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Hi everyone,

I wonder if you can help us figure out how to fix my son’s 2002 Volvo S40.

My son bought his first car. It was inspected a week before he bought it, and has about 50,000 miles. It seemed to drive fine when he purchased it, but after a few days, he heard a squeaking/ chirping sound (that seemed to be coming from the left front side of the car) when he accelerated. The sound stops when he brakes hard. He took the car to a mechanic who told him that he needed new brake pads (front and rear). He replaced the front pads, but the sound persisted. He went to another mechanic who told him that the pads were not put on properly and smoothed the rotor. The sound decreased for a short time and then returned. The mechanic says that the rotor looks fine, but is now recommending that he replace it since adjusting the brake pad and smoothing the rotor is not working. I would so appreciate your ideas.

With some makes of cars (mostly the Japanese marques) using any brand of brake pads other than the OEM pads from the manufacturer have the potential to cause noises when braking. The brakes will function properly, but will be noisy with aftermarket pads.

I don’t know if this might be true with Volvos, but at this point I think that you should be taking the car to a Volvo specialist, rather than a generalist-type of mechanic. A Volvo specialist would know whether Volvo is one of the car makes on which you should use only the vehicle mfr’s brake pads.

Incidentally, I would be concerned about possible sludge formation in the engine of a car that apparently was driven only about 4,000 miles per year by the previous owner. Do you have access to the service records in order to determine how often the oil was changed?

Yes they can become warped or glazed.

The smoothing of the rotor…that the second mechanic did was to try to eliminate the glazing, but it does not always work.


Thank you! Since the smoothing helped initially, does this suggest that the rotor is warped or glazed? Would your next step be the replace the rotor?

In your experience, do you find that the brake pads for Volvo’s need to be a special type?

Thanks so much for your time!

Also, when they replaced the pads, did they put a little brake grease behind the pads. OEM pads usually have leess chance of making noise than aftermarket.

OEM pads are the only ones pretty much guaranteed to not make noise.

Thank you insightful!

Thank you knfenimore! I appreciate the advice. Thanks again VSCdriver also!