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!