Subaru Forester with "crunching" brakes

Despite passing state inspection, my 2001 Subaru Forester (86,000 miles) make a subtle “crunching” sound in the front as the car comes to a stop. Sometimes - but not always. I cannot discern a pattern, and my long-term, reliable mechanic hears it, but cannot figure out what it is. The (disk) brakes still have adequate life on the pads. There is no sense of brakes failing - ie, it comes to a stop when I intend it to - but any such sound is of concern to me. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks for your help, Rivkah

Push down on the front of the car several times while listening for the sound. I suspect a strut.

Possibly a dry stabibilzer bar bushing. That can be a common problem on any vehicle when the rubber gets some age on it.
The bushings could be sprayed with WD-40 as a test method to see if the noise goes away but the WD is not a permanent solution. A silicone based grease should be used.