Most of us only think about our brakes when they make noise or fail. Otherwise, we expect them to work flawlessly whenever we press down on the pedal. When we do so, the force is amplified and transmitted from the master cylinder to the calipers and pads. The pads respond by squeezing down on the rotor and thus, bringing our vehicle to a stop.
There are several factors that can impair this process and it’s often difficult to identify the root cause from the symptoms. Sometimes, people hear a grinding noise or feel a pulsation when they press down on the brake pedal. Other times, the pedal feels spongy or drops to the floorboard. We’ll clarify some of the potential problems that can occur by addressing five of the most common questions people ask about their brakes.
Squealing is typically caused by vibrations. These vibrations can occur if the pads are held too loosely between the calipers, or the surface of the rotors is rough. In most cases, a squeal does not suggest that you require to have your pads replaced or rotors resurfaced. The pads likely have sufficient lining to work properly despite the noise.
If you feel pulsations when you press down on the brake pedal, there’s a good chance your rotors are warped or bent. The former problem occurs due to heat spots that develop over time, or because the metal expands and contracts due to exposure to water. It can also occur if the pads are worn to the point where exposed metal is grinding on the rotors.
The sound of your car brakes making noise can definitely be annoying and disturbing. However, you should also be wise enough not to take these sounds for granted. You have to bear in mind that these sounds are conveying a certain message to you. If you intend to eliminate and be relieved from this distressing noise, you should give this matter your due attention. An understanding of the cause underlying this sound is a requisite to figuring out what you should do. After all, the solution you need to implement often depends on the root cause of the problem.
Most brake noise heard by drivers can be attributed to the front brakes. These are composed of a set of brake pads that press against a round metal disc known as rotors. When the brake pedal is depressed, the brake pads squeeze against the rotors and the friction resulting slows or stops the vehicle.
Brake pads are composed of a material that typically includes metallic or ceramics. As a result, these materials tend to produce a hissing noise or a small grinding noise as the brake is applied. This noise may be louder in the mornings or after periods of rain because a thin layer of rust may develop over the rotors when the car sits for a period of time.
Through normal use, the brake pads will wear. Manufacturers have included a small piece of metal that will scrape the rotor when it reaches the wear limit. This noise is distinct and will sound much louder than the normal hiss and is a clear signal it is time to replace the brake pads.
Should you ignore this scraping noise, you will eventually wear to the metal backing plates on the brake pads. This will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your braking system and cause premature wear of the rotors. This causes not only a safety concern but will lead to expensive repair bills.
Dust is one of the most common reasons why car brakes make noise. The accumulation of dust and other similar substances could result to the noise once you step on the brake pads. If this situation applies to you, the noise surely does not have to stress you out. To put an immediate stop to this problem, you can wipe the brake pads with a damp cloth to remove a portion of the accumulated dust. This may not completely solve the problem but the improvement will certainly be enough for you to drive comfortably and with peace of mind. Using brake pads made of metallic materials is also strongly discouraged.
The squeaking of your car brakes may also be an indicator of the need for inspection. You may not have noticed that your brake pads have already been worn out. The indicator strips in your car are designed to alert you of the need to replace your brake pads. Excessive wear of the brakes should never be taken for granted. The pads should be immediately replaced to prevent the damage from affecting other parts. During your inspection, you should also be on the lookout for loose or missing hardware. Always check if brake components remain too tight that moving them by hand would be difficult to do. Loose or missing hardware that are not attended to could also be culprits of the annoying sound.
Mechanics will recommend using only original equipment from the manufacturer to help minimize brakes noise. These are made to the exact specification of your vehicle. You may also substitute high-quality pads from aftermarket suppliers. However, avoid the bargain basement pads. These tend to cause brakes make noise more and may also not completely meet the exact specifications for your vehicle.
Some mechanics will also recommend the use of a spray or other material to stop the noise. Be careful if you are considering this option. This may result in lowering the friction between the pads and rotors resulting in less braking power.
Remember, the braking system is one of the most used systems in your vehicle. It is essential for your safety and the safety of others on the road. By scheduling regular brake inspections to coincide with oil changes or seasonal maintenance, you can help reduce the amount of brake noise, increase your safety and minimize repair bills.
It has been a common tendency among drivers and car owners to miss out on the regular and routine checkup protocols. The reactive approach has become the norm. People only worry about it once the problem has already popped out. In noisy car brakes, an act as simple as replacing your brake pads when they are already worn out could already make the difference. It is not a wise move to wait for that squeaking sound before you do what you should have done long ago. You may initially describe it as a waste of time but, eventually, these seemingly trivial tasks could spare you from stress and hassle pretty soon.