Why are my brakes squeaky?

21 June 2019 / Lindleys Autocentres

As we all know, brakes are one of the most essential parts of the vehicle. Without fully functioning brakes, you are basically putting yourself in jeopardy along with anyone else that is in the surrounding area.

To avoid incidents, it is vital that you ensure your brakes are performing to a high standard. There are standardised checks to ensure that they are performing well. However, in this article, we will cover what it means when you start to hear your brakes squeak.

What causes the squeaking sound

The squealing noise that you hear as you brake is usually caused by vibration. There are many factors that come to play when your vehicle’s brakes start to squeak. However, keep in mind that sometimes your brakes will make a noise due to the speed you are driving at and how hard you press down on your brake pedal.

Whenever you press down on your brakes, the brakes generate hydraulic pressure that causes the brake pads to press down on the discs and create friction. This friction ultimately slows down the rotors (discs) and helps the vehicle to come to a stop.

Most vehicle pads will be assembled with a wear indicator so that worn-out brakes are more noticeable to car owners. The wear indicator is a small spring steel clip that will touch the disc (rotor) to create a high-pitched squealing sound. Therefore, when the friction material on the pads wears down, it is time to get a replacement. As soon as you start to hear this noise, visit your local car garage to get your brakes checked as soon as possible.

if your pads do not have this indicator, there are other ways to determine whether you have worn out brakes.  For example, if it is unusual for your brakes to be making a squeaking sound, the noise could be due to the brake lining being worn out. It could also indicate that the front disc brake pads are becoming loose or have lost their anti-rattle clips.

Other common causes of squeaking brakes are:

  • Glazed pads and rotors

  • Broken anti-rattle clips

  • Lack of pad insulation

Regardless of the cause, it is extremely important to get your brakes checked in order to make sure your safety is not compromised.

What is considered a normal brake pad noise?

If you drive your vehicle in the morning you may notice that your brakes make a grinding or a swishing sound for the first few times you brake. The reason for this is because it takes some time for the brake pads to warm up after build-up of moisture overnight.

As moisture is the cause of rust, when you come to a stop the pads are basically sweeping the thin layer of rust that has formed over the discs (which is completely fine). This is why you have probably noticed your brakes hiss when you come to a stop during rainy days. However, if you notice a significant amount of rust then you must get your pads and discs checked out.

Other common brake complications

As you now know, hearing squeaky brakes can be dangerous and is typically the first signs of disc deterioration. However, there are other indicating factors that suggest your brakes are not as reliable as they used to be.

We recommend that as you drive around, pay attention to the performance of your brake system. One thing you should be looking out for is whether your vehicles stopping distance is matching up with the amount of pressure you are placing on your brakes. If not, it could suggest that your brakes need to be adjusted or a new brake lining is required.

If your vehicle begins to pull to one side whenever you press down on the brake pedal, there is an indication that there may be a brake fluid leak or a stuck calliper. This is especially true if your vehicle has front disc brakes.

Another sign that your disc brakes need replacing is when your steering wheel shakes as you brake. If you notice this happening to you, please book an appointment as soon as you can.

Here at Lindleys Autocentres, we are firm believers of vehicle safety. You should be proactive in your regular vehicle maintenance checks to avoid damage to your vehicle.  And you definitely shouldn't leave maintenance checks to the last minute just so you can pass your MOT.

Visit our brake repair page to find out more about the brake services we provide and see how we can help you - it is always better to be safe than sorry.


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