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Why Do My Brakes Squeak?

Monday, July 23 2018 11:44 AM
By 360 Administrator
Why Do My Brakes Squeak?

You’re approaching a stop light with the windows down, enjoying a quiet afternoon drive. Suddenly, you hear an ear-splitting screech when you push down the brake pedal.

Your brakes should never make any type of screeching noise no matter how new or old your vehicle is. Squeaky brakes are more than just a nuisance. If you don’t inspect your brakes when you hear squeaking, you’re putting yourself and other drivers at risk if your brakes fail.

Most commonly, brakes squeak for the following reasons:

1. Moisture on the Brake Pads and Rotors

Dew, frost and condensation can accumulate on your brake pads and rotors when your vehicle sits idle in your driveway. Likewise, if you drive through a puddle or if you’ve recently washed your car, moisture makes its way into your car’s brake system.

If moisture is to blame for your squeaky brakes, the sound should go away quickly. After about five seconds of braking, the friction between the brake pads and rotors should remove any moisture or condensation that has collected on the surface of the brake pads and rotors.

2. Worn Brake Pads

A continuous squealing sound when you apply the brakes usually indicates that you need to replace your brake pads. Over time, the material on the surface of the brake pads wears down. As a warning to drivers, manufacturers install wear tabs inside the brake pad material. Eventually, when the brake pad material wears down, the wear tabs are exposed.

When the wear tabs on the brake pads contact the rotors, your brakes will make a loud, annoying screeching sound. This sounds lets you know that if you don’t service your brakes soon, you’re at risk of damaging your rotors and putting your safety at risk. If it’s been awhile since you’ve replaced your brake pads, or if you suspect that your driving conditions and habits are difficult on your brakes, it’s probably time for a replacement.

3. Cheap or Incompatible Brake Pads

Manufacturers construct brake pads using a wide variety of materials, including resin, metal and ceramic. If you recently did a DIY brake job, did you choose the cheapest brake pads available? Metallic brake pads tend to make the most road noise, followed by organic, then high-end ceramic. Depending on the type of brake pads that you replaced, your new brakes might sound different or louder than your old ones.

If your brakes were squealing, but you replaced the brake pads and the problem still exists, you might have installed the wrong type of brake pads. An automotive expert can help you select the best brake pads for your vehicle. Unfortunately, if your brakes are still squeaking after a brake pad replacement there could also be a larger issue, possibly with your rotors.

4. Glazed Rotors

As you apply your brakes, the brake pad contacts the rotor until your car comes to a stop. Over time, the friction that occurs between the brake pad and the rotor will wear down the surface of the rotor. When the surface of the rotor has become completely smooth from use, it is referred to as a “glazed rotor.” Primarily based on your driving habits, glazed rotors can occur anywhere between 15,000 and 70,000 miles.

Depending on how much your rotors have worn down, you might be able to stop the squeaking by resurfacing your rotors. However, this may only temporarily fix the noise. An automotive expert can help you determine if your rotors need to be replaced.

Don’t Ignore Squeaky Brakes

Not only are squeaky brakes annoying, but if it’s anything more than a few seconds of squeaking on a damp morning, you could be putting your safety and others on the road at risk. In Wichita, contact our East Service Center at (316) 688-6450, or our West Service Center at (316) 729-1300 to put a damper on your squeaky brakes today!