Why are my brakes squeaking?

Why are my brakes squeaking?

Squeaky brakes

Ailments with our cars are bad enough when they’re causing us to spend money we don’t have to fix them, but they are especially frustrating when they make themselves known to other road users, too.

Squeaky brakes – it’s one of those automotive faults that everyone knows you have as soon as you drive past.

There can be a few reasons as to why your brakes are squealing away, whether it’s happening on the move or as soon as you hit that pedal.

What causes squeaky brakes?

This is where you – or your auto technician – need to do some detective work.

Squeaky brakes can have many culprits, and it’s important to know where the problem lies so you can take the appropriate action.

Brake Dust Accumulation: This is by far the most common occurrence of squeaky brakes, with the buildup of brake dust sitting on the brake’s pads and discs causing such a noise.

This happens because, over time, as you apply your brakes, friction will cause tiny metal particles to stick to the brake components – get too much of this accumulation, and you’ll get squeaky brakes.

Worn Brake Pads: Your brakes are one of many consumable parts on your car, and squeaking brakes can be a good sign that they need some form of replacement. 

Most commonly, it will be the brake pads that will need replacing, with them wearing down over time and the metal wear indicators start to come into contact with the disc’s surface, creating a very unpleasant noise.

Moisture and Corrosion: If you see any instance of rust and corrosion when investigating squeaky brakes, this can be a telltale sign of moisture infiltrating the components.

Such spots of rust can create uneven surfaces on both the pads and the discs, and result in the noise you might be hearing.

Low-Quality Brake Components: Sometimes, you just get what you pay for, unfortunately. Brakes are a vital part of your vehicle, and it often pays to make sure you get quality components fitted.

Saving money on brakes won’t only risk your car not performing as it should, but also have the potential to become an audible nuisance.

High-Frequency Vibration: On the occasion that your brake components are not properly lubricated, or perhaps the caliper has an issue, you may incur some brake squeak.

This is usually down to high-frequency vibrations being created through their mutual interaction.

How do I fix squeaky brakes?

It’s fair to say that, with regular maintenance, your car shouldn’t really incur squeaky brakes.

However, if indeed you are in a position where squeaky brakes are making themselves known to you (any everyone else), then you’ll need to take action based on what the issue might be.

Clean the Brake Components: If you find that your brakes are just full of buildup, then a good old clean might just sort them out.

Applying a dedicated brake cleaner spray, you can get rid of any accumulation on the likes of the brake pads, discs and calipers..

Replace Worn Brake Pads: Another simple fix can be to get your brake pads replaced.

Some might be able to do this at home, but it’s certainly a quick job for a trained mechanic to swap the new in for the old. Just make sure this is done before it’s too late, and too much damage has been done to other components.

Lubricate Brake Hardware: If it’s been identified that you have brake components not playing well together due to a lack of lubrication, then applying a thin layer of high-temperature brake grease to the contact points between the brake pads and caliper can help reduce friction and prevent squeaking.

Inspect and Resurface Brake Discs: Although one of the more expensive courses of action, getting your brake discs replaced (if deemed necessary) can be highly effective, not only to eradicate squeaky brakes, but also to give your brakes a new lease of life.

Use High-Quality Brake Components: If you do come to replace some (or all) of your brake components, then it would probably be wise to ensure you invest wisely in quality parts.

Not only will these be more effective on the road, but they will also last longer and help prevent any future nuisance noises.

Check for Caliper Issues: One of the more awkward and perhaps pricey remedies to squeaky brakes is a caliper repair, or even a replacement.

However, the caliper is so important to the performance of your brakes, it will be most worthwhile to have any such issues fixed.

Brake Bedding: It might be that, after having any new brake components installed, that there are guidelines on bedding them in.

Make sure to take in any guidance as to how this might need to be done, and avoid a repeat of those squeaking brakes.