Reasons Why Your Brakes May be Squeaking and How to Fix Them
Brakes is the most crucial safety feature in your vehicle, and like any other component, it wears out with time. As the brakes consist of several parts interlinked, they become noisy when they go wrong. That’s the reason why you hear that squeaking noise. Most brake noises are normal and do not indicate a danger. However, they’re an indication that the brake’s components are weakening and need attention. To understand brake squeaks, today we’ll discuss the common reasons why the brakes can be noisy and the possible solutions.
Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?
Brakes produce a squeak, squeal, or screech when the vibrating brake pads make a sound in a particular frequency.
Here are various reasons that might cause this sound.
1. Weather Conditions
Often, a temperature change can cause the brakes to squeal. When the temperature drops, it can make the brake pads and rotors, two parts that touch when you push the brake, produce screeching noise. Moisture is another cause.
In areas such as Columbus, Ohio, where summers are hot and humid, and winters are freezing and windy, moisture can form on the pads and rotors due to rain, ice, and snow. However, once you drive around a bit and the components heat up, the noise would stop.
Similarly, a layer of light rust overnight on the rotor can leave you with those unpleasant sounds, as well. This rust results from an accumulation of condensation on the metal rotors.
2. Wearing Parts
Brake pads, when worn out, produce loud noises to indicate they need a replacement. Some pads feature a wear indicator that gives out a loud noise to show that the friction material has worn out and needs changing. The friction material on the brake pads directly determines your vehicles’ braking power. Therefore, you must have them replaced at the earliest.
When choosing the friction material, be aware of the properties of different composite materials. If you hate braking sounds, avoid composite materials such as semi-metallic and low metallic. Instead, look for non-asbestos organic or ceramic pads; they are quieter and offer excellent stopping power.
3. Missing Hardware
Your brakes may not have specific hardware, causing them to squeak. Sometimes clips, springs, loose fasteners, or shims can go astray or miss your brakes. It can cause the pads to leave their place and drag on the rotors, wearing out more quickly due to overheating and vibration.
4. Rash Use
Like any other mechanical component, brakes can show problems due to rash use. It includes heavy use of brakes, where constant pressure on the brake pedal can cause overheating issues. Therefore, avoid taking routes that require aggressive brake usages, such as a jammed-traffic or sloping area.
Moreover, carelessly pressing the brake pedal can lead to this problem. Slamming the brakes aggressively for frequent stopping can make them squeak even when they’re in fine condition. Go gentle with the brake pedal and avoid strong braking to steer clear of premature wear.
How to Fix Brake Squeaks?
Now that you’re familiar with the causes of brake squeaking, your next question would be “how to fix brake squeaks.” Nobody wants to go through the loud and unpleasant sound every time he or she hits the brake pedal. It’s better to resolve the issue at the earliest.
You can follow three simple steps to get rid of the screeching brake noises.
1. Applying Brake Grease
This solution is most applicable for new brakes. If you’ve just installed the new brakes and begin to hear squeals every time you brake, greasing the contact points may solve the problem.
To begin with, put on disposable gloves for your safety, and remove the brake pads from the calipers. Next, apply the grease to contact points such as the backside of the pads and notches on the caliper carrier. However, ensure that the friction material and rotor surface remain free of grease.
2. Replace the Missing Hardware
You don’t want to leave any part dangling loosely and cause squealing noises. To cater for this, you must replace any hardware missing from your brakes. Inspect the brake to see if any spring or clip is missing and replace it.
Another effective way to combat brake squeaking is to install a set of shims. When fixed on the backside of the pads, they can help reduce the noise. Shims cover the empty spaces where the pad could move and have a layer of rubber to absorb vibration and subdue the noise.
3. Replacing Pads and Rotors
Worn-out brake pads and rotors can cause squealing sounds. Therefore, replacing them before they wear out is an excellent solution to get rid of the noise. The brake pads should have at least 3/8" of frictional material left to avoid metal-on-metal connection when you hit the pedal. Additionally, your rotors' surface must not have any grooves or a noticeable outer lip. If your pads and rotors fall short of any of these requirements, it’s time for a replacement.
Is Your Brake Always Noisy?
Most vehicles are quiet and squeak-free in regular operation. But do you own a car that’s always noisy, no matter what solution you apply? That’s because you own a high-performance vehicle featuring a high-duty braking system.
Such braking systems contain pads and rotors that can be very noisy due to the stopping power they offer. Expect a more horrible experience when you’ve parked the vehicle for a few days and the braking system has grown cold. Nonetheless, these braking systems tend to be more durable and offer more outstanding performance than the regular ones.
Like any other component in your vehicle, brakes need maintenance. When you press down the brake pedal, Squeaking or screeching sounds indicate that they need your attention. These unpleasant noises result mainly from worn-out pads and rotors, rust and moisture, missing parts in your brake system, and some other reasons. A few ways to fix the squeaking noise include replacing the pads and rotors, installing the missing pieces, and greasing the contact points.
If you wish to have your brakes tested and squeaking fixed by a professional, visit or call us today.