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Car is a 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with 100,800 miles. All maintenance on it is current and overall it's in great shape aside from some underbody rust from these Chicago winters.

So the problem is as follows: I've noticed on about three or four occasions so far that it will sometimes make a very slight (and barely noticeable unless you turn the radio completely off and roll the windows down) ticking/scraping noise that seems to be temperature-dependent and speed related. I noticed it sounds almost like a bad hub bearing or a grinding rotor, or like if the dust shield is hitting the ground. It doesn't seem to increase in frequency in relation to speed (much), but it doesn't do it when you just idle in gear, it's only when you start moving.

Also, the only times I've ever noticed it is after the car is at operating temperature. When it's cold or getting to operating temperature, it absolutely does not make the sound regardless of speed or anything. Only after a long highway drive, or an extended city commute, or after getting to operating temperature do I notice it. And it's intermittent-- sometimes all these conditions are met, but it simply doesn't do it.

What can possibly be making this intermittent, light scraping noise? I had the car serviced a month back and the shop inspected my suspension and everything was in perfect order. In the past, I've changed the dust shield and the innet wheel fender plastic cover, but they are attached firmly. I also don't see anything hanging underneath or making any contact with the ground. Any thoughts?
 

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Check the anti-rattle/retention springs on the brake pads. They are possibly bent or broken and allow the pads to rattle when the pads, and related brake parts, get warm and expand
 
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