By October 15, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

Brakes Dragging and Sticking

My wife owns Nissan Altima with around 101k miles on it which I have done all the maintenance on. The left brakes were worn down to the metal after her neglect and I had to replace the left rotor and all brakes pads.

I got the rotor from a junkyard which was in great condition besides some minor rust. I sanded off the rust and left it a nice finish. When everything was put back together the brakes felt beautiful. After a month or two the left rotor now has two moderate grooves in it.

I have also noticed the car feels like the brakes are dragging and a pulsating squeal coming from the left wheel while driving the car and NOT applying brakes which goes away when you DO apply the brakes. I can only hear the sound while driving next to parked cars having the sound reflect off of them. The car does not pull.

The steering wheel does vibrate above 15 mph since this problem occurred. When you let off the gas you can feel the front end shift and speed drop abruptly. It’s not extremely noticeable but since I have drive this car all the time, I can feel difference. My guess would be a sticky caliper or a bad wheel bearing. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and love the site. Joey


Hi there Joey,


I would be suspicious of a bad front left brake caliper. After you have driven the vehicle a few miles get out and feel both front wheels ……..CAUTION……. they will both be hot …….but I want to know if one wheel is MUCH hotter than the other. If that is happening, you should replace the calipers. It is usually recommended that you replace both calipers at the same time. Check the brake hoses to make sure they are not all cracked up and that fluid easily comes out of them and there are no restrictions in the hoses.

You can probably buy inexpensive rebuilt LOADED calipers from your local auto parts store. “Loaded” means the calipers come pre- loaded with new brake pads, unloaded… .is without brake pads. Since they are rebuilt calipers you will be charged a ” core charge” until you bring your old calipers back to the store for exchange credit.


Austin Davis


Reader Update

Hey Austin

Well, it turned out to be the slider pins weren’t lubed properly and were sticking. After they were lubed everything working beautifully. Wish I would have checked that, would have saved me money on the caliper. Oh well, one less thing to buy in the future I guess. Thanks again for everything.


About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."