Squeaking noise while driving when brake pedal is not even touched? - North American Motoring

Squeaking noise while driving when brake pedal is not even touched?

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Old 03-08-2011, 11:18 AM
GettingIt GettingIt is offline
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Squeaking noise while driving when brake pedal is not even touched?


I'm not sure which forum this belongs in. I'm looking for advices and comments from Mini owners and expert technicians who may be able to give more ideas.

I have had my 2007 Mini Coupe (just the basic one) for about 3-1/2 years now. Since about a year ago (just a few weeks before the Mini free maintenance expired), my car has been making squealing/squeaking noise. I'm going to use the term "squeak" below but consider it also as "squeal".

The squeaking noise is similar to what you'd hear when your car's brakes squeak as you brake to stop/slow down your car.

The big difference with what I've been hearing from my car is that the squeaking noise is audible when I'm driving with my foot on the gas pedal, i.e. with the brake pedal not even touched. It's been heard/observed under different conditions (cold, warm, hot weather), speeds (20, 30, 50, 60, 65 mph), and road conditions (smooth, bumpy, local, and freeway).

When 3 people in the car first heard this last year, it was happening rarely that we couldn't figure out how to reproduce it. The 3 of us heard it as coming from the right rear side of the car.

I brought the car to Mini of Mountain View (recently moved to San Jose) early April 2010. Drew (foreman) test drove the car and we couldn't reproduce it. I left the car for a week for them to reproduce. Supposedly one technician was to test drive it for his commute as I gave them the permission they requested to put about 40 to 50 miles on it. Peter Smee, one of the Mini advisors, also drove it for one of his lunches. They couldn't hear/reproduce the noise. Of course, when I picked up the car, as soon as I exited from their parking lot, I heard a brief squeak as I made a turn onto the road.

The squeaking has since become more and more apparent and we've observed even instances of the noise happening for a long stretch, e.g. for half a mile, continuously.

Some time during the Summer 2010, I noticed that the squeaking would occur more frequently as I make a slight turn of the steering wheel to the left (either to avoid pot holes on the road or to follow curvy roads). I've also noticed the squeaking to happen when making a slight right turn of the steering wheel but not as much as making a slight left turn.

I felt it was more easily reproducible at that time and became more and more reproducible during the next few months.

I brought the car in again to MoMV in December 2010 and, as luck would have it, my appointment fell on a rainy day. Even though I heard a slight squeak on the way to MoMV, I couldn't reproduce it while Drew (foreman) was in the passenger seat without me test driving it. Drew explained some possibilities, including road conditions. He also mentioned that even though the noise may seem to come from the right rear that the culprit could be elsewhere and the sound just traveling and coming out from seemingly right rear area.

As the squeaking happened mostly when I slightly turned the steering wheel, I asked Drew if it could be due to the new front brakes that MoMV replaced in February/March 2010, i.e. about a month or so before we first started noticing the noise and he said that wasn't possible. They didn't touch my rear brakes at that time because I had a few thousand miles before their system would allow the rear brakes to be replaced under the free maintenance program. He also mentioned that it could be when the brake sensor is worn out.

As I didn't renew/extend the maintenance agreement with Mini past the free maintenance that expired in April 2010, it would cost me some $ for them to look at the problem, even though it was first noticed before the free maintenance expired.

We just made a long trip this past weekend and the squeaking noise was continuously audible as I was driving on a freeway (880), probably a good 2 to 3 mile stretch, as well as during other parts of the trip.

Some questions that I think may help me understand the course of action:

1. Has other Mini owners/technicians experienced the same problem with squeaking nosie when the brake pedal wasn't even stepped on?

2. What are the possibilities of what could be causing such a squeaking noise with the conditions/symptoins I mentioned (mostly when slightly turning the steering wheel to the left)?

3. How would you recommend that I follow up with Mini (not MoMV the dealership) regarding this as the 4-year warranty still hasn't expired even though I don't have any extended maintenance agreement?

4. Other constructive advices/comments that people may have out there?

Shortly after I bought the car (less than 2000 miles used by the first owner), I brought the car in to MoMV as I heard a high-pitched noise coming from the driver-side door area where the window meets the center/"B" pillar. The noise was very annoying as it's basically next to my ear while I'm driving the car. During the course to "fix" that problem by "adjusting" the door, MoMV managed to break the motor mechanism that raises/lowers the driver seat window. They did replace it. I thought it would be a simpler procedure to replace the rubber gasket as I still think that's what was causing the problem. Nonetheless, the high-pitched noise didn't come back but now I just hear more wind noise from that area, so I think they just made whatever "gap" was there to be wider.

During that first visit to MoMV, I also brought up the issue about wind noise in general coming from the sun/moon roof. I also thought that was because of the rubber gasket. Jennifer (MoMV forewoman) who test drove my car simply dismissed it as usual/regular noise with Mini Cooper. A year or so later when I brought the car in for rattling noises, Drew (foreman) noticed that same wind noise from the sun/moon roof area and they finally fixed it and it's been much quieter.

