How Long Can You Drive on Grinding Brakes? (Explained!)

how long can you drive on driving brakes

As you start driving you notice your brakes grinding. You pull off to the side of the road, but it is still happening. You start to panic and wonder how long this can go on before you have to stop for good.

It is important to know how long brakes should grind before you should pull them up in order for them to be operational again. This blog post will tell you about braking systems what happens if your braking system starts grinding or squealing and how long can you drive on grinding brakes sit back and have a read!

How long can you drive on grinding brakes?

In short, on average you can drive 1500 miles with grinding brakes, long enough to help get you home to the nearest mechanic, but it would be smart to stop as soon as you can, the brakes grinding indicates that something is wrong with your braking system and thus will make it harder for you to break the more you drive on it.

Although the length of how long you can drive on grinding brakes vary from car to car and even from model year to model year, the general rule of thumb is you should be able to drive at least 1000 miles.  This is especially true on highway driving because there are a lot fewer stops and starts compared to city driving.

What Causes Grinding Brakes?

1. Worn brake pads:

if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving in your car, it is possible your brake pads are worn down. this will cause a grinding noise when you apply the brakes and have a very little bit.

The more you drive the more you going to need to break over time and the more your brake pads will wear down. When your pads are worn you will start to hear grinding sounds because now the metal on pads now have metal on metal contact causing the grinding sound.

2. Debris on Calipers or brake rotors:

If there is an accumulation of dirt, sand, or small rocks on your brake calipers or brake rotors, this will cause the pads to grind and make a screeching sound.

This is a more common problem when you drive in rural areas where there are lots of sand and debris-prone streets. If you have on the performance brakes there is no way for the debris to get onto your pads and calipers because there is usually enough space so that the brake dust can flow out freely.

Is driving with grinding brakes bad?

Yes, it is not recommended that you drive for a long time on grinding brakes.

If you drive for a long period of time on grinding brakes it can cause the whole braking system to fail to make It impossible to stop as a result it increases the chances of your vehicle not stopping on time which could lead to bumping into other vehicles or obstacles.

If you have to drive for a long period of time on grinding brakes it is wise to do so at low speeds avoid long distances and highways and take the vehicle to the nearest mechanic as soon as you can.

What to do if your brakes start making grinding sounds?


1. Continue driving but at lower speeds:

If your car has started to make grinding or screeching sounds from the brakes, the best time to get off the road is when you have a chance. if you are still on the highway out in traffic and your breaks start making grinding or screeching sounds it would be wise that you not apply your brakes completely and instead tap them lightly to slow down. Driver at lower speeds to the nearest garage and take the car to repair shop to have it fixed as soon as possible.

2. Keep distances from other cars:

If your car starts making grinding or screeching sounds, it is also a good idea to keep some distance from other cars. This is because if you have to stop suddenly and you have other cars in front of you it will not be a good thing. It would be better that you space out some distance from the next car so that you can have enough time to brake safely.

What happens if You drive longer with your brakes grinding?

If you drive with grinding brakes for a long period of time you can cause serious damage to your vehicle. As the metal on the brake pads wears down, you could end up wearing away at other parts of the braking system. This includes the friction material on brake rotors, bearings, and wheel cylinders and the supporting parts of your braking system could be damaged as well. In some more extreme cases, if too much metal from the brake pad is worn away, it can lead to a complete failure of your vehicle’s ability to stop.

How do I stop my brakes from grinding?

1. Change Your Brake Pads:

The number one cause of grinding noise when braking is worn pads. To ensure that your car stops when you need it to, be sure to change your brake pads, Most auto repair shops can change your brake pads for you, or you can do it yourself if you are a handy person by watching a few videos on youtube.

2. Clean the Calipers and Rotors:

On occasion, your brake pads can wear down and make grinding noises, but it is not the only thing that can cause this. To avoid this problem altogether you should also make sure to clean your brakes and brake calipers regularly. Wipe down the whole braking system with a degreaser to remove any dirt and grime.

3. Have a mechanic check for problems:

If changing brake pads does not solve the problem, you might have a bigger problem with your braking system that needs to be fixed by a professional mechanic. A mechanic will be able to spot other problems that are causing the grinding noise, whether this is a problem with your brake linings, rotors, wheel cylinders or another part of the braking system.

Temporary fix for grinding brakes

If you are looking for a temporary fix for grinding brakes then I recommend you use Brake pad shims. this is a little piece of metal or plastic that sits between your brake pads and wheel cylinder. these shims are basically a piece of concrete to help you brake better and last longer on your brakes.

How much does it cost to fix grinding brakes on a Car?

The average cost for repairing grinding brakes at the dealership is $900, $400 if you take the car to a small auto repair shop, and $250 if you do the repairs yourself.


This is a simple guide about grinding brakes that will help you understand what grinding sounds mean, what causes them and how to fix them.

I hope this article will help you better understand your braking system and how to fix it if your car starts making grinding noises when you drive. please let me know if there is anything that I can do to improve this article, I would love to hear from you.


Jimmy Mitchell is an electric vehicle aficionado who has been following the space since Tesla first hit the scene. A longtime proponent of sustainable transportation, Jimmy was one of the first to buy a Tesla 3 as soon as it came out. He loves nothing more than helping others learn about and enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles. When he's not evangelizing about EVs, Jimmy enjoys spending time with his family and travelling throughout south east asia

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