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Horrible noise

Anyone have any guesses at this bone-crushing noise? My '98 Honda Accord is making a horrendous sound. When I brake (and some days are worse than others for some reason), a terrible grinding, like metal-on-metal, seems to come from the front. When this noise is having a particularly strong day, it will also be followed by a quieter cyclical grinding (much softer) as I accelerate from a stop. I thought it could be a wheel bearing, but after searching around on the site, the sound doesn’t seem to coincide with other bearing noises people report. The car has just over 161,000 miles on it, and I’m pretty set on selling it before anything else can go wrong, while I can still get some money for it. I’m trying to figure out what it is, if it’s dangerous, and if it’s worth repairing it before trying to sell it or selling it “as is” (this after sinking about $4,000 worth of repairs into it over the past 3 yrs).

Have you had the brakes inspected?


It is hard to tell from here, but it might be the normal wear indicators telling you it is time for some basic brake maintenance.

Just a few comments:

  • 161,000 miles is not old age time for a well maintained car.

  • When most people report say $4,000 of repairs, they often include $3,000 of maintenance items. Things like plugs filters tyres brakes an alike are maintenance, not repairs. Consider them like you would consider fuel.

Sounds to me like you should have the brakes looked at. If the brake pads are worn out and the backing plates are grinding against the brake rotors, it would make a noise just like the one you describe.

I agree with the diagnosis of brakes and you should get this done as soon as possible.
When brakes are grinding it’s possible that a brake pad can become thin enough due to wear that it will pop out of the yoke. When this happens you may instantly lose all or most of your braking capability.

I’d agree with all the posts. Have the brakes checked ASAP. The longer you wait, the more costly it could possibly become, especially if you’ve got a seized caliper which I wouldn’t rule out based on the noise you described.