Q: Grinding/Scraping noise from the front right of the car when driving at low speeds.

asked by on November 28, 2016

A loud scraping and grinding noise coming from the front right of the car. It only occurs at low speeds, 10-15mph, but not at speeds higher than that. The car drives normally at normal speeds, but it sounds shocking at low speeds. There is nothing hanging below the car, and the tyres are fully inflated. The sound is made when pulling away in any gear, and when slowing down to these speeds in any gear and in neutral. I don't know whether it is a gear box issue or if something is caught in the front right tyre or brake. How can I tell what is wrong, how can i see if something is stuck in the wheel or brake?

My car has 12000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

If there were something in the way of foreign material (e.g., road debris) stuck, you’d probably hear the noise all the time. The noise may be due to the brake pads (particularly if they are not OEM pads). Non-OEM pads sometimes have chunks of metal in them and if the caliper is sticky, at take-off (i.e., while still at low speed) the pad may be rubbing against the rotor until you get to a high enough speed that the pad finally retracts. It is also possible that the brake dust cover is contacting the rotor, because it was impacted and bent, but the noise should be present all the time if that is the case. Really, the first thing to examine is the brake assembly (pads, caliper, pins in torque plate, rotor, dust cover) on the right side. If the source of the noise is not found there, obviously another rotating component is responsible and that means stuff like axles and the transmission. Be sure it is really wheel related, though. It is possible for accessory drives and pulleys to make noises, too, and such could disappear at higher RPM, just as you are describing. In any event, inasmuch as the noise is so obvious, the origin would be quickly identified during an actual, on site noise diagnostic. Such can be scheduled by YourMechanic at your convenience and performed right at your location. Please let us know if you have additional questions or concerns.

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