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When do brakes squeak?

“Brakes squeak when the driver applies the brakes when the car is traveling at a certain speed. The friction created once the brake disc is gripped between the brake pads causes pressure, which then makes a squeaking sound.”

Worn or thinning brake pads

- When your brake pads are worn and new pads are required, you will hear a high-pitched warning sound from your front brakes or rear brakes (if equipped). You may hear this sound come and go, or it may occur whenever you depress the brake pedal. Car manufacturers place a small piece of metal, known as a wear indicator, into their brake pads. As a car continues through its wear-and-tear, the brakes pads will continue to thin until the wear indicator brushes against the rotor, which causes a high-pitched squeak as a warning of when the brake pads need replacing. Additionally, if you abruptly step on the brakes it may also cause your brake pads to wear quicker, as well as cause the squeaking sound you hear. 

Weather

- Rust forms on the rotors due to the moisture gathered from the remaining condensation from rainy or snowy weather. Then as the rotor turns, it meets the brake pads, which removes the rust off and catches onto the edge of the brake pad, therefore causing the car to squeak when you press the brakes.

Loose car parts

- There is an assortment of parts within a braking system of a car, such as the rotors, calipers, pads, etc. If all of the parts are correctly placed and secured, they shouldn’t move nor should it create any noise. However, if a part moves, then it needs to be secured, lubricated, and checked. 

Brake pad material

- Brake pads consist of a variety of materials that may vary from fiber, rubber, copper, resin, or others. However, there are also cheaper brake pads available on the market with higher metal content, so when the brake pads scratch against the rotor, it causes a squeaking sound. It is best to invest in higher quality brakes to prevent the squeaking noise, as well as to prevent accidents that may happen due to the inability to tell when your brake pads have hit the wear indicator.

Changing the rotors and brake pads

- The squeaking noise can be a signal that the wear indicator is pushing against the rotor, which means the brake pads are due to be replaced, or the squealing noise may be a sign that the brake pads are unable to touch the surface of the rotor evenly when braking. Some of the warning signs that the rotor or brake pads need replacing include: a defined gouge on the top of the rotor, the rotor has a clear outer lip, or if there the brake pad only has 3/8” or less of the brake material remaining. 

Apply lubricant to the brake pads

- This method is useful if the brake noise is created due to rust, dirt, or other particles that may come into contact with the brakes. By using this method, you must first remove the brake pads then apply the lubricant to all of the other parts that come into contact with the brakes. However, please beware of placing any type of lubrication on the surface of the rotor, as well as the surface of the brake pad.  

Insert anti-squeal adhesives or brake pad shims

- Brake pad shims and anti-squeal adhesives are made from rubber or other sticky materials that latch itself onto the brake pads (for anti-squeal adhesives) or the opposite side of the brake pads (for brake pad shims). Both play a vital role in preventing noise by silencing any vibrations created when braking.

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