What Makes Car Brakes Squeak?

Brakes are undoubtedly the most important safety feature of a car. When brakes begin to squeak, drivers begin to panic. Sometimes this panic is warranted and auto repair Springfield MO services are required, but other times it is not.

Some brakes noise is normal and can be caused by normal driving conditions like severe braking, dust and sand, or humidity. Some higher pitched brake noises are due to longer-lasting brakes being manufactured today without asbestos.

But why do they squeak?

One benign reason is the rotor that holds the brake pads and squeezes them on the tire to slow it can vibrate and that causes the squeak. This is easy to fix by either using s lotion or cream on the back of the brake pads, sanding off the surface hardening of the brake pad or even just trying a different brand of brake pad.

Disc brakes can squeak after a car sits overnight, generally due to moisture from dew, rain or high humidity. This moisture creates a thin layer of rust on the rotor’s surface. As the rotor turns the pads scrape the rust off and it gets caught the edge of the brake pad. The squeak comes from the rust embedding into the pad.

Squeaking brakes can be an indicator of brake wear. When the pads are almost worn out they squeak to remind the owner it is time to replace them. Wear indicators are tabs of hardened steel attached to the brake pad and they make the squeak before the pad wears out. It is important to replace brakes as soon as this begins to happen because the grinding and scratching can damage the rotor’s smooth surface.

Cheaper brake pads are made with a higher metal content and occasionally larger bits of metal make it through the manufacturing process. These pieces will cause a high-pitched squeak. Brake pads can last between 30,000 and 40,000 miles, so it is worth it to spend a little extra for quality brakes to avoid this annoyance. Brake pads with a higher content of organic material (Kevlar, rubber, resin, fiber, etc.) will squeak less.

If you hear a squeak from just the back brakes, the shoe to backing plate contacts may need lubrication. If they are improperly lubricated they will begin to rust and then squeak.

Squeaking brakes can be an important sign of wear and it is always best to have a mechanic take a look at your squeaky brakes.