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I have an approximately half year old 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid. If I am stopped when pressing the brake and turning the steering wheel, I hear noise coming apparently from the front brakes. If I release the brake and turn the steering wheel, there is no noise, but the car will slowly start to move forwards or backwards if the gear selector is on D or R (it's a hybrid so it emulates the operation of an automatic transmission). This "releasing the brake" test is an almost sure indication that the noise comes from brakes. The noise sounds like the front brake pads attempt to keep the brake rotor at the same position, but fail in doing so due to the steering. I haven't tested what happens if I press the brake very hard and steer at the same time. I have pressed the brake only with normal force that is sufficient to keep the car at standstill.

Is the noise an indication of something being wrong in the car?

Can something be damaged if I turn the steering wheel and press the brake at the same time, given the noise?

Other than the noise, the brakes function just in a normal manner, i.e. perfectly. I have absolutely zero complaints about the braking system in the car apart from the noise when steering at standstill.

Edit #1: I today pressed the brake pedal with light force, with the gear selector at R. Steering was at full lock to right. I turned the steering to the center; no sound. Then I continued turning the steering to full lock to left. Only in the very end did I hear the quiet creaking sound. Will do more investigations later. I suspect the force I usually press the brakes isn't enough to hold the brake rotor in the same position when turning the wheel, i.e. the force of turning overcomes the force of brake pads.

Edit #2: I repeated the test in Edit #1 but this time I pressed the brake pedal with a moderately high amount of force. Turning the steering from full right lock to full left lock produced no noise. So, the sound goes away if pressing the brake in a forceful manner. However, when I released the brake pedal after turning the steering wheel, I heard creaking noise. So, high force on the brake pedal doesn't eliminate the sound, it just delays it until the brake pedal is released.

  • What exactly is the noise (can you describe it well)? Or possibly can you get a video of it with decent sound quality? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 7 '17 at 20:12
  • I would think the word "creaking" describes it to the best manner I can do (had to look up the word in a dictionary to see it's the correct word). I'll see if I can capture the sound on a recording. It's not a very loud sound but can be heard inside the car. – juhist Jul 8 '17 at 8:05
  • Try putting the car in neutral and turning the wheel, with the brakes on, and with the pedal released. Is the sound still there? Try in neutral with the parking brake on, turn the wheel. Is it still there? I agree that you should also see what happens if you press the brake harder. Does it go away? – X-tech2 Jul 8 '17 at 15:39
  • Have you taken the vehicle back to the dealer? They may have a service bulletin or may have an answer for the noise. – cano Jul 9 '17 at 15:46
  • @cano I'll mention the issue during the next service, which isn't until few months later. Normally I wouldn't delay brake related issues, but as the braking system works perfectly at speed, the noise at standstill is just a minor annoyance. – juhist Jul 9 '17 at 16:03
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Now the car is a year and a month old and has 20 000 km on it. At the 15 000 km service, I told the dealers about the noise and they tested applying brakes lightly and turning the steering wheel at standstill on my car and also on a new but otherwise identical RAV4 hybrid. The result of this test is that the different RAV4 hybrid made also the same noises when operated in the same way.

So, this may be just a feature of the brakes in this car model. It still annoys me, but at least knowing that other similar cars have the same noise gives some comfort.

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