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Know All about Squeaky Car Brakes!

  • Insurance
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 11 minutes

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While driving, most of us get concerned about the mileage and how quickly our car can accelerate. Often we forget how crucial it is to stop a car efficiently. Car brakes are critical components that ensure your safety and the safety of others. When you push the pedal and hear a squealing or grinding noise, you know something is wrong with your car. Squeaky brakes can be a reason!


While dismissing these noises is easy, you need to take squeaking brakes seriously. One of the earliest things you should do is figure out what’s causing it. We spend around $9,000 on car maintenance every 15,000 miles. Still, you may save money by scheduling an appointment when your brake squeals become loud and consistent.

So, what causes squeaky brakes? How can you fix it? Our blog provides all info you need!

What causes squeaky brakes?

Why are my brakes squeaking? Of course, it will be a question in your mind when your car starts producing squealing sounds while you press down the brake pedal. So, firstly you need to find out what’s causing the squeak. Below listed are some factors that can cause your breaks to squeak.

Get an insurance that provides coverage for brake pads

1. Brake pads get worn out

The most apparent reason for squeaky breaks is worn brake pads. It has a metal indication that produces a high-pitched warning when they approach its minimum thickness. Be aware that it’s time to replace your brake pads when you hear that annoying screech. A small layer of rust on your brake pads can produce a similar squeaking sound. However, this typically gets rectified after a few brake applications. Do have your brakes checked out at the earliest if the noise persists. You will have to get new brake pads and rotors if you ignore the problem and the squeaking becomes grinding. Be mindful that the cost of your next brake service could get more expensive.

2. Presence of dust or debris between the rotors and brake pads

Mud, dust, or other material on the surface of brake pads or rotors is another common cause of squeaky brakes. It can happen in various driving situations or if your car was accumulating dust for an extended period. A simple spray with cleaner or sanding down of the surface material will usually solve the problem in this scenario. After a few brake applications, it may go away on its own, letting the friction between the pads and rotors sweep away the debris.

3. Overnight moisture

It is typical for your car to make an unusual noise if exposed to snow, rain, or humidity overnight. A small layer of rust forms on the rotors when the brakes get exposed to moisture. So, you will hear a squeaky or grinding sound while you apply the brakes. Fortunately, you can get rid of the rust by driving usually. You can also park your car indoors to prevent moisture from gathering on your brakes.

4. Your braking style


Excessive heat generated by repeated harsh and fast braking, especially at high speeds, produces a smooth, hard glaze on the surface of your brake pads. Glazing can also occur due to braking downhill. The constant friction generates a temperature surge that exceeds the limits of standard brake pads. As a result, brake pads lose their ability to provide the necessary friction to stop the car from the glazing. They could also break or crack. So, you’ll need to replace them.

Mechanical or hydraulic breakdown in the brake caliper also results in glazing. It causes the brake pads to rub against the rotor even when not pressing down the brake pedal. It is the most harmful type as it occurs without the driver’s knowledge. Run your finger down the surface of your brake pad to feel for a smooth, sleek finish to check for signs of glazing.

5. Use of metallic brake pads

Brake pad material can also be a reason for squeaky brakes. There are mainly three types of brake pads – organic, semi-metallic, and ceramic. The most typical one on the market is the semi-metallic brake pad, consisting of 30% and 65 percent metallic materials such as iron, steel, graphite, and copper. Often, there may be squealing or grinding when semi-metallic brake pads rub on the rotor. The noise will generally disappear once the brake pad goes past that place or layer. But, if it persists, consider opting for a pad with less metallic content.

Organic pads will be the best if you’re looking for a cheap option. But, they have less quality and durability and produce a lot of dust. Another alternative is ceramic brake pads, the best among the three materials based on quality and performance.

6. No proper lubrication on drum brakes

If your car has drum brakes, lack of proper lubrication can lead to squealing at the contact points between the shoes and drum. The absence of lubrication causes squealing as the shoes start to scrape against the backing plate. You can quickly identify the problem by checking for scraping traces that expose the bare metal. In addition, you can prevent squeaky drum brakes by applying brake grease on the backing plate.

How to fix squeaky brakes

Though frustrating, you can quickly fix squeaky brakes. It should also be a cost-effective fix. Follow these to fix if your brakes have squeaky noises.

Manage your driving

It is a modest solution for squealing brakes, especially if your brakes only squeal when strained. Unfortunately, brakes suffer strain due to frequent use, heavy loads, steep descents, and heat up and squeak.

  • Rather than depending on your brakes, downshift into a lower gear
  •  when driving down steep gradients.
  • Safer driving distances between cars help avoid slamming on the brakes or overusing them.
  • Reduce the pressure on the brakes by limiting the weight of your load.

Use brake lubricants

A lubricant or brake grease is another effective solution, similar to how you could lubricate a squeaky door. Several formats are available, like tubes, cans, and sprays. Brake lube is beneficial for drivers with rust, dust, or sand in their brakes.

