Toyota Corolla 1998 brake problems

We have a 1998 Toyota Corolla with 170k miles. The brakes are squeaking and grinding often. In Feb. the front brake pads were replaced, but the noises continued. In May, they replaced the front pads again, within a week the grinding and squeaking continued. Finally, I took the car in late July and had the mechanic drive the car around. He said the back brakes were making the “grinding” noise and the front was squeaking. He said it was “cheap brake parts”. When he looked at the brakes he said the back brakes needed adjusting and may not be working as well, therefore making the front brakes work hard. This caused the front brakes to get hot and develop a glaze. He adjusted the back brakes and scratched up the front brakes. The car was fine for about 2 weeks or so. The sounds have gotten progressively worse and I refuse to drive the car. The brakes seem to work, but the sound is so terrible like something is loose, or off and scraping metal. We have used this mechanic for years with a recommendation from our neighbors. Please advise.

Replace brake pads and rotors in the front and rear. (Drums and shoes in the rear if you have drum brakes)

Do not get the cheapest pads–the better brake pads (ceramic, I believe) last much longer and are quieter. They also withstand heat better.

Flush the brake fluid as well if it has not been done in the past 2 years.

It sounds like this mechanic is trying to save you money and not doing necessary work. This is penny wise and pound foolish.

Sounds to me like the mechanic did not replace the anti-squeal pads on the backs of the brake pads. Cheap brake pads don’t come with them.

There is an anti-squeal compound he can slather on the backs of the brake pads to reduce or eliminate this noise. I like the Permatex product for this.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am not very car savvy, but I was looking up other info and some suggestions are to get the brake hardware kit, the dust shield may be bent, to lubricate the calipers, or uneveness on rotor from improperly tightened lug nuts. Would any of this give me these problems?

No, not for the problem you are describing. You are experiencing a high frequency chatter of the pads, like fingernails across a blackboard. The anti-squeal compound will help with that. A low frequency grinding sound would be the pads themselves.

Next time, use a premium pad.