Dear Doctor: I have a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 138,000 miles. The car is well maintained. In the last few months I have heard what sounds like a metal-to-metal scraping sound from the front when I apply the brakes. I have had the brakes checked by two different shops and they are OK. One mechanic said it could be a worn bushing given the age of the car. What do you think? If I don’t get it fixed will it eventually damage the car? Sam
Dear Sam: You need to have a technician pull the wheels and check the brake pad, and rear shoes if equipped. Today’s brake friction material does not have any asbestos, which had a quieting feature and also acted as a lubricant to braking. The friction material used today has either ceramic or metallic material imbedded into the friction material. This friction material will cause some noise under some conditions. In most cases there are no safety concerns.