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Why are my Brakes Squeaking?

Bradley Jando | Thursday 13th February 2020 1:38pm

car technician working on car brake pads and calipers

There are numerous reasons why your brakes could be squeaking, and itís important to figure out what this reason is so that the problem can be fixed. Itís imperative that your brakes work correctly so that you can stay safe on the roads and protect yourself as well as other drivers. Below, you can find some of the most common causes of squeaky brakes.

Why do my brakes squeak?

Weather Conditions

You should try to make a note of when your brakes sound the loudest. It may be that the cold weather is causing them to squeak. While this may be annoying, there isnít necessarily anything that can be done about this. At least youíre safe in the knowledge that there is nothing wrong with them.

Heavy loads

If you regularly carry lots of passengers or shift heavy loads in your car, then you may find that the brakes squeak more than they should. The heavier your vehicle, the more energy it will take to slow it down, which puts more pressure on the brakes. As the brakes get hot, the metal can swell, making the noise worse. Again, this is nothing to worry about, however you may want to get your brakes checked more frequently, as they could wear down faster.

Moisture

You may notice that your brakes make a grinding noise in the morning. This sound is likely to be less of a squeak and more of a grating noise. When the car has been left unused overnight, moisture can build up around the brake pads, which can even lead to the creation of a thin layer of brown rust. The first time you apply the brakes in the morning, this rust will be removed, as will any excess moisture. This noise isnít anything to worry about.

Embedded objects

Thereís a lot of grit, sand, stone and other materials on the roads that can become embedded in your brakes. You usually wonít notice these, unless a particularly large stone has become stuck. In most cases, the noise you can hear is the stone being pushed into the brake pad by the caliper. This can cause minor damage to your brakes, but the stone should become loose by itself and work its way out.

Worn-down brake pads

In most cases, the brake pads have worn too thin. As you press the brake pedal, the brake caliper will clamp around the pad, applying pressure to slow the wheel down. When this happens, friction is created that turns into heat, dispelling the kinetic energy that the car has produced through moving.

Imagine that every time the brakes are applied, a very thin layer of metal is shaved off the pad. Over time, this will cause your pads to become thinner and thinner. This is why they eventually need replacing. The squeaking that you can hear from worn-down brake pads is metal dragging along the metal on the disc. It means that you have reached the recommended wear limit and should take your car to a repair centre to have your pads swapped for new ones.

If youíre worried about the quality of your brakes, you could go to your nearest Kwik Fit for a free brake check.

New car

When you get a new vehicle, you may find that the brakes are squeaking. Donít panic - this doesnít mean that you need to replace them so soon. Itís likely that they just need bedding in. The bedding-in process can be complicated, but it usually involves speeding up to around 60 mph and applying the brakes firmly until youíve reached around 10 mph. This process should be repeated about eight to 10 times. Doing this wears down the transfer layer on the pads so it is completely even and could prevent brake issues in the future.

Make sure that you do it in a safe environment when the roads are quiet (early in the morning or late at night) to avoid causing an accident.

How to stop squeaky brakes

The solution to your carís squeaky brakes problem will depend on the cause. In most cases, it will resolve itself or may just be down to the weather. However, if itís really grinding your gears, you may want to look at some ways that you can prevent the noise.

If the squeak is present because your pads have worn too thin, you should take them to be replaced as soon as you can. In other cases, it may not necessarily be this easy. It may be that the pads need some kind of lubrication. Weíd advise taking the car to your nearest repair centre, where the technician can have a look and see what they can do for you. A solution could depend on your vehicle and the type of brakes you currently have.


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