Your car brakes are an essential part of your vehicle, allowing you to slow down and stop the car. The brakes are usually made up of calipers, rotors, pads, lines, and hoses.
Brakes work by applying friction to the wheel, which causes the wheels to slow down and eventually stop spinning. When you apply the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is applied to the caliper causing it to squeeze against the rotor, which creates friction and slows your vehicle down.
So, Why does my car squeak when I brake? A squeaking sound coming from your brakes can be caused by several things, including worn brake pads, a misaligned caliper, contaminated brake fluid, or other issues.
To help you identify the cause of your vehicle’s brake noise, we have listed the most common brake failure symptoms and some of the solutions depending on each case.
8 Reasons Why You Have Squeaky Noise Coming From Your Brakes
A common issue in vehicles is an unpleasant squeaking or squealing noise from the brakes. If the squeal goes away after a few brake applications while driving, then you should not worry too much about it.
If the sound is continuous, you may need to give your brakes some maintenance or have them inspected by a specialist. Here are eight reasons your brakes might be squeaking:
#1. Thinning or worn out brake pads
It is important to be aware of the condition of your brake pads, as they can wear down over time. Many cars are fitted with wear indicators that produce a grinding sound when you apply your brakes, indicating the end of their life cycle. If this happens, it is important to have your brake pads replaced as soon as you can to ensure safe driving.
Thinning and worn out brake pads can reduce the effectiveness of your brakes, making it harder to stop quickly in an emergency situation. So be sure to check on the condition of your brakes regularly and plan for replacement when necessary so you can keep yourself and others safe on the road.
#2. Debris or dust buildup between your brake pads and rotors
If you hear a squealing sound while you’re driving, it could be due to debris or dust buildup between your brake pads and rotors. This buildup can lead to the brake pads wearing down at a faster rate, reducing their effectiveness in bringing your car to a stop.
To maintain optimum stopping power, you should remove the brake pads every 8 to 12 months and clean off any dirt or dust that has accumulated on the brakes. You will notice how the squeal goes automatically away right after you get your brakes and pads cleaned up.
#3. Overnight moisture causes your brake pads to squeal
Another common cause of brake squealing or squeaking noise is the accumulation of moisture in the brake system. If you have the chance, it’s wise to keep your car inside a climate-controlled space.
When dampness accumulates on your brakes, a small coating of corrosion can easily form on the rotors. Fortunately, this corrosion buildup can often be corrected with regular driving. You may also want to try parking your vehicle inside to protect your brakes from getting wet.
#4. Rusted metallic brake pads are squealing or grinding
If a metallic pad comes into contact with the rotor, it can generate a squealing or grinding noise. This loud noise usually dissipates as the brake pad wears away at the specific spot or layer, yet if this noise is bothersome, you could consider choosing pads that have a metal percentage.
When your pads are worn out you can hear a metal tab that scrapes the brake discs or against other metal parts indicating that you need new ones. If you hear your brakes make weird noises when you come to a stop, then it’s time to consider taking your vehicle for a brake evaluation.
#5. Lack of lubrication on disc brakes
Fixing squeaky drum brakes is as simple as applying some brake grease to the backing plate where the piston comes into contact with the shoes. You can also spread some of the greases onto the backside of the brake pad and any contact points of the caliper carrier.
It is possible to identify the source of a squeaky drum brake by spotting any areas where the metal is visible because of scraping. Fixing or avoiding this issue is simple, as all that needs to be done is lubricate the backing plate at the point where the piston meets the shoes.
#6. Poor quality brake pads causing a squeal
Even when you fit new brake pads, it is important to ensure that they are of high quality. There is a new trend for manufacturers to use metallic and ceramic materials when it comes to brake pads.
Generally, when you hear a scraping sound coming from the car’s brakes, it is an indication that the brake pads need to be replaced. When it comes to brake repair, choosing high-quality parts is the only thing that is going to guarantee a good brake job.
#7. A warped and glazed brake rotor surface
A warped and glazed brake pads or rotors can be a result of excessive heat build-up in the car’s braking system. This occurs when brake pads are not able to dissipate heat quickly. A common indication of this problem is pulsating brakes during hard braking.
Warped rotors cause a vibrating sensation when braking, as well as an uneven wear pattern on the brake pads from the calipers. Glazing is another symptom that results from overheating. If the noise persists have your brakes checked by a local mechanic.
#8. A brake caliper is sticking causing brake pad friction
If the caliper gets stuck, it can cause grinding brakes. This friction causes the brake pads to wear down faster than usual, resulting in reduced performance and increased stopping distance. In extreme cases, it can even lead to complete brake failure.
It’s important to have a mechanic inspect your vehicle if you notice any signs that your brake caliper may be sticking, such as grinding or squealing noises when braking or an unusual amount of vibration on the pedal.
Why my brakes might be squeaking at low speed?
Regular surface rust caused by high humidity or other debris will go away with normal braking. New brakes squeak for a few reasons but they tend to normalize after the pads wear down.
If the amount of friction material left on the brake pad is less than 3/8 inches, or there are visible grooves on the brake rotors, or there are any rough edges around the outside of the rotor, then it’s necessary to do some brake work.
In this case, if you want your brakes to stop squeaking, you are going to need to bring your car to an auto repair shop. They will help identify the exact issue with regard to your case.
How do I fix squeaky brakes?
The recommended thing you should do when your brakes make a squeaking noise is to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a brake inspection. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend new parts for your vehicle.
Squealing brakes can be caused by unusual vibrations, low-quality pads, or components that have reached the end of their useful life. Fixing those squeaks might be as easy as putting some high-temperature grease on the calipers, fitting shims, or having them replaced by a technician.
Is it safe to drive when brakes are squeaking?
Driving with squealing brakes is not safe and should be avoided. The noise created by the brakes is an indication that something is wrong with your vehicle, such as worn brake pads or a damaged rotor.
Driving with squeaking brakes can affect your ability to slow down or stop quickly in an emergency situation, which could potentially lead to a collision with another car.
All in all, if you hear any type of squealing sound coming from the vehicle brakes, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic for inspection as soon as possible.
Why are my brakes squeaking but my pads are fine?
There have been complaints about the electronic parking brake causing car owners to hear a squeaking sound coming from the brakes. In this case, the brakes aren’t the issue.
Your car may have additional components that can become loose as part of the brake system. Professional help would be the best recommendation when it comes to the vehicle’s brakes.