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Brakes or bearing? Chevy Cavalier

bbasebbase Posts: 5
edited September 2014 in Chevrolet

I started getting this squealing noise from the front end of my car about a month ago. It started off so infrequent that I often just thought it was the car next to me making the noise. It then got frequent enough that I knew it was mine.

Just driving down the road it will squeal.. a sound not entirely unlike two metal plates sliding across each other.

The following is all while driving on the interstate:
It will make this sound until I lightly press on the brakes. It will also, sometimes, go away temporarily when I switch lanes.

In town:
I have to press on the brakes significantly harder in order to remove the sound and switching lanes or even 90 degree turns doesn't seem to make the noise go away (at least not all the time).

This is a '03 Cavalier. I first figured it was a bearing. I took off my left front tire and turned it as far as I could (while in park so about 10/15 degrees) and the sound seemed to be exactly the same as what I'd been hearing. I was going to take the right front off to compare but as I did so I sheared a bolt, got pissed, and walked away.

What do you all think? I tried asking a few of my car friends but none of them are available at the moment (or maybe I should put quotes around friends...).


  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Se, Pa.Posts: 374


    Lots of miles then odds are a CV joint if noise changes when turning.

  • bbasebbase Posts: 5

    About 120k Miles now. But why would the noise go away while depressing the brakes?

  • bbasebbase Posts: 5

    I'm going to go check to see if the boot is broken or anything. Hopefully without destroying any more bolts.

  • bbasebbase Posts: 5

    So I jacked up the car and started turning the wheel in neutral. It's not very easy to turn and I can hear the squeaking. To me it sounds like the noise is coming from the brake itself. I haven't changed pads before (I had someone else do it last time) but when I look at it there is about 4-5mm left on the pad but it is right against the rotor. not sure if that is correct or not.

    I tried to get my head in there to hear exactly where it was coming from but I don't trust my stock jack all that much, especially in my gravel driveway.

    Is it possible there is a slight pressure bleed into the brake system on that side so that it is causing just a bit of noise but not applying enough pressure for me to feel it while driving?

  • bbasebbase Posts: 5

    Okay, I'm a dummy. I didn't look at the bottom end of caliper when looking at my pads. The top end of my pad has plenty of life left BUT the bottom end is basically gone a metal tab is sitting on the rotor. I can even see a slight scratch along its position around the rotor. So I guess I'll just need to replace the pads and try to figure out when it is so uneven.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496

    Uneven pad wear is usually indicative of a sticking caliper "slide" or a sticking piston in the caliper.

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