How Long Can You Drive On Grinding Brakes? (Is It Safe)

As a car owner, you can never avoid mechanical problems in your car. Grinding brakes is certainly one of the most common problems among those. In general, drivers often hear an unsettling noise coming from the vehicle system when they press the brake paddle.

Grinding brakes are not only annoying but also a cause for concern. They indicate an issue with your vehicle’s braking system that should never be taken lightly. 

However, as you may need to reach your destination, you may need to know how long can you drive on grinding brakes. In this article, we will discuss everything regarding grinding brakes and how far can you go. So without any further ado, let’s get started. 

How Long Can You Drive On Grinding Brakes

How Long Can You Drive on Grinding Brakes?

As already mentioned, the grinding noise you hear indicates something is wrong with your braking system. If you’re driving with grinding brakes;

  • You can usually manage to travel approximately 1,000-1,500 miles with it during an emergency. 
  • However, it’s not recommended to travel at all with grinding brakes.

Continuing to drive with grinding brakes can lead to more extensive damage and make it increasingly challenging to brake effectively. Therefore, the longer you persist with grinding brakes, the greater the risk to your safety.

Here, the mentioned 1,000-1,500 mile distance is a standard one. We suggest you determine the distance in case of an emergency only by considering the below factors in terms of safe driving on grinding brakes.

The Severity of the Issue

The Severity of the Issue

The severity of the grinding brakes will significantly impact how long you can continue driving. Simply put, if you hear the grinding noise in a large interval and the noise is mild, you can go for a longer distance. 

If the grinding is constant, loud, or accompanied by other symptoms, you must drive to the nearby auto repair shop.

Read Also: What Causes Grinding Brakes Noise At Low Speed? – Fix Now

Your Driving Efficiency

Your Driving Efficiency

You must keep in mind that driving on grinding brakes poses risks to driving safety. If your driving skill is high enough and capable of handling sudden braking hazards, keep on driving. 

But, if you are a new driver with no experience in how to deal with a dysfunctional brake promptly, we advise going for repair work as soon as possible. 

Further Damage

Further Damage

Well, even though the theory says that you can drive more than 1,000 miles on grinding brakes, it eventually causes major damage. Continuing to drive with grinding brakes can exacerbate the problem, which will require a significant amount of repair work. 

We are trying to tell you that the distance is your call. You must have adequate financial preparation if there is major damage after driving 1,000 miles or more.

Driving Conditions

Driving Conditions

The duration and distance you can drive on grinding brakes also depend on your driving conditions. Factors like speed, traffic density, road terrain, and weather conditions can influence how quickly the issue worsens and how long you can safely continue driving.

Read Also: How Long Can You Drive Without Brake Pads? – Is It Safe

What to Do If You Have Grinding Brakes While Driving?

If you hear a grinding noise coming from the braking system, follow the below steps.

Step 01: It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when you hear grinding brakes, especially when you are driving on national highways. But it’s crucial to stay calm and focused. Any sort of sudden reaction increases the risk of accidents. Maintain control over your vehicle and keep your attention on the road.

Step 02: Gradually reduce your speed to minimize the load on the braking system. Give yourself plenty of space by increasing the following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead.

Step 03: Look for the nearest safe spot to pull over, such as a parking lot, rest area, or the side of the road.

Step 04: Once you have safely parked, turn off the engine.

Step 05: Perform a physical inspection of the car’s braking system grinding issue. Then consider the above-mentioned four factors. And decide on whether you should complete your long journey on grinding brakes or take the vehicle first to the nearest auto shop.

Read Also: Why Is Brake Pad Rubbing On Rotor? – How To Stop!

Common Causes of Grinding Brakes and Solutions

Below table points out the causes of grinding brakes and respective solutions.

Worn Brake PadsRegularly inspect and replace brake pads (Our Pick) according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
Rotor DamageConsult with a professional mechanic for machining or replacing the damaged rotor
Caliper IssuesRepair or replace the faulty caliper
Contaminated Brake SystemPerform a brake system flush to remove any contaminants
Loose or Misaligned Brake ComponentsHave a professional inspect and tighten all loose components
Lack of LubricationApply the appropriate lubricant recommended

Check out this YouTube video to stop grinding your car’s brakes: 


Here, we answer some of the most common questions.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Grinding Brakes On A Car?

It depends on the root cause of the grinding brakes. In the case of brake pad replacement, it will cost you around $115-$300. For rotor work, the costs range from $120-$400 per axel. For Caliper work, the cost is $150-$500.

Are There Any Warning Signs Before The Brakes Start Grinding?

Yes, there are usually warning signs before the brakes start grinding. These can include squealing or squeaking noises when applying the brakes, reduced braking performance, etc.

Final Words

We expect that you will find the detailing on how long can you drive on grinding brakes helpful. While it may be possible to cover a distance of around 1,500 miles before seeking professional help, it’s crucial to understand that this is not a recommended or safe practice.

As car enthusiasts, we never support you drive your vehicle with degraded braking conditions. Especially if you are on the highway crossing states, it is better to visit the nearby car repair shop as soon as possible.

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