What Causes Car Brakes to Squeak?
At first, you’re driving along with nothing but the sound of your engine and maybe some music playing in the background. Then, you press your foot on the brakes, and they let out an awful squeaking sound. This sound can be a cause for concern for many drivers, so we are here to help you figure out what causes your brakes to squeak and whether they need attention from a professional vehicle service technician.
[Read more: 3 Driving Rules Everyone Needs to Know]
First of all, let’s put one myth to rest right now. Squeaking car brakes isn’t always a sign that something is wrong with them or that they need to be replaced. In fact, there are some instances where squeaking brakes are normal. Have you noticed that after a rain storm, your brakes tend to squeak the first few times you try to use them? That’s because the water causes a thin layer of rust to accumulate on the brake rotors, and the squeak you hear is due to the pads scraping that layer of rust off when the brakes are used. This is completely normal.
Sounds and Signs Your Brakes Need Fixing or Replacing
Though noisy brakes aren’t always a sign for concern, as long as that sounds goes away after a little while, there are definitely some situations you’ll want to watch out for. So, what other reasons might your car brakes be squeaking.
One reason may be that your brake pads are thinning, and in this case, the squeaking is actually designed to alert you to this fact. As the brake pads wear, a metal tab edges closer to the rotor. When it makes contact, it will let out a high-pitched squeak to let you know those pads need to be replaced.
Another thing that can happen is that the brake calipers stick and leave the brakes partially applied. When this happens, something called glazing occurs, where the constant contact hardens the brake pads to cause a squeak. Other things to watch out for include broken anti-rattle clips, or improper lubrication if your car has drum brakes.
Now that you understand what some of the common causes for car brake squeaking are, remember that you really only need to be concerned if the noise is consistent and doesn’t stop after a short period of time. To read more automotive tips, check back to the American Automotive Group blog.