Grumbling sound after front pad/rotor replacement

The shop replacing my front tires advised me to replace my front brakes and rotors soon. I’m not a huge car repair person, but I remembered my father-in-law saying brakes aren’t that bad to work with. The car is the “college beater” I bought ten years ago and I’m trying to keep investments in it minimal. I told the shop I would do the brakes myself. So I spent the weekend with the Haynes manual fussing with overtorqued lug nuts, rusted on rotors, tightly wedged guide pins, and outer pads that didn’t seem to have room (not the piston side). Got everything assembled, bled the caliper that was disconnected, and took it for a test drive.

I got about 30 feet from the driveway before pulling back in. The front of the car was making an grumble sound and had an odd vibration like a flat tire. This was with brakes engaged and not engaged. The car stopped fine, but I probably didn’t get above 10 mph.

Is this part of the “bedding/seating” process? I put in new (cheap) rotors and pads. This afternoon I’ll check to ensure the pads are in properly and aren’t dragging on the rotor and that I have the wheels properly centered - beyond that I don’t really have any ideas.

Car is a 96 Ford Escort 2 door hatchback.

Just make sure that everything is installed correctly, and that the calipers are in fact working properly (pistons not seized, and the caliper is sliding on the pins properly). It might even be worth it to replace the mounting hardware for the caliper if its the original equipment, and lube everything up well.


Hi There Mutate Snoopy,

So, a few things…

Did you turn the rotors? If not, then the pads will chatter and “grumble” since the rotor surface is not prepared properly. Two, you did make sure that the rotors and pads were not contaminated with grease, oil, dirt, hand prints, etc.? If not, any contaminates will cause noise issues (and other issues as well). Three, you used brake “anti - squeal” material on the back surface of the pads to prevent the pad from chattering? If not, you’ll have all kinds of noise. Finally, a binding or failed caliper will cause the issue in that it may “drag” in ways that are causing the noise.

Last, but not least “cheap” pads are often not very good. If you installed pads that don’t have the proper compound, then you may have all sorts of issues.