Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up – What to Do?

We often hear one problem on our comment board: “my brakes make grinding noise when backing up.” We decided to share the key reasons why this happens and what you should do to stop it.

It is a safety concern when you hear grinding noise while driving the vehicle or applying the brake anytime. Similarly, even if the brakes make a grinding noise when backing up is also to be addressed at the earliest. 

The reason behind this can be the internal functioning issues of the brake pads, which can get risky at any time. 

While reversing, hearing a noise from the brakes indicates a severe issue as it may affect the ability to stop your vehicle. If your brakes make a grinding noise when backing up, then immediately go for professional help to address this issue.


Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

What Is The Mechanism Behind The Functioning Of The Brakes?

Before understanding the reason for grinding noise while reversing, one should know the functioning mechanism of the brakes. There are two types of brake- drum, and disc. Most of the vehicles have a disc brake on the vehicle’s front axle. 

The components of the disc brake are:

  • Calipers
  • Rotors
  • Pads

The components of the drum brake are:

  • Wheel cylinders
  • Drums
  • Shoes

Whatever the brakes are, be it drum, or disc in your vehicle, they have a master cylinder. When the driver presses the brake pedal, there will be a hydraulic pressure created. 

The brake fluid will pass out of the cylinder and through the brake lines. This brake fluid will apply pressure on the wheels, and the vehicle slows down or comes to a halt.   

Why Do My Brakes Make A Noise When I Reverse?

Some may come across noises from the brake only when they try to stop their vehicle. But every single time, this is not the reason or issue, or the noise is only while stopping the vehicle; you may even come across the noise when you reverse the car. This may be an indication of a severe safety issue affecting the functioning of the brake. The reason for the noises can be:


Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

Wearing out of the brake pads

When the brake pads wear out and rub against the car rotor, they can make noise while reversing. The noise from the brakes can be screeching or a clicking sound. The brake linings or the friction material may wear out, and the brake rotor can rub against the brake pads. This type of metal contact while the brake is applied creates a grinding noise. The grinding noise is loud and heard only when applying the brakes, so it is easy to identify the reason. The noise may be heard either from the front or the rear. 

Presence of moisture on the brake’s rotor

When the moisture sits on the rotor for a long time for almost a night, then the brakes will start making a grinding sound when you try to reverse the vehicle. This issue will be addressed when you use the brakes multiple times or when the moisture wears off.

Presence of pebbles between the rotor plates: 

When you do not notice the gravel between the rotor plates and start driving and trying to reverse the vehicle, you may hear a grinding sound. This is because of the friction due to pebbles and rotor plates in the car.

Out of all the above reasons, wearing off the brake pads is the main one, and we come across many cases like this. Let us see in detail about the brake pads:


Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

What Is The Reason For Wearing Out Of The Brake Pads?

You can compare brake pads to soap bars. Over time and based on the usage of the soap bars, it will get used up, and, similarly, after regular usage, the brake pads will wear out and have to be addressed. 

How To Fix The Brake Pads?

When you hear a grinding noise from the brakes, do not drive further and call for professional help. If the help is not available, get your vehicle towed to the nearby mechanic shop. 

Most of the time, it will just take the replacement of the brake pads; this will prevent the grinding of the rotors further. So, once you replace the pads, you can keep the rotors in use. 

But if you do not acknowledge the grinding noise while reversing and continue to postpone the replacement of the brake pads, you may have to replace the rotors and some other parts of the car. So, addressing grinding brakes while reversing is a simple brake job if done early. 

The Common Noises Which You May Hear While Reversing The Vehicle

  • Rattling or Clattering 
  • Squealing or squeaking 
  • Grinding

The reasons for these noises may vary. Let us see what they are and how to address them. 


Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

Rattling or Clattering 

If the brakes make a rattling sound while reversing, it is because of the warped rotors. When an uneven contact is made with brake pads, it will give out a rattling noise, and vibration of the steering wheel may also be heard. 

If the hardware bits like pads, shims, and anti-rattle clips are missing, rattling noise can be heard. To address these issues, measure if the rotors have minimum thickness and if you find any variation, then replace the rotors. 

If hardware bits are the issue, replace them, and apply some lubrication for smooth functioning while reversing the vehicle. 

Squealing or squeaking 

When brakes are overheated during the drive, then they may make a squealing noise. Get them checked if it continues. Also, when cheap friction materials are used, then the noise may occur. To address this issue, replace them with good quality material. 

Replace the brake pads if they are worn out and make a squealing noise. Check for debris under the brake pads and rotor with the help of a mechanic and get it removed. Wearing out drums or rotors can also lead to noise. 

Replacing them will help address this issue. Lack of lubrication can be one of the reasons for the squealing noise, which can be addressed using lubricators. 


Metal-to-metal contact because of worn-out brake pads is one of the reasons for grinding noise. Replace the brake pads to address the grinding noise while reversing. 

During replacement, other damages to the brake pads can also be estimated. The sticking caliper will force the brake pads against the rotor, causing a grinding noise. 

To address this issue, remove the calipers and grease them to avoid the grinding noise while reversing. 


Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up

When Brakes Make Grinding Noise When Backing Up, Make Sure To Get Them Checked!

In order to avoid any accidents, the driver has to be extra conscious when he makes use of anything in the car and starts driving in the car. 

If you are a regular driver, you may have faced this issue of brakes make a grinding noise when backing up. As a solution for this, you must stop driving and get the issue addressed at the earliest. 

See this article for evaluating other reasons for the grinding noise and methods to address grinding noise while reversing. 

In case you were in such a situation before and have used any of our methodologies or have gained information from our article. Do let us know through your comments!

Happy Driving!


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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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