When the brakes on your vehicle start to squeak, listen closely to determine whether the sound is constant, intermittent or only occurs when slowing and stopping. Finding the cause of the sound is the first step toward solving the problem. Whether you end up replacing pads, applying anti-squeal adhesive to the piston or caliper housing or getting the best front brake caliper price to replace damaged or worn components, here are several effective solutions for the most common causes of squeaking brakes.
A continuous high pitched squeak or squeal may indicate that brake pads are worn and need to be replaced. The wear indicator on brake pads for cars is a small spring steel clip that makes sound when it comes into contact with the rotor. Brake pads made of semi-metallic materials are also more likely to squeak than ceramic or non-asbestos organic pads.
Glazed Pads and Rotors
A squealing or squeaking sound can occur when a brake caliper becomes stuck and the brake stays partially applied. As excessive friction between the pad and rotor results in overheating, the pad hardens, crystallizes and may also glaze the rotor. The sound is emitted while these over-hardened surfaces remain in contact. Hardened pads also provide less friction for reliable slowing and stopping. Check the price for new brakes and rotors or determine whether the pads can be replaced and the rotor resurfaced.
Loose or Unevenly Worn Parts
Improperly installed anti-rattle clips, calipers, rotors or other components may vibrate and emit squeaking noises. These brake parts should be adjusted and may also require cleaning and lubrication. Uneven pad or rotor wear can also create vibrations that sound like chirps or squeaks.
Moisture or Minor Rust
Condensation or a thin layer of rust may form on the rotors of a vehicle parked outside in humid conditions. You may hear squeaks the first few times you brake until the pads warm up. These sounds should not continue after the moisture is eliminated or the superficial rust has been scraped off.
Brakes may squeak during heavy use, such as during steep or long downhill drives or while carrying an excessive load. These sounds become more likely as heat builds up and brake parts swell. Relieve the brakes by shifting into a lower gear or reducing load weight.
Dry Drum Brake Contact Points
Drum brakes may squeak if lubrication is needed on the pad-to-backing late contact points between a shoe and drum. A constant or rhythmic squeak may sound as the curved pad or shoe scrapes against the braking plate. Lubricate the contact points by applying a specialized formula or high-temperature anti-seize compound to the back side of shoes and all contact points.
If disc brakes are squeaking even though all parts are installed properly and plenty of pad remains, try inserting shims or applying an anaerobic anti-squeal adhesive to the portion of the piston and caliper that makes contact with the pad backing plate. Whether you need to adjust or replace brake parts, there are a number of ways to stop brakes from squeaking.