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Metal screech/squeal/scrape sound when car starts moving from a stopped position

I have a 2002 Nissan Sentra (manual transmission). I recently started noticing this horrible metal screech/squeal/scraping sound when my car starts moving from a stopped position. It’s the worst when the car starts moving after it’s been still for a bit. I thought it was due to the cold weather because when it started getting warmer, the noise issue went away. Unfortunately, the weather is warm, and it’s back in full force.

The noise almost sounds like the noise that some semi-trucks (or large buses) make when they press on the brake. But my car only makes the noise when it starts moving and it only lasts a few seconds. It also doesn’t happen every single time, which makes it even more frustrating.

I’ve got about 115,000 miles on the car and was seriously hoping it’d last me until September when I start my new job. Considering that the car is probably only worth $1500-2000, I’m really not looking forward to taking it to a shop. Hoping someone on here might have some ideas before I decide what to do with it.

Thanks in advance.

What you might be hearing is one of the brake pad wear indicators.

These are small metal tabs on the brake pads that come in contact with the rotors when the brake pads get too thin.

Have someone inspect the brakes to see if that’s what’s causing the noise.


Tester: my understanding is that brake wear indicators only screetch when the brakes are applied. Am I mistaken?


I second the brake indicators as the cause.

I’ve heard them screech when applying the brakes, when releasing the brakes, and just driving down the road.


Maybe you bent a brake splash shield on one of the brakes and now it is up against the brake rotor. It would make that type noise while pulling away for sure. As for running down the road it may be high pitched enough to ignore or other things are making enough noise to overcome it.

It’s been my experience that the wear indicators may make MORE noise when the brakes are not applied.

Brake wear indicators were mu first thought too. What the OP is describing is a common manifestation of the need for a brake job.

several possibles, and all involve the brakes so a brake inspection is the next step.

1- When the weather is damp overnight you can get rust on the brake rotors. This will cause a pretty notable noise that will go away after a couple of stops. Using the brakes in effect cleans the rust off the rotors.

2- One or more calipers could be “sticking” meaning due to dirt and debris the caliper is not fully releasing the rotor.

3- There are wear indicators on all disk brakes. The indicator is a metal strip that will rub on the rotor when the brake pad is so thin that it is time to replace it. The indicator noise is most notable when coasting at a slow speed without touching the brake petal.

4- There are sheet metal splash guards on the inside of the brake assembly. If one is bent, damaged, or just rusted to the point it is falling off it will make a noise if it contacts a moving part, usually the rotor.

5- You can get a rust build up on the outside edge of the rotors. When this edge builds up high enough it will scrape on the body of the caliper and make noise. Most often the noise gets more or less loud when the car is making a sharp slow turn, such as in a parking lot. Solution is pretty easy, file or ground off the excess material so the whole surface of the rotor is smooth and even.

I wonder if the noise is the fan belt slipping.

“It’s been my experience that the wear indicators may make MORE noise when the brakes are not applied.”

In my experience, the audible wear indicators usually make noise only when the brake is not applied, and then stop making noise when the brake is applied.

Or, as CapriRacer mentioned, this could simply be a case of a slipping belt.

In any event, the OP needs to get the car to a mechanic a.s.a.p, just in case the brake pads are in need of being replaced.

Just turn the radio up. It’ll go away.

I don’t know weather to say Welcome or ask why revive a 4 year old thread just to post a ridiculous comment .