How To Fix Squeaky Brakes
Squeaky brakes aren’t very pleasing to the ears and is enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. No matter how old your brake pads are, the irritating sound does not always mean your brakes have given up on you. There are many influences that can cause your brake pads to make these cringe-worthy sounds. Our brake specialists are here to help stop that awful squeaking and get you back to driving a silent, smooth ride.
What Causes Squeaky Brakes?
There are many factors that cause your brake pads to squeak. The expectation of having super silent brakes at all times, whether you have a brand new car or your mechanic recently replaced your pads, is unrealistic. Brakes create friction and no matter what the circumstance they will make noise throughout their life span. The important thing to note is that squeaky brakes will perform just as great as silent ones.
Today’s braking systems often use a cast-iron disc that is squeezed between two brake pads lined with a special friction material. Sometimes the brake disc, pads and caliper they’re mounted in can start to vibrate at the exact same time creating a single-toned frequency that becomes louder when you increase your speed or apply pressure to the brake pedal. With a couple easy steps, you can prevent the noise from occurring in your own garage.
What Is Normal Pad Noise?
Over the years brake pad materials have developed significantly from the once toxic asbestos-made parts to dusty Kevlar pads. Now most brake pads are made from metallic or ceramic composites which tend to be a bit more heavy-duty and cause grinding noises.
It’s common for your brakes to make a light grinding noise when you first set out for the day. Often times this will happen in the morning when your brakes are getting warmed up. The same thing can occur on a damp, rainy day when a thin layer of rust develops on the brake discs causing extra friction for the pads to shave it off. This is very normal and shouldn’t be of any concern.
With all of that being said, you shouldn’t accept that any brake noise is okay to avoid. When brake pads have worn out to the max, the steel underneath the shim becomes exposed and creates a gut-wrenching tearing noise. It’s not easily mistook for regular squeaky brakes and with regular vehicle maintenance your mechanic should be able to prevent this from happening.
Fixing Squeaky Brakes
Simply Inspect Your Brakes – You’d think this would be the first thing you’d check, but doing a self-inspection is often overlooked. Check for any loose, missing or damaged parts ensuring the shims and clips are intact so the pads don’t move in the caliper assembly. Also inspect the rotors or drums for excessive wear, scoring or grooving that may be causing other parts to vibrate or make noises.
Replace The Shims – Shims prevent and reduce vibration and can also act as a thermal barrier to ensure consistent braking temperature across the pad for even wear and stopping. They can also add weight to the brake allowing it to reduce vibration in the pad and caliper. Purchasing a set of Teflon shims can help with noise, but doesn’t always work on every vehicle due to a lack of space in the piston bore.
Grease Your Brakes – If your pads still have a lot of life in them and you don’t want to purchase new parts, a good brake greasing can go a long way. Simply coating the backing plates of the pads with high-temp brake grease or anti-seize compound can offer a short-term solution as water and dirt will wash it away with time, but it is a quick and easy lubricant fix.
Replace The Brake Pads – One of the easiest fixes is to change your brake pads to a different type of friction material. The original parts that come with your car from the manufacturer are usually pretty hard to beat on a performance level, but the good news is a good pair of after-market ceramic or semi-metallic brake pads can be enough to change the frequency that is causing the squeal and silence your squeaky brakes for good. Purchasing a good set of high-quality parts and installing them yourself can save you time and money. To learn how to change the brake pads yourself, watch the video below.
If All Else Fails, Call A Mechanic – DIY auto repairs don’t always work out to your benefit. If you’ve never done it before or have tried everything you possibly can, book an appointment at your local garage so a mechanic can diagnose the issue and offer advice or perform the appropriate repairs for you.
Have any tips for preventing squeaky brakes? Share your advice in the comments!