My 2003 Honda Civic started making a tiny little squeeky noise 3 days ago. It is coming from the rt front wheel, and has grown so loud that people now turn their heads to stare at me as I drive down the street. If I turn the car to the right, the noise sometimes stops, but not always. What are the odds that this has something to do with the hand brake? I’ve noticed it has play in it without pressing the button at the end of the lever.
If the noise is definitely coming from a front wheel, then you can rule out the hand brake, as that acts only on the rear wheels.
Without being able to hear the noise, the possibilities include worn-out brake pads, a bad wheel bearing, and–this is a very remote possibility–a bad CV joint. I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I think that a bad wheel bearing is probably the most likely cause–and that is a safety issue.
Whatever the cause, this is not something that can be deferred, and the car needs to be driven–slowly and carefully–to a mechanic, tomorrow.
Does the noise stop if you step on the brakes? If so, then you need new brake pads and the noise if from warning strips - their job is to make a horrible noise to get you to have your brakes checked. In this case you should get the car in within the next few days.
If it doesn’t stop when you apply the brakes, then I’ll go with a wheel bearing, and second VDC’s advice that the only trip the car should make next is to the shop - like tomorrow…