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Discussion Starter #1
Hello.

I don’t usually ask my own questions, but this one has me stumped.

For probably three years, my wife’s 2011 Malibu LTZ Flex Fuel has made a god awful squeaking after it has been driven for a little while. It seems to be in a round-type issue as it will squeak and then pause, squeak and then pause as if it were attributed to a tire spinning. Some of the times, it’s worse than others. Occasionally it will squeak continually. USUALLY when it happens, it only squeaks when the brakes are NOT applied. Applying the brakes generally makes it go away. On a rare occasion, it seems to happen with applying the brakes.

Over the last few months, it has started having some seriously strong brake vibration after the car has been driven for awhile. I assumed that I must have a bad rotor, so I replaced the front rotors. It was fine for a month or so and the vibration is back again.

Could the vibration and squeak be related? Could this be attributed to a bad caliper? Any ideas would be incredibly appreciated. I’ve been chasing that squeak for so long.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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I modified the title a bit to include the year and trim that you share in the post. This may help others to who come along later.

Until I read that you replaced the rotors, I was thinking a splash shield was rubbing up against a rotor that might be the source of the squeak.

Does the vibration happen only when braking, or at all times when it's happening?

You might try putting the trans in N when the vibration or squeak happens to see if it changes.

You can also pick a safe time and/or place to apply a little bit of the parking brake, but remember that you have to release your foot and then press again to release it if it stays engaged. By picking a safe place I mean that you are away from traffic, so if you have any issues keeping the car under control you will pose little or no risk to other motorists.
 

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Bad caliper would make pads drag, check for excessive wear on the inside pads. Caliper pins like to bind and also wear inside pads. Pins binding is the most common issue. Because you said noise stops when brakes are applied I would look there first. Check pad ears for rust/binding also.
Dragging pads will heat up rotors after driving and start to warp them causing braking vibration.
I found on my old '09 the rubber bushings on the caliper pins would swell and cause pins to bind even when rust free and well lubed with proper caliper lube. I just ground down the ''rubbers'' some so they were free to move in/out. This happened front and rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have checked the splash shield thinking the same thing. Sadly, it was not the culprit. Yes, the vibration happens only when braking and only after the car has been driven awhile. It will not vibrate until after the car has been driven for a bit and the vibration is very strong. Like, strong enough that you want to remove your foot from the brake and apply it again a few times to guarantee a good stop. What would I be testing for with the parking brake application?

I believe that I replaced the pins on the front calipers if I remember correctly. By pad ears, you mean the parts that stick into the little removable brake bracket/shim type thing? So, those rubber bushings on the pins aren’t supposed to cause much friction? That is a possible issue there. I believe, if I recall correctly, that that issue has been experienced. I’ll have to check on those. I just always assumed that they were meant to do that and that the pins were meant to drag some. Would a dragging pad be the culprit for the squeak?
 

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I have checked the splash shield thinking the same thing. Sadly, it was not the culprit. Yes, the vibration happens only when braking and only after the car has been driven awhile. It will not vibrate until after the car has been driven for a bit and the vibration is very strong. Like, strong enough that you want to remove your foot from the brake and apply it again a few times to guarantee a good stop. What would I be testing for with the parking brake application?
If the rear brakes are the source of the vibration.

I believe that I replaced the pins on the front calipers if I remember correctly. By pad ears, you mean the parts that stick into the little removable brake bracket/shim type thing? So, those rubber bushings on the pins aren’t supposed to cause much friction? That is a possible issue there. I believe, if I recall correctly, that that issue has been experienced. I’ll have to check on those. I just always assumed that they were meant to do that and that the pins were meant to drag some. Would a dragging pad be the culprit for the squeak?
The ears of the pads are the ends where you put the pads into the caliper.
 

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Yes some dragging pads will squeak. Those caliper pins should move in/out very freely, any binding will cause excessive pad drag.
 

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I just ground down the rubber on the pins on the grinder. They just are noise dampers, I'm too cheap to buy new pins just for that. I was surprised how much they swelled and were binding on my car.
 
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