Making brake noises might hurt your marriage, but not your car.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 2005

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband has a habit that drives me crazy. When we're stopped at a traffic light or a stop sign, he eases his foot off the brake just enough to make an annoying grinding noise (he doesn't let it off enough to enter the intersection or hit the car in front of him). The sound really gets on my nerves. I haven't been able to get him to stop doing this. Is he harming the brakes or the car?

-- Lianne

RAY: Sadly, he's not harming anything except his marriage, Lianne.

TOM: One day when your husband was but a lad, he was taking a bath, and he discovered that if he held his right hand over his left armpit in just such a way, he could then flap his left arm and create a sound much like flatulence. He was deeply amused by this.

RAY: And now, many years later, he's amusing himself by making farting noises with the brakes.

TOM: He's not doing any harm. When you're stopped, each pair of brake pads is squeezing the disc rotor between them. If you release the pressure on the pads just a little bit, they'll make a little noise as they "jerk" or skip along the surface of the rotor. You can do the same kind of thing with your finger and the top of a Coke bottle.

RAY: So the "You're harming the brakes, moron" argument won't work here, Lianne. Skip right to the "You're ticking me off, moron" argument. And if necessary, accompany that with an occasional dope slap. It might work over time, Lianne. Best of luck.

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