In advance, any advice is greatly, greatly appreciated.
Here's the problem.
I have a 2000 Nissan Altima GXE.
* There is a horrific grinding when I brake as though the pads are gone. However, this wasn't progressive, and there is no brake light. It went from fine to bad immediately.
* There is a whirring, scraping that appears to be coming from the right front wheel when I'm driving without applying the brake. I hear it more at low speeds, but that's not to say it isn't there at higher speeds.
* It still drives fine. There's not wobble and I can't tell if the brakes are different or if I'm psychologically finding VERY slight differences in braking because of the loud noise.
* This all started after a couple of days of very heavy rain and moisture. Until that point, it was fine. Is it at all possible water or grit kicked into the wheel would cause both the braking and whirring noises?
There are a lot of possible causes of this sound. The first thing I would do is either take it to a mechanic or take the wheel off yourself. You probably have either brake pads that have worn so much that they are metal on metal with the rotors.
You could also have gotten something stuck in them that is causing this noise.