The fact that your car brakes are squeaking does not mean that you necessarily need to panic. There are many causes of the squeaking sound from your car’s brakes.
But not all of these reasons will need an immediate action or correction. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that the issue should be ignored as it could save lives on the road.
That squeaking noise from pressing the brake pedal comes from worn-out brake pads. Alternatively, it could be heard when driving in the morning after parking the car overnight.
In which case there is no cause for alarm. Because accumulation of moisture on the brake assembly due to heat dissipation also causes a squeaking noise.
How do I know if my front or rear brakes are squeaking?
Its true that determining the origin of the squeaking sound is quite difficult. Especially differentiating between squeaking noise from the front and rear brakes.
Most front brakes have a disc brake while rear brakes have a drum brake assembly. However, some personal and luxury vehicles use a disc brake assembly for both the front and rear brakes.
Disc brakes are more popular because of their effectiveness at stopping and heat dissipation. In order to know if your front or rear brakes are squeaking, do the following;
- Pay attention to the location of the squeaking sound.
- Car vibrations when applying brakes is a sign of problematic front brake assembly.
- A soft brake pedal is an indication of problematic front brakes.
When the rear brakes are causing the problem, you will make the following observations.
- When you apply brakes, the car’s weight shifts towards the back.
- Try recalling the last time you undertook brake assembly service for the rear brakes. If that was a long time ago then that could be the problem.
- Consult a professional brake specialist for advice as to the condition of the rear brakes.
Why do my brakes squeal after new pads and rotors?
Proper car brake maintenance requires you to install new brakes before experiencing break wear indicators. Factors that determine the moment of replacing brake calipers and other parts are slightly similar.
However, you don’t have to replace the entire brake assembly. In most occasions, you will find yourself in need of new pads and rotors.
But, the problem arises when the new ones also produce a squeaking noise. There are a number of reasons why this happens. They are inclusive of the following;
a]. Brake pad material component.
Well, depending on the brake pad material, there might be noticeable brake noises that come from new pads and rotors. Because some brake pad materials accumulate brake dust particles and moisture at a higher rate than others.
There are different types of brake pads whose classification depends on their component materials. The material determines how the brake pads reacts to extreme temperatures.
Additionally, their component material affects the rate at which heat dissipation takes place. Further, the rate of wear and tear of the brake pads depends on which materials it is made of.
The types of brake pad material includes;
b]. Wet brake rotors.
New brake rotors may cause a brake squeal sound. This happens when the brake rotors are wet after parking the car overnight or during rainy seasons.
Wet brake rotors accumulate dust and rust particles after a short period. Some of those particles enter the brake pad. Hence causing brake noise when you press the brake pedal.
c]. Stuck brake caliper.
The brake caliper plays the role of pushing the brake pad towards the rotor so as to slow down or stop the car. A stuck brake caliper results from impact or lack of lubrication.
If the caliper is stuck in a position that holds the brake pads against the brake rotors, then there will be some brake noise. Despite having installed new brake pads and rotors.
It is possible to just change the brake pad and rotors without noticing that something is wrong with the caliper. The caliper needs brake adjustment during brake repair when it has a problem.
d]. Dust or debris.
Tires drive over surfaces that have a lot of dust and debris. The particles jump onto parts of the disc brake and they may stick there for a while.
When these particles get onto the brake pad, they may lead to break squeal sounds when you press the brake pedal. Despite having new brake pads and rotors. Its worse when they’re of a significantly larger size.
New brake pads also release a lot of brake dust during the first few times that you drive your car. This depends on the type of material they’re made of. The brake dust might cause new brake pads and rotors to produce a brake noise.
e]. Insufficient lubrication.
It’s important for the moving parts of the brake assembly to have sufficient levels of lubrication. otherwise, there is a risk of interference with brake effectiveness.
Especially during brake replacement of rotors and pads. Ensure that you apply brake grease on the necessary moving parts. Otherwise you may have failure due to brake overheating from friction.
Additionally, when the moving parts of the brake assembly are not lubricated they make a lot of brake noise. This is despite installing new brake pads and rotors.
f]. Poor rotor resurfacing.
Rotor resurfacing means the use of a brake lathe to remove an insignificant part of the brake rotor’s surface. The benefit is that it removes corrosion and ensures that the rotor’s surface is smooth.
If it’s not done properly, it leads to a rough and uneven surface. Hence leading to a squeaking noise when you press the brake pedal.
g]. Poor installation.
Brake service should be done by a brake specialist who knows the procedure to follow without compromise. Poor installation doesn’t care about proper contact and rotor resurfacing.
Hence leading to problems after the installation of new brake pads and rotors. Which results to vibrations and brake noise after installing new brake rotors and pads.
Why do my brakes squeak when I first start driving?
Almost every driver has had this experience. Your car’s brakes were fine through out the day until when you park the car for a prolonged period.
Suddenly, while you’re driving off, you notice that the brakes are making a squeaking noise. This happens mostly after parking the car overnight.
