Why are my Brakes Squeaky?

Squeaky Brakes

Why Are My Brakes Squeaky?

Typically, before you need new brakes, the brakes will wear down, touch the brake warning indicator sensor, and cause a squeaky noise when you apply the brakes.

This squeaky brake noise can also be caused the worn brake pads, damaged brake rotors, worn brake shoes, worn brake hardware, or simply a lack of lubrication on brake contact points.

What is the squeaky noise when I reverse?

A squeaking noise that we commonly hear from our client’s vehicles at A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. is from a brake pad component called the brake warning indicator or brake wear tab.

The picture to the right shows the tab of metal called the wear indicator. This tab will touch the rotor when the pad is very low and will typically sound like a squeaking or whining noise as it vibrates over the brake rotor.

Only quality brake pad manufacturers install pads with wear indicators. The wear indicator is a tab of sheet metal that gives a driver an audible warning when the brake pads are low.

Even cars with electric wear sensors will still have these pad wear indicators installed. Think of a large record needle vibrating over a record... in this case the brake rotor is the record and the pad indicator is the needle.

Why do worn brake pads cause a squeaky noise?

Often times, worn brake pads will heat up quicker than new pads, which will cause them to crack and create a squeaky noise. Fortunately, the squeaking noise or any noise from the brakes, if a reminder to have your brakes inspected.

Are squeaky brakes dangerous?

The squeaky brakes can be dangerous depending on why they are squeaking. It the squeak if related to low pads, overheated rotors, worn brake shoes or worn brake drums, poor retaining hardware, or a brake component failure - these are all dangerous items that need immediate attention.

If the squeak is related to a lack of lubrication on metal contacts or a brake warning indicator, then you are still safe to drive for a short period of time before you can your brakes inspected.

How do I get rid of my brake noise?

We have many clients ask how to get rid of the brake squeaking noise but there is no “one size fit’s all.”

We have created a list of things that you can try to help you get rid of your brake squeak.

  1. If your brake pads are low, cracked, or damaged in anyway - replace the brake pads and resurface / replace the brake rotors.
  2. If your brake pads still have life remaining, sand down the face of the pad, deglaze or resurface the brake rotors.
  3. If there is no signs of issues with the brake pads or rotors, lubricate the brake pad contact points, and check the brake hardware.
  4. If the brake rotors have hot spots that are causing the squeaking brakes, resurface or change the brake rotors.

I have only mentioned brake rotors and brake pads to address the brake squeaking noise. This also related to brake shoes and brake drums if that is what your vehicle is equipped with.

There are other “fixes” for a brake squeak like spraying a fluid on the pads or rotors but this is not a recommended fix. You should never have any type of contaminate on the brake pad or rotor surfaces.

How much does it cost to fix squeaky brakes?

We try to answer this question, how much does it cost to fix squeaky brakes and other brake related questions on our Brake Repair page.

If you have any further questions about brake squeaking, squealing, or any other brake related noises, feel free to call us at 650-946-1856, text us at 650-750-8233, or make an appointment.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

Categories: Car Maintenance
Tags: brakes
A+ Japanese Auto Repair, Inc. is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call A+ Japanese Auto Repair, Inc. (650) 595-2277 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.