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Update: both rear calipers seized and the pads were dragging on the rotors. One of them was worn down almost to the backing plate which was causing the noise.


I have a squealing noise coming from the front of the car while driving:

https://youtu.be/e8jWk88JDhA

It happens while driving on a smooth road as you can see in the video, and it stops immediately when I brake, even slightly.

I do have a bad ball joint boot and I'll be replacing that, but it feels like this noise here could be something else - I'd think the ball joint would clunk or squeak when going over bumps, whereas this is constant and corresponds directly to wheel rotation speed.

Could it just be the brake wear indicator? Or maybe something like wheel bearings?

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    It could possibly be caused by a small stone trapped by the brake caliper, and scraping on the disk. This would occasionally happen on Skodas (VAG mechanics) I owned. The solution was to loosen the caliper so that the stone can drop free and retighten. Jul 19, 2023 at 10:28

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Yes, it sounds like a brake wear indicator and it does not sound like a wheel bearing. It's easy enough to check by taking a peek at the brake pads to see if they are nearly worn down.

You didn't say what vehicle this is, but your linked post mentions an old VW. Some old VWs (including mine) also have an electrical contact built into one of the brake pads. When the pad has worn down to a "replace me" thickness, the contact touches the brake disk and turns on the dashboard brake light. So don't be surprised if the brake light comes on soon.

This is not an emergency, but it's a suggestion that brake service should be scheduled soon.

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  • We used to call them "singers", since they have a particular tone.
    – user58368
    Oct 26, 2023 at 22:42

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