Should I be worried about the grinding sound my car's brake discs make?

Your motoring problems solved


Q. The brakes on my Volkswagen Polo 1.2 SE have made a grinding sound since I bought it new six months ago. It’s worst when I’m setting off, turning on full lock or going around a tight bend. My dealer blamed a build-up of dirt on the discs, but hard braking has failed to clean them. The brakes work fine, but should I be worried?
WL, Glossop, Derbyshire

A. A grinding noise that won’t go away is typically caused when the brake pads have worn away and you’re hearing metal on metal, but unless you do stellar mileage, this is unlikely at six months old. It would also be obvious to your dealer’s mechanics.

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It can also be the case that if a car is left standing for a few days in damp weather, a fine layer of rust can build up on the brake discs themselves, causing the noise. However, a couple of prods of the pedal should clean it up.

The bottom line is that a virtually new car should not be making this noise and it’s up to the dealer to sort things out. Take your Polo back and hand over a letter addressed to the dealer principal that details the problem, complete with any relevant dates, such as when the noise started and when you first took the car in.

If the dealership cannot sort out the problem immediately, it should provide a loan vehicle until things are fixed.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Dave Pollard, car accessory advice

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

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