Fingernails on a chalkboard. A train scraping on its tracks. Squeaky car brakes. Cringing yet? We are. As far as unpleasant noises go, these guys top the list. While we may not be able to help with the first two, our technicians are pros at putting a stop to the splitting and worrisome sound of squealing brakes. Here's a rundown of what could be causing that racket and how we can help bring the noise to a not-so-screeching halt!
SQUEAKY BRAKES CAUSES
WORN-OUT BRAKE PADS
This is the most common reason brakes squeak. As annoying as the noise can be, it actually serves a purpose. It occurs when a metal wear indicator on the brake pad makes contact with the rotor due to low pad material. When the wear indicator makes contact with the rotor, it produces a squealing sound to let you know that your brake pads need attention or replacing. Since your brake pads aren't something you can easily visually check, like your oil or windshield wiper fluid, it's important to pay attention when they start talking.
WEATHER OR ROAD CONDITIONS
Not all brake noises indicate worn brakes. Rain, snow, and humidity can also cause your brakes to squeak. This is usually due to condensation collecting on the rotors. Under such conditions, the noise shouldn't last long once the brake pads and rotors have warmed up. To help mitigate weather-related squealing, put your car in the garage at night or store it in a climate-controlled area, like an enclosed parking garage.
Again, if wet weather or road conditions are causing your brakes to squeak then the noise shouldn't linger.
“Most of the time" says automotive instructor Calvin Feist, "your brakes shouldn't make any noise.” He confirmed that water, dust, grit, sand, and dirt can cause some noise “but it shouldn't last for long.” If the sound is consistent, it's time to pay the pros a visit.
Cheap parts and/or improper installation can cause the components to rub together in the wrong places and make a squeaking or squealing noise. One common issue is improperly installed hardware making contact with a rotating part such as a rotor. This can cause a constant squeak.
To avoid this, make sure to have brake installations and services done by professionals with training, experience and the know-how to troubleshoot any issues.
DEBRIS BETWEEN PADS AND ROTORS
How do I stop my brakes from squeaking?
The first step is to determine what is causing your brakes to squeak. If the brake pads are worn out, replacing them could eliminate the squeaking. If there is debris stuck between the rotor and pad, cleaning it out could make a big difference. Applying a little grease to brake hardware such as slide pins can also help lubricate contact points and reduce squeaking. A professional can help determine what is causing the squeaking and recommend repairs if necessary.
Is it okay to drive with squeaky brakes?
It depends on what is causing the squeaking. Moisture and heavy use may cause minor squeaking. On the other hand, if the squeaking starts out of nowhere and seems to be getting worse, you should have the brakes checked as soon as possible to avoid friction causing costly damage.
What can cause brake squeaking when pads are in good condition?
If the squeaking can’t be attributed to worn-out brake pads, it could be caused by a few other things. Lack of lubrication or debris caught between the rotors and pads can cause squeaking. If the brake components weren’t installed properly, it could mean there is friction where there shouldn’t be. Minor squeaking first thing in the morning could even be due to moisture collecting on the rotors overnight. If it goes away after a few minutes on the road, there should be nothing to worry about.
Where is the best brake service near me?
The best brake service is one that will thoroughly inspect your vehicle and diagnose your brake issues before making any recommendations. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, our technicians have experience with all types of brake problems on all types of vehicles. Whether you need new brake pads or both pads and rotors, we can complete the brake service and get you back on the road safely.
When it comes to your car's most important safety feature, don't forget to stop, look, and listen! Periodically lowering the volume of the radio in your vehicle can also allow you to hear if your brakes may be squeaking. Save your ears and your brakes with a trip to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. Our technicians are pros at fixing squeaky brakes (and almost any strange car noise). Bring your car by or make an appointment online for a brake service and inspection before those squeals become ear deafening or unsafe. Many locations are open late and on the weekends for your convenience!