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Common causes for squeaky brakes and possible solutions
One of the most common car problems you’re likely to encounter is squeaky brakes. There’s a misconception that squeaky brakes always mean that your brakes need to be replaced. However, bad brakes are only one of the many possible reasons why your brakes might be squeaking. There are plenty of other reasons for them to squeak as well.
If you have squeaky brakes and want to get them fixed, bring your vehicle down to the Sedalia, MO brake repair & replacement specialists at Bryant Motors.
Why do brakes squeak?
The technical reason behind the squeaking is a certain amount of friction happening between the metallic parts of your brake system and your brake pads. Some manner of foreign material within the system may also be causing it.
The type of squeaking sound produced depends on what exactly is causing it. You might hear a soft squeak or you might hear something noisy and high-pitched. A single shrill note is a common sound produced by squeaky brakes, but the sound you want to be most aware of is the sound of ripping sheet metal. That sound is almost always a sign that your brakes need to be replaced immediately.
Common (and short-lived) reasons for squeaky brakes
Aside from worn brakes, there are a number of other reasons why your brakes might squeak. As previously mentioned, foreign matter in your system could cause squeaking. If you drive your vehicle in an extremely dusty or sandy area, you might hear squeaking from your brakes afterward. Very cold or icy weather can also cause squeaking.
Similarly, snow or hard rain can create a thin rust layer on your brakes that will squeak the first few times the brakes are used. If you park your vehicle outside overnight, a similar situation can happen with dew getting into the system. Noises that arise from these causes are usually temporary and should disappear after a few uses.
If you’re hauling a big load with a truck or SUV, you might experience squeaking due to the brake parts heating up and swelling. Similarly, if you’re going down a long grade in any vehicle while using your brakes, they may heat up from the strain. If you own a brand new vehicle, you might experience squeaking due to the extra hard brake pads that are often installed.
Serious reasons why your brakes are making noises
The one sound that you don’t want to hear from your brakes is the sound of sheet metal tearing. However, that sound doesn’t simply crop up overnight. Usually, it will be preceded by a general squealing sound. That sound is produced from friction with the brake pad safety piece. This safety is a small piece of built-in steel that is designed to cause a squeaking sound and warn you that your pads need to be replaced as soon as possible.
If you ignore that sound, then eventually the piece of steel will wear down completely. That will result in your brake rotors scraping against the metal backplates, which causes the ripping sound and will also cause serious damage to your vehicle.
How different brake types cause squealing
The type of brakes on your car may also play a role in why your brakes are squeaking. Most new cars, trucks and SUVs have disc brakes on all four wheels. However, some vehicles still have rear drum brakes and front disc brakes.
Drum brakes are more economical to produce, and the rear brakes don’t work as hard as front brakes in general situations. Therefore, it makes economic sense in some cases to have rear drum brakes. Drum brakes may squeak when they require lubrication, so it’s a good idea to check that out.
Brake pads with high metal content
You’ll find a certain amount of metal in all types of brake pads, but there are bargain brake pads that contain much higher amounts of metal than average. These pads often have large pieces of metal embedded into their construction. These highly-metallic pads can cause squeaking sounds when they press against your rotor. The pads tend to last quite a while (around 40,000 miles).
To avoid this, invest in higher quality pads that contain more organic material like fiber and rubber.
Types of brake pads
The 3 main brake pad types are ceramic, semi-metallic and non-asbestos organic (NAO). Semi-metallic bargain pads do last for a while and they are better at transferring heat away from the rotor; however, they can also cause undue wear on the rotor and make noise.
NAO pads can be even cheaper than semi-metallic and they are quiet, but they also wear down fairly quickly.
Ceramic pads tend to have the highest price tag, but they have good stopping ability, don’t rust and are quiet.
If you’re not comfortable checking out your own brake system and making repairs, then be sure to visit a brake repair shop to get that squeaking noise diagnosed. Even though total brake failure is fairly rare in most cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re having trouble with your brakes, visit Bryant Motors. We’ll get your car fixed up quickly so you can get back to smooth (silent) sailing!