotors for your car including the ones you mentioned.

And look at the prices on Rock Auto.

The more expensive prices reflect the OEM spec’s, Whereas the cheaper prices don’t.


If you decide to diy-it for this task, a couple of tips;

  • one side at a time, keep the other side as is for reference of where all the parts go.

  • remember to thoroughly clean the surface of the new rotors. They usually come with a rust preventative applied, and all of that needs to be removed before you install them.

  • removing the existing rotors may prove problematic if they are rusted to the hubs. And there’s the additional problem that sometimes the rotors are affixed to the hubs with a Phillips screw which can be near impossible to remove with a screwdriver. It can usually be unscrewed easily though with an inexpensive manual impact driver tool, the kind you whack with a hammer and the force of the whack twists the screw. If the rotor is rusted to the hub and won’t budge even after removing the screw, ask here for some ideas.

Best of luck.

Have the brakes done by a reputable independently owned and operated local shop. The dealer will charge you at least twice as much as the job won’t be any better. And avoid chain operations. We get a lot of posts here from dissatisfied chain-shop customers.

And the dealer if you take it there will return to you a list of about $4,000 worth of additional work that MUST be done… $3900 of which probably doesn’t need to be done. But DO ask the shop you take it to to take a quick look-see and make you a list of additional recommendations. At 140,000 miles there are things you should have checked.

" I think this is just the early signs of wear on them"
At 140,000 miles, I seriously doubt it.

Yes, those Philips headed screws are challenge to remove. One of those strike to turn tools would likely work, but a careful application of an oxy flame to bluish temp will free them up. Tighten them so that the flat of the screw is just below the surface of the disc at reassembly. The 2 threaded holes (8mmX1.25 I believe) are used to push a tight rotor from the hub.