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I've been noticing a troubling trend with my car as of late. Randomly, it will decide to make this blood curdling screech when I apply the brakes, and occasionally the noise will continue as I accelerate, like something is stuck in the wheel. Nine times out of then this will only occur if I've been on a gravel road recently. As a sizeable portion of my driving is on gravel roads, I'm wondering what exactly it is that I can do to make this stop occurring, if anything?

Car details: I drive a 2005 Honda Civic Si 4d, no modifications to the drive train or other outside components at all have been performed.

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It shouldn't be possible for gravel to get caught in the brake itself, but it could get caught in the brake caliper mounting bracket(s) or between the brake caliper and the wheel, the latter especially if you've installed bigger brakes or different-sized wheels.

To be certain: look for scoring or other damage to your braking surfaces — that is, to your discs or to the inner surface of the drums (if it has drum brakes on the rear).

Brakes often have dust shields mounted on the inboard (towards the center of the car) side. If one of those is missing, that might allow gravel to get stuck in places where it might not otherwise.

Also consider the possibility that the gravel is getting caught in the suspension someplace, and then squealing when braking causes the suspension to move. Try looking under the car at the suspension and driveshafts. If you see dirt or small bits of gravel anywhere, that suggests a place where road debris can accumulate. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what you can do about this other than drive more slowly and try to kick up less gravel.

On the chance that the gravel isn't the culprit, consider these questions covering brake squeals:

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x2 for the gravel. I use to got some gravel between my dust cover and my rotor, and from time to time it was traveling in my caliper and grinding my disk. I've just finished replacing all my front axle, so no more dust cover(was rusted beyond salvaging point), new caliper and new rotors. –  Gabriel Mongeon Jul 27 '11 at 15:14
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William Cline has a point. When I worked at BMW, it was common for customers to have small pebbles caught in between the inboard side of the rotor and the dust shield. This would grind until the pebble wore out, or it was removed. Often the rotor would experience slight wear from the rubbing, but nothing to crazy.

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