Ever noticed your new brakes squeak when stopping slowly? You’re not alone! This common but irritating issue can be the result of several factors. But don’t worry, in this article, we will delve into the most common causes of this problem and offer potential solutions.
Here, we provide an overview of common causes that could lead to these problems with your brakes system:
New brakes need to adapt
When you get new brakes, they need some time to adjust to your car’s system. During this period, don’t worry when your new brakes squeak when stopping slowly.
Additionally, to help your new brakes work properly, you should try to do a number of stops at a moderate speed but try not to get the brakes too hot. Once you’ve done this, wait a few minutes to let the brakes sometime to cool down.
Remember, a little squeak from new brakes is normal. But if the noise keeps happening after a few hundred miles, you should take your car to a professional to check.
Reduction in brake pad thickness
Normally, your brake pads naturally thin over time due to friction. As they thin, the surface area decreases, and this can result in high-frequency vibrations when you apply the brakes, causing them to squeak.
So, to avoid this, regular inspection and maintenance of your brakes are necessary. If you notice that the brake pads are thinner than 1/4 inch, you need to replace them.
High level of metal
Pads with a high metal content can squeak as they wear down and the metal particles scrape against the brake disc. Thus, when buying, you can consider buying brake pads with a lower metal content or a ceramic-based brake pad, which is often quieter and produces less dust to minimize this problem.
Brake caliper pins stuck
Furthermore, the brake caliper pins are another issue you need to focus on. If one of these pins gets stuck, it could force the pad to hit the rotor at an angle, resulting in a squeaking noise. And if both caliper pins get stuck, you may even notice a burning smell.
When you leave your car parked overnight or for a long time in a cold and damp place. After that, you start driving the car again and use the brakes, the moisture quickly evaporates due to the heat generated by braking, leading to make a squeaking sound.
But don’t worry, this squeaking sound is usually temporary. As you continue to drive and use your brakes for a while, they will heat up and any remaining moisture will evaporate, so the squeaking should stop.
However, if you notice the squeaking continues even after the brakes should be warmed up, so, you should take your car to check.
Another cause is glazing, which happens when the brake pads overheat, causing the pad material to harden and become glossy. So, you will hear the squeak when it comes into contact with the brake disc. Thus, to prevent this issue, when driving, you avoid hard braking when possible. Also, let your brakes cool down during extended periods of downhill driving.
If you frequently brake hard or panic brake, the brake pads can overheat and glaze over, causing a squeaking sound. This also shortens the life of your brake pads. So, when driving, you should try to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front to allow for more gradual braking.
Drum brakes, found on older cars or on the rear of some modern cars, are enclosed, which allows dust and dirt to build up inside, causing a squeak. If you have drum brakes that are squeaking, it might be time for a professional to clean or adjust them.
With the common causes mentioned above, we will provide a detailed guide to address these issues:
Consider the brakes bedding process
If your brakes are new, they aren’t completely flat but rather have a rough surface, so, they might need time to bed in. This process can take several hundred miles of normal driving. During this period, avoid any harsh braking if possible, to allow the brake pad material to gradually transfer onto the disc, enhancing the brake’s performance and reducing the chance of squeak.
Apply brake lubricant
If your new brakes are still squeaking after they’ve bedded in, you could apply brake lubricant to the back of the brake pads and any other areas where metal meets metal. Remember not to apply to the rotors or the surface of the pads that contact the rotors. Additionally, remember safety first. Make sure the car is secure and off before you start working on the brakes.
Replace thinning brake pads
Moreover, thinning brake pads can squeak due to the small surface area causing high-frequency vibrations. If you notice your brake pads are thinning (less than 1/4 inch of pad left), thus you need to replace them. If you don’t know how to replace it, you should take your car to a professional mechanic.
When dealing with a stuck brake caliper, you have two possible solutions: lubricating it or replacing it entirely. Brakes that stick can cause your car to veer to one side and might even produce a burning smell. In this situation, the brake pad, which remains in contact with the rotor, tends to wear out at a faster rate. Furthermore, this issue can also impact the transmission, leading to premature wear.
Avoid hard braking
Try to brake smoothly and gradually, rather than in a sudden, hard manner. Hard braking can cause the brakes to overheat, leading to glazing and eventual squeaking. If you do this, you can extend the life of your brakes and reduce the risk of squeaking.
Choose high-quality brake pads
If you’re due for a brake replacement, should choose high-quality brake pads with lower metal content. These tend to have better heat distribution, reducing the risk of glazing.
Do not leave the car in cold weather
When your car is left in a cold environment, especially overnight or for extended periods, leading to the high-pitched squeak you hear when stopping slowly.
Additionally, if your car is parked outside in a damp environment, rust can form on the brake discs. When you start driving and apply the brakes for the first few times, you might hear a grinding or squeaking sound as the brake pads scrape off this rust.
So, you can park your car in a garage or brake servicing and drive regularly to avoid leaving your car inactive for long periods in cold, damp conditions.
If your new brakes squeak when stopping slowly, there’s no need to panic. Understanding the common causes of this problem and applying some simple solutions can help you limit or eliminate this annoying problem, ensuring a smoother and quieter ride.
- Why do my brakes make a squeaking noise even though the brake pads are in good shape?
In many instances, a simple cleaning of the rotor surface and brake pad will do the trick. The squeaking or squealing noise often arises due to rust buildup, typically caused by water landing on the rotors. If dampness accumulates on the rotor surface, a thin layer of rust can develop.
- What are the signs that the brake caliper is malfunctioning?
Indications that your vehicle might have a faulty brake caliper could include unusual sounds, diminished braking capability, fluid leaks, or the sensation of your car drifting to one side. Unlike brake pads that require regular replacement, calipers are typically designed to last for the vehicle's lifetime.
- How much time does it take for new brakes to get adjusted?
The majority of brake pad materials need around 300 to 400 miles to fully deposit an even layer of pad material onto the rotors.