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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2009 RTL with 135,000 miles. It's been making chirping noise when I drive after 10 to 15. It goes away when I tap on the brakes. It comes on intermittently. I took it to the shop yesterday and the mechanics couldn't get the noise to come back. They looked underneath and everything looked fine visually. Brake pads are at 90%. I took it out today and the noise came on after 30 minutes of driving. Anyone has any idea what could cause this noise? Axle? Bearing? Differential fluid?

Appreciate all the help.
 

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Try the sway bar links. The bearing material is plastic and if the rubber seals crack the ball willl rust and tear up the bearing material. the chirp will come from the sway bar moving to much in it's rubber bushings.
 

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I would start by doing a thorough inspection of the brakes. It could be something simple like a brake caliper slide pin that needs cleaned and lubed or the parking brake might not be fully disengaged.
 

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chirping noise when I drive after 10 to 15. It goes away when I tap on the brakes. It comes on intermittently.
Tapping the brakes and noise goes away suggests a brake issue (not much else changes with brake apply?).

Couple quick things:
a) is the chirping noise related to road speed (faster/slower as you go)?
b) Do steering inputs change the noise?
c) noise heard driving in a straight line, hard turns, left or right?
d) What speed do you hear the noise at and can you drive through it (there at 20mph, gone at 30)?
e) Is the noise heard from front or back, inside the car or outside only?

Applying the brakes to get rid of the chirp suggest dirt on the pads, pad loose in the retainer, bent squealer tab, etc. It could also cause a load to be applied to the suspension and change the noise... but a dirty pad is still most likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had the sway bars replaced while at the shop overy the weekend. The noise came on this evening driving home from work while on highway. It came on for 5 minutes or so, straight line or slight left curve on highway. I noticed when the highway curve to the right, noise goes away. Again, I can tap on the brakes and the noise also go away. I haven't taken the brake pads off and clean them yet.
 

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You replaced the sway bars?
I hope you mean the links? Not sure what would cause the bar to be replaced.

Re reading the original post... 90% left on the pads... These are new! This could simply be the type of pad installed, with a heavy metallic content.
a) Check the pads if they have a chamfer to the edges and a groove down the center for dirt. If not, I would grind a chamfer on the leading edge, and "I" would cut a groove down the center of the pad, top to bottom, with a hack saw.. about half the pad depth. Or, pick up a set of OEM pads. I now think that you have installed an aftermarket pad and this is the most likely cause of your noise.

b) While you have the pads out - pad face down, make sure the wear indicators are not bent or close to the same level as the pad surface.
c) Next, check that the pad retainer clips aren't touching the rotor. Are they bent or deformed? Check that the pad moves freely when installed. They should be tight up and down, yet move in/out easily. If not, remove the caliper bracket and file the corrosion down under the clips. Add brake lube to the bracket before you put the clips in.

d) With the rotor still on the hub, see if the backing plate got bent during the last repair. Just give it a push all the way around, spin the rotor and listen for rubbing.

Keep in mind that a worn CV joint is not impossible. It may be just starting to wear out. Check if the outer CV boot is leaking at all. A wheel bearing is also a possibility, but so far, the noise is too minimal to call it. Everything points to brakes right now. If it does turn out to be joint or bearing, the noise will just get worse and you still have lots of time before replacement is needed.

I'm assuming it's for sure from the front and from your reply, 40+ mph? That is an odd speed to hear brake noise.
Does the noise increase in intensity at any time? Does driving through a puddle/in the rain change it?
 
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