My 2007 Toyota Corolla has been having an odd issue. When the car is moving, even slowly, I hear something that sounds like rubbing, and as I go faster, there is a vibration that starts as though a tire or other spinning surface is rubbing against something at a specific point in its travel.

I first noticed it when the weather was warmer, around April. I know I needed a front brake pad replacement so I went ahead and did that. When I was removing the pads on the driver's side I noticed that the pad was not worn evenly, as in one side of the pad was more worn than the other. I wasn't in a position to do much diagnosis so I went ahead and replaced the pads. More recently I have also replaced the caliper slide pins and lubed them well to hopefully resolve the uneven wear issue.

The noise persists. Just a few days ago I started noticing a mild squeaking sound when the car is moving forward very slowly with no brake application. It pulses, which leads me to believe the rotor could be warped, however there is little to no change in vibration when I hit the pedal even at highway speeds, though there IS an increase in the loudness of the rumbling sound. I have checked for play in both front wheels and none exists, so I am ruling out wheel bearings. I am wondering if I have a combination of bad/noisy tires and a warped brake rotor, but before I start disassembling anything else or buying more parts, I wanted to ask those more knowledgeable.... what is the issue??

  • Its not by any chance, the wheels rubbing against the wheel arches is it? If so, maybe there is something wrong with you suspension.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 15:32
  • 1
    I'd bet you are still looking at something brake related. I'd go back over it with a fine tooth comb and make sure you aren't missing something. Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


Just to be clear there is a lot that could be wrong with this car. For starters when you took apart the front brakes and replaced the side pins and lubricated them did you check that the piston was able to be pushed back into the caliper? Have you tried bleeding the brakes? Could be that a hose or line is screwed up causing pressure to be applied even when you are not applying the brake.

When it pulses are you feeling it in your seat or the pedal? If felt in the seat its the rear brakes, if felt in the pedal its the front brakes.

If your rotors were not replaced when you replaced the pads you will most likely have a problem, brake pads need to be bedded into new surfaces, so if the rotor wasn't turned on a lathe probably another problem area.

A true way to eliminate wheel bearings is when driving 50 miles an hour with the windows closed and radio off start to steer left to right slightly and listen for any noise difference. In order for this to work properly you will need to have good tires, with no cupping. If when steering to the left you hear more noise you have a bad RIGHT wheel bearing, and the opposite is true for when steering to the right you have a bad Left wheel bearing


I wanted to follow up on this since it appears I never did. It ended up that the tires were actually that noisy, which is surprising as they were only about 50-60% through their serviceable lifetime. Apparently Corollas are built thin enough that they are very sensitive to road noise from tires. Replacing the tires with higher quality ones ended up solving the noise issue.

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