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Time for a brake job? Or is it something else?

Once again I am turning to the experts.

2009 Hyundai Accent. A little less than 8000 miles.

Here’s the situation: about 2 months ago I started to notice some scraping noise when I put firm pressure on the brakes. Doesn’t happen all the time though. I never notice the scraping with firm pressure immediately when I leave for work in the morning or when I leave for work in the afternoon. I have to drive it a bit and then the scraping sound starts. The dealership checked the pads as part of a routine inspection about a month ago, finding both front and both rear pads at 10mm and 5mm respectively and was told that this was ok. Should I get a brake job, or could this be a different issue? Perhaps alignment?

You shouldn’t need a brake job. Try this.

Take the vehicle for a drive. At 35-40 MPH, and if it’s safe to do so, hit the brake pedal firmly to whoa the vehicle down without the ABS coming on. Repeat this a half a dozen times, allowing over a minute between braking events to allow the brakes to cool down, and see if that eliminates the brake noise. It could be that the pads and rotors weren’t properly seated when you took delivery of your new vehicle.


A couple of things: at the risk of sounding stupid, I am not sure if I have ABS on my car. And by “whoa” am I correctly assuming that you mean to stop the car quickly?

Your owners manual will tell you or look at the dash warning lights that come on temporarily when you turn the key to the ON position. If ABS is present, you will see the letters ‘ABS’ lit up.

Heh heh, yup, "whoa’ means just that.

Ok, no ABS dash light. Should I go ahead and try the procedure that Tester recommends?

Yes. The goal is to bed the pads to the rotor, making them mate better.

Should you try the procedure? Sure.

Pick someplace without traffic and without roadside ditches, etc. Maybe a big parking lot on a day when the facility it services is closed. There’s a remote chance that something unexpected will happen – the wheels may lock. The ABS you probably don’t have might kick in. Whatever it is that is causing the scraping noise might break. The odds against any of those things happening are very high, but why ask for trouble? Allow enough space to recover if anything happens – including the brakes failing completely.

Okay, I tried the recommended procedure but was only able to wait about an average of 40 seconds or so between braking events. The tires squealed a few times, but the funny thing is is that I don’t recall hearing the scraping noise once when I was “whoaing” the car. I can still hear the scraping noise during regular braking.

I am really starting to wonder if this is an alignment issue. I do recall hitting a curb within the last few months, though if it was before or after the noise began I cannot recall. Perhaps I am being paranoid. Should I try the procedure again, allowing more time between braking, or should I just take it to the dealer and have them look at it? Or, shall I go with my gut and get the front alignment checked?

All right, I tried the procedure again, this time making sure that I waited over a minute between braking. I can still hear the noise. And again, I didn’t hear it when I was stopping the car quickly. It seems that it only happens at low speeds, say when I am braking at 30 mph or under.

Any further advice would be appreciated.

Adjustments are usually covered by new car warranty for 1yr/12,000 miles. Head back to the dealer and if you get nowhere complain to Hyundai customer care.

good luck

You probably have a little rust build-up around the edges of your rotors that are rubbing against your pads, especially at low speed/low brake pedal pressure situations when the pads are juuuust touching the rotors. That’s why you don’t hear it when stopping quickly: the calipers are squeezing the pads hard to the rotor under hard stops. The first advice you got was sound, you just have to “exercise” the brakes a little harder and more frequently. If you don’t, rust build-up will continue and so will the noise. Brake pads wear out more quickly with long slow stops than they do with short fast ones. Don’t ride your brakes to a slow stop with a light pedal!

All what y’all are saying makes sense. Thanks so much. I’ll see if I can get a hold of the dealer right now.

Just to let y’all know what’s going on. I just returned from the dealer, where, of course, the tech couldn’t duplicate the noise. Go figure. And, of course the noise made itself known as I slowed to turn onto my street and into my parking lot. Another go figure. The drums and rotors checked out okay. They told me to keep an eye (ear in this case) on and if it gets worse to bring it back in.

Thanks for the assistance.