Something gets frozen and makes a horrible grinding noise - driver's front wheel area
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This is a discussion on Something gets frozen and makes a horrible grinding noise - driver's front wheel area within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; My car isn't a stranger to the dirt and I've never had any problems. A couple weeks ago I drove ...

  1. #1
    Registered User etnpnys's Avatar
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    Exclamation Something gets frozen and makes a horrible grinding noise - driver's front wheel area

    My car isn't a stranger to the dirt and I've never had any problems. A couple weeks ago I drove up to the snow, staying on the roads the whole time, and after a while in the freezing cold outside I started hearing a crazy squeal coming from somewhere around the driver's front wheel. Sound went away when I applied the brakes enough to turn on the brake lights and came back as soon as I let off of the pedal. With all the salt and junk on the road, I figured a pebble or something flung up and got wedged somewhere on or near the caliper or something. I asked the dealership to check it out later that week and they agreed that I probably had something small get wedged in there. It kinda sounds like something grinding on the rotor shield: high pitched, metal grinding sound.

    So I thought nothing of it and drove it for a while again. Then this weekend I went back up to the snow. Driving on the roads again in about 30degree weather and the sound started happening again! So I've never kicked up anything while in the dirt, but I coincidentally do both times in freezing temperatures? I think not. So what could it be then?
    • frozen brake pads?
    • frozen brake fluid doing something?
    • salt on the road doing something weird?
    • something on the rotor or rotor shield?
    • maybe my brake pads are low enough that something in the cold is causing it? (I have 22k miles on the car)

    For what it's worth, I put mud flaps on the week before I first heard the sound. I don't think it's really related, but I'm throwing that out there. A little direction would be great appreciated!
    "Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."
    -Van Helsing, from Bram Stoker's ​Dracula

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    Moderator rage-wrx's Avatar
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    It is likely snow in the wheel well. Snow stuck on the suspension can cause the steering to vibrate & the car to handle strangely. There usually is no squeal though.
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    Registered User etnpnys's Avatar
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    Hmm. I'm assuming you mean snow getting built up in the wheel wells to the point where something is rubbing on it? That's the thing though - I wasn't driving *in* the snow yet - I was driving *up to* the snow. The sound actually freaked me out so bad the first time that I pulled over, stuck my phone into the wheel well and snapped a few pictures... Here they are if it helps at all.


    "Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."
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    \_(ツ)_/ Rambo's Avatar
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    Looking at all the gravel on the suspension linkages, I'll bet a small piece of dirt or rock kicked up and got wedged between a pad and the rotor.

    I had a small twig do that once, and the car started screaming bloody murder. It sounded like I'd poured gravel in the transmission, and then run somebody over. It scared me so bad, I nearly called a tow trunk. Then I noticed the twig sticking out of the wheel. Pulled the twig out, and I was good to go.
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  6. #5
    Registered User etnpnys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambo View Post
    Looking at all the gravel on the suspension linkages, I'll bet a small piece of dirt or rock kicked up and got wedged between a pad and the rotor.
    That's exactly what I was thinking the first time it happened. Coincidence, sure, that it never happened in the dirt. But the second time? Same coincidence? The correlation is that both times it happened it was sub-freezing outside. Not in the dirt, only on the roads, only when freezing, and even the same wheel? Maybe I should check the spacing between my pads and rotors on that wheel? Or check the rotor shield on the inside?

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to discredit your theory because it's exactly what I thought also. What you two have done, though, is let me know that this isn't some known issue that I just somehow missed through the threads.
    "Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."
    -Van Helsing, from Bram Stoker's ​Dracula

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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Is that just water all over the suspension components?
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  8. #7
    Registered User etnpnys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie13 View Post
    Is that just water all over the suspension components?
    Most likely, yes. I park in a tiled garage floor at home and nothing leaks.

    The roads were kicking up all kinds of craziness though - I'll say that. I think driving in the dirt is probably less hard on the car, really...
    "Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."
    -Van Helsing, from Bram Stoker's ​Dracula

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