Brakes which start grinding or scraping

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If your brakes start making a grinding, scraping or hissing noise, check the brake blocks immediately. They will either be worn right down to the metal, or there will be a small stone or piece of glass embedded in the rubber material of the brake block.

Worn blocks must be replaced immediately. Continued use of a brake block which is completely worn out will very quickly wear out your wheel rim as well, a much more expensive problem to repair.

Debris in the brake block can normally be removed fairly easily using the tip of a very small screwdriver or similar. Often a stone or piece of glass will be obvious and can just be scraped away. But sometimes the brake block will look as though it has small flecks of metal embedded in its surface: these are in fact an accumulation of aluminium rubbed off the wheel rim by some piece of debris lodged underneath. Scrape these off the brake block as well as the offending stone or piece of glass underneath.

If the brakes have been grinding for a while and you have worn a groove into your wheel rim, get it checked immediately. A worn out wheel rim is not strong enough to safely support the pressure of a fully inflated tyre and can crack or even explode.

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