After driving for a while, brakes produce a lot of heat. Once the car is parked for a long time, the heat finishes. Moisture accumulates on the rotor to replace the heat.
Therefore, when you drive after a parking for a while, you may notice that there is a squeaking sound when you apply brakes. This is a temporary situation that disappears after you apply brakes a few times.
b]. Loss of friction.
The brake pads loose small particles after you have been driving for a while. This causes them to loose a certain level of friction when pressing against the rotors.
You will temporarily hear a squeaking noise once you start driving again after parking for a while. The noise comes from brake pads as they try to regain their friction.
c]. Brake dust.
Friction between the brake pad and brake rotor causes a magnetic energy that attracts brake dust. This dust settles in between the rotors and the brake pad.
Once you apply brakes after starting to drive for a while you will notice a squeaking noise. This noise continues for a while up to the point at which the dust dissapears.
d]. Cold weather.
After exposing the brakes to a lot of heat when you’re driving under cold weather, the brake rotor and pads contract a little. Once you drive after parking for sometime these brake parts have to adjust.
While in the process of adjusting, they tend to make a squeaking noise. The noise lasts through a few brake applications and then it disappears.
Reasons why your car brakes are squeaking.
Brake noise diagnosis will have you differentiating between a squeaking brake and a grinding brake. It’s important to pay attention to the following areas when you notice some brake noise.
a] Worn-out brake-pads.
Take into consideration the last time you installed the current break-pads that are in use. Worn out break-pads are a valid reason for the squeaking car brakes.
According to the way brakes are made, they have a material that eases friction when you hit the brake pedal. This is the brake pad material.
Now, if this wears off, it exposes a metal pad that starts squeaking as a warning sign to car owners. Just replace the braking pads immediately if you notice that the car brakes are squeaking.
A moving car depends on brake pads to stop. When the driver hits the brake pedal, a hydraulic pressure builds up within the brake lines to cause the brake pad to grip the brake rotor.
Afterwards, this slows down the car up to a stop. Wear and tear is caused by a repetition of the entire process. However, the brake pad lifespan depends on how often you use them.
Further, bad brake pads on a car will depend on the materials used during manufacture. The estimation is that brake pads last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
b] Rusted braking rotor.
The braking rotors are commonly known as brake discs. The brake rotor is what your brake pad clamps on when you hit the brake pedal.
Rust and dust are a main cause of inefficient braking rotor. But this is an easy problem to resolve because a local car mechanic can file the brake rotor. As a result of the filing, the dust and rust comes off and your vehicle operates very well.
c] Pressing hard on the brake pedal.
This is sometimes inevitable for drivers. Because, lets face it, the road is one major unpredictable place. So, when you slam so hard on the brakes, it may cause the brakes to squeal.
When car brakes are squeaking because of pressing hard on the brake, it is dependent on the vehicle’s speed. Further, this effect is felt by the caliper, brake pad and the disc which will vibrate at different frequencies.
The volume of the squeaking brakes will vary from time to time. This volume is determined by the speed at which your vehicle was travelling at. Further, how hard you press the brakes will affect the volume at which your car brakes are squeaking.
When moisture is involved, the noise is a bit different. In the morning when you start your journey, you might notice a grinding sound from the brakes. This is not usually a serious issue. Mainly because the vehicle’s breaks accumulate moisture overnight when you park the vehicle.
If the moisture is causing the car brakes to squeak, you need not be alarmed. For the first few stops, you will notice the grinding sound but this goes away once the moisture clears.
e]. Faulty caliper.
The brake calipers are parts of the car brake system that you find in vehicles which have disc brakes. The causes of a stuck caliper depend on the type of caliper your car uses.
The three types of brake calipers are floating calipers, opposed piston brake calipers and fixed calipers. When you face this issue, there’s a possibility that you will hear a brake squeal noise or brake grinding noise.
You will experience this even without pressing the brake pedal. Stuck calipers cause the brake pads to have continuous contact with the rotor.
Therefore, causing a brake vibration that you hear as a squeaking noise that doesn’t stop. Hence minimizing brake effectiveness.
f]. Damaged brake rotors.
The brake rotor is unique to the disc brakes. It is the circular shape part that you see attached to the wheels. It is very hard to cause damage to the rotors unless you get into a car accident.
A damaged brake rotor exhibits irregular shape along the edges and an uneven face surface. If this happens, it causes vibrations, grinding and squeaking sounds whenever you apply the car brakes.
g]. Inadequate lubrication.
This sounds like something I’ve made up. Because applying car brake grease reduces friction and sounds like a counter productive activity.
However, its not, in fact, it is quite necessary, especially if you know where to apply car brake lubrication. This could lead to a longer brake system lifespan.
Lubrication of the moving parts ensures they don’t struggle during brake performance. It minimizes friction which also reduces chances of brake overheating from the back and forth movement.
Lack of lubrication causes a squealing noise when you apply brakes because the moving car brake parts don’t do it smoothly. Accumulation of brake dust makes the lubricant in effective after sometime.
