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I've recently had my brakes replaced on the front tires of my Ford Explorer XLT. Now the front left brake intermittently grinds when I slow down and then a generic sensor flashes on. I've had them inspected by Firestone and they say the brakes look good. I'm concerned the brakes are unsafe. Help!

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in. The brakes on your car are the number one safety feature, and you do not want to take any chances with them. Get a second inspection and a second opinion as soon as possible. Make sure that the technician gets an opportunity to hear, see, and feel the braking issue for themselves. Since the issue is intermittent, the technicians at Firestone may not have actually experienced the issue. The braking system has the potential to fall our of alignment, get something stuck between the pads and rotors, and several other issues with the hydraulic system. 

If by a "generic sensor" flashing, you mean there is a warning light coming on, then you can also attempt to approach the issue from that direction. The brake warning light is typically used to tell you there is an issue with the hydraulic brake fluid, but some can tell you when your brake pads are worn. Once the light illuminates, you have to get the vehicle scanned for diagnostic codes in order to determine what issue the computer has detected. The issue may truly be generic and not shed much light on the issue, but it also may be a specific code that helps point you in the right direction. The light must be on when the vehicle is scanned, so it has to be done quickly if the warning light flashes on and off quickly. Getting codes scanned can be done by any properly equipped technician, or at most local automotive parts stores for free. Good luck!

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