Why Your Car Brakes Metal To Metal? – Symptoms & Preventions

Brake pads aren’t designed to last for long. They wear down over time till you are left with a metal plate instead of the frictional material over its surface. This metal surface, if left unchanged, causes damage to the rotor.

If you want to learn more about brake maintenance, this article is for you. We’ve compiled this guide to educate vehicle owners about the dangers of brake metal to metal, its symptoms, prevention, and how to fix it.

Brakes Metal To Metal

Possible Causes

Brakes Metal to metal is majorly caused when the brake pads are not changed at the right time. The brake pad friction material gets completely worn out and what is left is a metal plate. The brake shoe begins to grind on the rotor, which could cause severe damage.

Some of the causes of brake metal to metal include the following.

Driving too long on worn-out brake pads

Brake pads are not to be used forever; they are meant to be changed after a particular use time. Brake pads can last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, while some branded ones may last up to 100,000 miles. How long it lasts depends on what type you buy.

As the brake pad is used, the friction material rubs on the rotor and wears away. When the brake pad reaches its minimum thickness, a sound indication would be heard from the wheel. Ignoring the indicator will lead to a brake metal to metal.

Incorrect installation of brake pads

One of the significant causes of fast or one-sided wear on the brake pads is incorrect installation. Many people go right ahead to slide the brake pads into the brake calipers and then put the slide pin in place.

If the brake pads are not in the right position, one side of the brake pad will wear off faster. After a while, one side of the brake will become completely worn out, then there is a metal piece on brake pad edge grinding on the brake rotor.

Contaminated brake pads

Contaminations like rust and dust increase the friction between the brake pads and the rotor. When this happens, the brake pad will wear and lead from brake metal to metal.   faster

Damaged rotor

When a rotor gets damaged, the friction between it and the brake pads becomes even more intense. If there is a warped, worn-out, or uneven surface rotor, brake metal to metal is unavoidable even when installing new brake pads.

Read Also: Grinding Noise When Braking – Causes and Fixes

What are the Symptoms?

When driving on metal to metal brakes, there are some signs which cannot be ignored due to how obvious they can be. Sometimes brake pads can get contaminated by external components or even fluids from the car. It could drastically increase friction or reduce it depending on the contamination.

Some of the most common brakes metal to metal include:

  • Metal on metal brakes sound is usually a low pitch or grinding sound whenever the brake is applied.
  • Delay in brake response.
  • Extra effort when hitting the brakes before getting a braking response.
  • Vibration in the steering wheel, especially when braking at high speeds.
  • Increased stopping distance when braking.
  • Less steering control when braking.

A metal-on-metal brake is very dangerous to drive with and can cause severe damage to the wheel. Driving a vehicle with a delayed braking response and needs more distance during braking is hazardous for you and other people.

Also read: How to fix hard brake pedal after bleeding

how long can you drive with metal on metal brakes

How to Prevent Such Types of Problems?

It would help to have an excellent brake maintenance culture to prevent metal to metal brakes. The good thing is that brakes and some vehicle manufacturers have put in mediums to ensure that the brake pad is not overused.

For instance, some brake pads come with markings that can be seen easily through the calipers. It allows you to see what level the brake pad is at and when to change it without having to remove the brake pad and physically inspect it.

In addition, some brake pads make certain sounds when it reaches their last friction material. It would be best if the brake pads are changed before the last friction material is completely worn out

Furthermore, some car manufacturers install an electric indicator that sends alerts whenever the brake pad is worn out and due for a change.

All that is needed is a periodic check of the brake pad and paying attention to the sounds or other indications coming from the wheel of the vehicle.

How Long Can You Drive with Metal On Metal Brakes?

Avoid driving with metal on metal brakes, as it can cause instant damage to the rotor and worn-out brake discs. Once you notice the brake pads are worn out, find a suitable fix immediately. Hitting search term like “brake repair near me” can help you know where to get smarter solution in this case.

There are temporary fix for grinding brakes or metal to metal brakes. However, this can only work for a short journey. It includes applying extra force when braking, lubricating the touching point of the brake pad and rotor, using brake cleaning, and more. 

Metal On Metal Brakes Cost of Fixing

Fixing a metal-on-metal brake will cost $150 to $350 per axle. It includes changing the brake pads. The price of changing brake pads may vary depending on the brake pad product and the vehicle model.

If you are not doing the replacement yourself, it will cost another $100 or more in labor costs. It brings the price to about $250 to $600.

You could also have extra costs depending on how long you drove with metal-on-metal brakes. The price could be on damages done to the rotor and other wheel parts.

Metal on Metal Brakes YouTube 

Final Words

Taking quick action when faced with brakes metal to metal is crucial in preventing further damage to your brake system.

When the brake pad is completely worn out, metal grinding is on the rotor. It scratches the rotor and makes it uneven, affecting braking even when you install new brake pads and leave the rotor in such a condition.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am passionate about everything automotive. Right from when I got my first toy car as a kid, I developed an interest in the inner workings of vehicles. As I grew up, my love for mechanical stuff became more substantial enough for me to pursue a career in it. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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