Therefore, lubrication is an activity that you will have to undertake after a specific period. Find out from brake specialists how long you need to take before your next brake lubrication.
How can I stop my brakes from squeaking?
Taking action against brake noise will benefit your ride comfort because no one wants to drive a round with a car that makes terrible noise. Further, it boosts safety because the cause of the brake noise may be a safety hazard.
Here are a few recommendations for stopping your brakes from squeaking.
a]. Bedding in brake pads.
Make sure that your new brake pads are bedded-in the right way. Different brake pads have unique methods of bedding in.
Therefore, follow the specifics of bedding-in your brake pad choice. This will help to ensure a proper contact angle between the brake pads and the rotor.
Hence minimizing chances of squeaking noises.
b]. Maintain cleanliness.
Ensure that your brake system assembly is clean. The essence of this is to remove dust particles from the brake rotors and pads.
Those dirt particles cause a squeaking noise. You may use cleaning agents that range from special brake cleaning products to simple soapy water.
c]. Use brake parts lubricant.
Ensure that you avoid applying lubricant on any surfaces that are meat to produce friction. Because that compromises their effectives.
Use lubricant on caliper pins and other moving parts that may suffer from the heat and friction that’s generated by the brake pad and caliper.
d]. High quality brake pads.
Ensure that you chooses the best brake pads made out of the different materials. For example, ceramic and organic materials.
Their quality determines how long you can enjoy the brake system without interruption. Assess the product’s noise characteristics before making a purchase.
e]. Replace worn out parts.
Brake wear indicators include a lot of brake noise. Wear and tear are amongst the main causes of brake noise.
Therefore, if you notice such noise, assess the condition of parts of your brake system. If either of them is in a deteriorated state, replace it.
f]. Expert input.
Get an expert to look at the condition of your brakes. Do so after undertaking the necessary steps towards correction. That is, if the brake repair doesn’t work to correct the situation.
g]. Avoid aggresive braking.
This is the type of braking that happens suddenly while the car is at high speeds. It puts a lot of stress on the brake parts. Therefore, leading to brake noise which comes from brake wear.
Practice gradual braking that leads to a complete stop. This way, you will reduce the amount of stress that your brake parts experience.
- Changing to an aftermarket ceramic or metallic break will literarily change the tune of the squeals.
Basically, because these after-market brakes are designed to cater for common causes of squeaking noises like moisture, dust and wear and tear.
The sprays that are applied on the brake pads friction materials. These usually change the brake’s friction characteristics.
Hence the reason that they are not highly recommended among drivers.
Anyway, the aerosols are not a bad solution when the car brakes are squeaking because they cause a silence effect.
What happens when you don’t fix squeaking brakes?
There are several negative issues that can arise from your ignorance of squeaking bakes which include brake failure. Additionally, you will have a bad driving experience when your brakes are squeaking all the time.
a]. Compromising brake performance.
You should always assume that brake noise is an indication that something else is wrong. Therefore, the underlying issue needs your attention.
Ignoring it, worsens the situation by adding the braking distance. Further ignorance will ultimately lead to brake failure.
b]. Safety risks.
The squeaking brake noise is a sign that something within the brake system isn’t functioning as it should. Therefore, you can rely on the car’s brakes to function as they should.
This is a risk to your safety as well as the safety of other road users. Because it reduces the car’s braking power. Which means that you take longer to stop in an emergency situation. Hence causing accidents.
c]. High repair costs.
The squeaking noise that brakes make is just a warning sign. Maybe it could indicate that your brake pad is worn out. Therefore, when you ignore the warning, you’re under the risk of extending the damage further.
Further damage will lead to more costly repairs. Where you could have only spent a few dollars to undertake a replacement, ends up costing a lot more.
d]. Damage to the other brake system components.
When your brakes are squeaking, it is an indication that something is wrong in the brake system assembly. At this point in time, you may still have a functioning brake system.
However, prolonged ignorance of the situation will make things worse. Hence extending the problem from one part of the brake system to all the other parts.
e]. Brake failure.
When the brake noise starts, your brakes usually function as they should. However, there is a slight divergence in proper functionality that you can hardly notice.
If you keep using the brakes while they’re squeaking, you may cause a full diversion from their original functionality. Which may lead to brake failure due to loss of brake power.
Is it expensive to fix squeaky brakes?
Before anyone fixes your squeaking brakes, they will start by conducting an inspection. This inspection will lead them to a conclusion as to which brake parts are causing the problem.
Once this is determined, they will draft a cost analysis for you. Which will let you know how much you’re supposed to pay for repairing squeaky brakes. The cost may be determined by
- Labor charges.
- The cost of the replacement parts.
- Inspection costs.
- Other extra requirements.
The inspection cost largely depends on the automotive service provider you choose. However, it can be estimated to range between $50 to $120.
The replacement parts will depend on the car’s make and model. Therefore, this cost can be a challenge to estimate. However, a good guess will place that cost at between $300 to $400 per axle.