Use anti-squeal adhesive

Unlike lubricants, anti-squeal adhesives adopt a different technique, often known as damper pads. The area where the brake pad attaches gets coated with a sticky film or fluid. These absorb the vibrations that produce brake noise.

How to stop squeaky brakes

Although the sound of squeaking brakes is frustrating, it is beneficial to your safety. You won’t realize your car and brakes have issues if you don’t hear these screechy sounds. Your rotors and brake pads will wear out, or brake failure can happen if you fail to notice these early vibrations. It will be costly to solve these issues if you don’t identify them early on. Here are some tips you can follow on how to fix squeaky brakes.

Provide proper lubrication

Calipers with insufficient lubrication can lead to brake grinding. You’ll need to know how to remove the brake pads from this part to lubricate the contact points. After removing the brake pads from the calipers, lubricate the contact points with disposable gloves. You can locate it around the caliper carrier and on the back of the brake pad. Never apply oil or grease to the rotor surface or the friction material surface of the brake pads. You will have to get a new pair if you do so without cleaning them properly.

Be mindful that your car may have drum brakes or disc brakes. The brake rotor is attached directly to the wheel in disc brakes. In drum brakes, you can see the brake drum attached to the inside of the wheel. So, how to apply the oil depends on the type of brake your car has. Check your owner’s manual for that.

Install shims

Shims are parts located between the rotors and the brake pads that prevent friction from happening. All cars have shims that ensure rotors and pads remain aligned. There should be little to no noise when shims function smoothly. So, if you hear squeaking or grinding, it’s time to check your shims. Replace the shims if they wear out.

Repair or replace brake pads and rotors

brake pad replacement

Even if you have options, you will need to replace your brake pads. It would be best if you replace brake pads every 50,000 miles. Get a repair for your brakes when the brake pad friction wears out, resulting in metal-to-metal contact between rotors and pads. Visit an expert mechanic to do this brake job. Based on the severity and condition of the brake pads, brake jobs can cost you anything between $100 and $300 for each axle.

Why are my new brakes so squeaky?

Ceramic or metallic pads, as well as moisture, can cause brake pads to squeak. But, this type of squeaking is usually considered safe. The main reason for brakes squeaking after new pads may be the presence of a foreign object. For instance, pinecones, twigs, or rocks can come in between the rotor and brake pad.

Also, you may hear squeaking noise while driving, but no brakes are applied. But, you have to take it seriously. So, take your car soon to a mechanic at the earliest to avoid damage to the rotors.

How much to fix squeaky brakes?

Take your car to an expert as soon as you have squeaky brakes. A general inspection may cost you anything between $80 and $115 based on the labor charges. Based on your car model, replacing with a set of new brake pads can cost nearly $300 per axle in parts and labor. Rotor replacement may cost you between $300 and $400. Calipers range in price from $600 to $900. The typical cost of replacing brake shoes comes between $250 and $300. The cost of a new drum ranges from $200 to $230.

Are squeaky brakes bad?

It’s better to discover your brakes are failing due to a squeak than to be unable to stop! Most braking noises are considered normal and do not point to a problem. However, if you hear a strange or constant brake noise, it is an indication to lubricate your hardware.

Can I drive with squeaky brakes?

Grinding noise indicates that the friction material in your brakes has worn down to the metal section of the brake pad that makes contact with your brake disc. Driving with this condition puts you in great danger of brake failure and damage to your brake discs, which are expensive to replace.

How long can you drive on squeaky brakes?

Breaks squeak due to several reasons. If your brakes are squeaking due to worn brake pads, you should replace them immediately. You shouldn’t drive the car for more than a day or two. The squealers warn the driver that the brakes need a service. If you neglect them, you will impose more damage, which will surge the repair expense. It may also become a safety problem, costing you or someone else their life.

The brakes should generally work for an extended period if the squeaking happens due to a not major problem.

Squeaky brakes: Reasons that won’t worry you

There are many reasons brakes can squeak that you needn’t worry about.

  • Dust, sand, and other foreign objects can clog the brakes, generating noise.
  • Brakes might squeal due to the weather, especially cold weather.
  • Snow, rain, or high water can leave a thin layer of rust on the brakes that will disappear after a few stops.
  • Heavy loads may put a lot of pressure on the brakes, causing them to squeal when the heat builds up, and the parts swell.
  • The heat generated by steep or extended downhill drives might cause the brakes to squeal.
  • New cars have a tougher car brake pad, which is safer than older models. But, harder pads screech louder.
  • Semi-metallic brake pads are notorious for squealing, although there are quieter alternatives.
  • Overnight moisture can also cause morning grind and noisy brakes, which will stop as the brakes shake off the moisture.

Does insurance cover brake pads?

Insurance doesn’t offer coverage for standard maintenance for owning a car, including changing worn-out brake pads. However, you will get coverage for brake pads damaged in an accident. It depends on the type of your insurance policy. For instance, comprehensive or collision insurance could assist cover you in the event of a car accident, a tree falling on your car, or vandalized or stolen wheels. Way.com can help you pick the right and most affordable auto insurance coverage!

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable auto insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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