My brakes have been grinding for awhile and I am.

  • 130,000 MILES
My brakes have been grinding for awhile and I am trying to make them last long enough to get money for pads and rotors. However, on my way to work today, when I applied the brakes I didn't think my vehicle was going to stop. After it finally did stop there was a noise like a crunch. After this the grinding stopped and the brake was squishy with no resistance, and I had to press it the whole way in to slow down. After a bit they started grinding again, louder than ever, shaking the car and the resistance in the pedal was back. I had friends meet me at work tonight to follow me home very slowly. When I tried to park along the curb, it was rumbling and squealing and when I tried to back up it wouldn't move. I could move forward but not backward. I put it in neutral and they tried to push it backward and it wouldn't move. So now it's parked with the rear end sticking out and a note on the dash explaining what happened. Any ideas what is wrong that I can't go backwards even in neutral? I can go forward but not backward. I really need to get my car parked legally and can't do that without backing up. I don't know what's wrong.
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 AT 9:47 PM

1 Reply

You're setting yourself up for a lawsuit. By ignoring the grinding brakes, one of the rotors has ground down so far that a piston has popped out of one of the calipers and locked up that wheel. By trying to save a few pennies you are now going to be spending a lot of dollars. You would have been smarter to go without eating than to drive the car in this condition. I've been involved with three cars that owners allowed to get this bad. Lawyers and insurance investigators love to find things people modified so they can shift the blame from the person who caused a crash. In this case, their job would have been real easy. You would have run into trouble with your insurance company too.

Instead of brake pads and rotors, now you can expect to need two calipers, a master cylinder, and a tow truck. There is a chance the master cylinder will be okay but once they get to be more than about a year old, crud and corrosion build up in the lower part of the bores where the pistons don't normally travel. When you push the pedal all the way to the floor, whether it's due to a surprise leak, a do-it-yourselfer pedal-bleeding with a helper, or any other reason, the lip seals get run over that corrosion and can be ripped. That leads to a slowly sinking brake pedal that often doesn't show up for a few days. Most mechanics will automatically replace the master cylinder to avoid future problems and unknowledgeable owners who incorrectly blame them for doing something wrong.

You've saved the cost of fenders, hood, bumper, grille, and the repairs to the other cars you could have hit. Be thankful you didn't injure someone and go call the tow truck.
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Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 AT 10:22 PM

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