As for the rattling, I pointed out to them that the noise was mainly coming from the ventilation on the dashboard above that huge speedometer on the center. I just thought there was something loose inside that needed to be tightened up. When I picked up my car, I learned that something supposedly was broken inside and that it's not an uncommon problem and they replaced the top part of the dashboard. The rattling noises continue to persist even after that "fix"/work.

This is my first European car and definitely hasn't given me a good impression. I've had Japanese and American cars before that didn't have to be brought in for repairs other than for manufacturer recalls. The number of visits I made to MoMV in a short time frame had exceeded the total number of visits I made to dealerships of all my previous cars. I feel like I got a lemon Mini.

Thank you for reading this long post and for your help.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:23 AM
gsking gsking is offline
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My left rear brake has started doing a similar thing. Must be something in the Silicon Valley water.

A quick check shows that the pad is worn down. I'm waiting for new pads to install and see what happens. I'm hoping it's a result of either a wear indicator or just what happens when the pads get worn down/loose?

It varies from quiet to very noisy, with lots of variation within a short period of time. It changes significantly when the car is turned, which makes me worry something is loose...like the whole disc/hub is moving left/right relative to the caliper/car.

Pulling up the e-brake quiets the noise.

The electronic wear indicator is allegedly on the right rear tire, and (if I have one) it hasn't turned on. I haven't checked that wheel to see the condition of the pads. The front pads look fine (may have been replaced before I bought it at 33k miles).

Let me know what you think.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:38 AM
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SWAgoat SWAgoat is offline
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I know you have gone to MINI with this but who knows what they did to your brakes. If they do not put a certain lube or shim under the brake pad, even new brakes can squeak. Could also be a bearing on one of your wheels. Again lube for the bearing could make it go away.
Start with the new brakes since that's when you noticed it and work your way out or in to bearings or suspension. Since it only happens when you are moving it's not any engine thing so drive train is my suspect.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:03 PM
GettingIt GettingIt is offline
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Thank you for the replies Greg/gsking and SWAgoat.

I brought the car in one last time to Mini of Stevens Creek before the warranty expired. I brought it in for this squeaking noise as well as other rattling noises. Drew said he'd look at the squeaking noise and test drive the car. I showed him videos where you can clearly hear the squeaking noise at different speeds. I left the car for a day or two and learned that they were done with dampening the rattling noises. I also learned that they never looked at the squeaking noise issue saying that if I replace the brakes and the squeaking still happens that I can bring the car back. At some point, Drew did say that it's most likely the brake sensor that's causing the squeaking noise (didn't get how/why clarified).

I haven't driven the car much since (the entire Summer) as I've been out of the country but will soon need to change the rear brakes (pads and rotors).

My brother bought me Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads.

Any suggestions on brand/model for the rear rotors? I don't need high performance ones and am wondering if anybody would have commenets about the Beck Arnley 083-2985 ( http://www.amazon.com/Beck-Arnley-08...dp/B001KSEJP8/ ) or Raybestos Advanced Technology ( http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1792238 ) or Centric ( http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1625528 ) that some technicians gave me quotes for. Are they really bad that they're only 1/5 or even less the cost of the performance ones like the higher EBC models? Any Mini owner with experience with either the Beck Arnley or Raybestos or Centric rotors?

What would the brand/model recommendation be for under $50 per rear rotor?
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:13 PM
vulcanman vulcanman is offline
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Did you have any luck?

I just sent you a PM.

I have the same symptoms with my car ... even the one where it makes the sound when I slightly steer to the left when driving.

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:20 PM
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aleclee aleclee is offline
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I once had a car with a similar issue. It particularly happened when turning but stoped when I'd step on the brakes. Turned out to be a loose caliper. The pad would sometimes touch the rotor, particularly when turning. When I'd step on the brakes, things would then be properly aligned and the noise would stop.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:41 PM
miniblucabrio miniblucabrio is offline
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I had this problem with mine. Turned out it was a caliper hanging up.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:06 PM
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I have this exact problem with my 2008 R56, which now has 68,000 miles. Can hear an almost metal on metal squeal at any speed, even coasting in the driveway at 1 mph. Totally unrelated to breaking. Seems to be mostly on the right rear side. I'll pull the wheel this weekend and have a look see (assuming something catastrophic doesn't happen at 80 mph between then and now).
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:57 PM
GettingIt GettingIt is offline
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Originally Posted by vulcanman View Post
Did you have any luck?

I just sent you a PM.

I have the same symptoms with my car ... even the one where it makes the sound when I slightly steer to the left when driving.

Sorry, I don't log in that often to NAM and just replied to your PM yesterday.

The squeaking/squealing noise in your YouTube is exactly like how I heard it with my Mini.

For others who may be experiencing the same, it turned out that the right rear brake pad sensor was the culprit. Once that's taken care of, there's no more of that high-pitched squeaking/squealing. The brake pads and rotors were still good.
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