Scraping Noise From Brakes…Caused by Washers?

At first glance it looked like a pretty typical repair order: scraping noise from the rear of a Honda Accord. Most likely going to be rear brakes, with a good chance of needing calipers as well due to the parking brake design. But when I checked the service history, the brakes had been done very recently.

When I got the car up on the lift and took the rear wheels off, I quickly found the problem. The brakes and calipers were fine. The scraping noises were caused by washers stuck between the rotors and backing plates. There was one on the left side, and two on the right.

These aren’t just any washers, these are actually the special spacer washers that are supposed to go between the caliper bracket and the knuckle. They have little tabs that are supposed to keep them in place, but I have had them fall out while working on brakes before.

What I’m surprised by is that it had been a few months since the last work was done on the brakes. I would think that if the washers had fallen out during service, they would’ve started making noise right away. There is the chance that the car’s owner just didn’t bother bringing it back in right away, but when you have a strange noise right after any service work, you should take it right back to the shop that worked on it.

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