Have you recently replaced your brake pads and rotors but still experiencing a squeal when braking? This problem is quite common, and it can be incredibly frustrating. Any squeak inside your vehicle can be very annoying, especially if it lasts for a long time. But why are they squealing and how long has the issue continued since replacement? This piece addresses the issue into greater detail, including what causes this issue and how to fix it.
Brake Noises: Annoying or Dangerous?
Before diving into what causes brakes to squeal, let’s look at the types of brakes and the associated squealing reasons
Two Kinds of Brakes
Disk brakes: Most modern car models have disc brakes, which is where the pad presses against a rotor or disk to stop the vehicle.
- Morning squeak after raining overnight, or from condensation moisture and dew
- Cheap brake pads containing high metal content
- Thinning brake pads make brake pads to squeak
Drum brakes: They are located on the rear wheels, where a curved pad presses on a hollow drum to stop the vehicle.
- They squeak when the pad-to-backing-late contact points run out of lubrication.
4 Reasons Why Brakes Squeal After Being Replaced
- Brakes squeak after the vehicle sits overnight
Most car brakes squeak after the automobile is left sitting overnight. This is usually because of moisture from rain, dew or condensation that may collect on the rotors. When the humidity gets to the brake rotors, it results in the formation of a thin layer of rust on the rotor surface. The pads scrape off the rust as the rotors revolve. The rust is then caught up on the edges of the brake pad, and the fine rust particles cause the squeak.
The best way to avert this kind of squeak is to position your store or garage inside a climate-controlled area. The rust on the rotors may also make pad impressions on rotors, which eventually leads to brake pulsation or thumping noise.
- High metal content in the brake pads
Brake pads usually contain parts of metal, but some unscrupulous companies manufacture them with exceedingly high metal content. They press large chunks of metal on the pads. These vast metal pieces drag on the rotor and result in a loud brake squeak.
Considering that brake pads can last between 30,000 to 40,000 miles, one has no option but to listen to these irritating noises for some months. That is one reason why you should consider investing in high quality all season tires and best car brakes. The other reason is that brakes are responsible for stopping the vehicle and condition is a matter of concern. Do not allow a few bucks to stand between you and the accident that you might eventually cause and lose loads of cash in the long run.
To reduce these squeaks from your brakes, use pads that have a significant content of organic brake material such as rubber, fiber, resin, and Kevlar. Brakes with a high content of the organic material tend to have few incidences of metal shavings in the pad, meaning that there will be fewer squeaks and less metal dust on the car wheels. Besides the annoying sounds, metal particles in the brakes might discolor aluminum wheels or chrome.
- Thinning brake pads
Break wear is another reason why you might be hearing the squeaks. The sounds start when the pads are overly worn out and are extremely thin. It is an adequate warning that the pads are almost getting used up and you should replace.
Car manufacturers attach wear indicators to the brake system. The signs are tiny metal tabs made using hardened steel. They are connected in different ways, such as welding them, using a push-on clip attached at the edge of the pad or using a rivet. The steel tabs are made in a way that they hit the rotor before the pad wears off entirely. That way, they warn the driver that the pad material is wearing away and about to create a metal-to-metal situation. If you are keen to listen to this sound, you will save yourself the agony of car stalling and breakdown.
- Drum brakes that require lubrication
Have you ever heard some squeaky noises originating from the back brakes when you step on the brake pedal? If yes, there is a chance that the pads require lubrication. If there is no lubrication at the contact points, the metal might start rusting. When this happens, the pads will scrape against the braking plate and result in constant squeaks when the wheels rotate. Most new automobiles have disc brakes on all the wheels, but drum brakes are still applied on the back wheels of some vehicles.
The most effective way of fixing this is to ensure that the contact brakes are always lubricated. Consult your mechanic for recommendations on the best lube to use. The lube is to be applied on the back side of the brake pads and all the pad contact points, and not directly on the shoe surfaces.
How to Fix Squeaky Brakes
Only a few car problems can be as annoying as noisy brakes. Even if the pads are not worn out, and the noise is not resulting from damage in the braking system, those small noises can wreck your nerves. In case your brakes are squealing, look out for loose parts, replace any missing sections and lubricate the pieces regularly. These actionable steps can go a long way in stopping the noises. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fix the squeaking.
Look Out for Loose Parts
Try turning the calipers, pad, and other components. Tight brakes will move with your hands while loose ones will vibrate and cause some sounds.
Replace Any Loose Clips and Shims
If you notice any loose clips or shims, replace them immediately to ensure that the pads do not move within the caliper assembly.
Use Dampening Paste
There are several brands of this paste, so make sure you buy an effective one. Apply a thin layer of the glue at the back of the pads. This will result in a small cushion that will dampen the vibration and eventually stop the noises. Allow adequate time for the paste to dry before assembling the brakes; this will ensure that it hardens. Two to three hours is an adequate allowance. You can also leave it overnight if possible. It will get sticky and change to a dark color when it dries.
Heat from a hair dryer or from the sun aids in drying the paste, but allow it to cool at room temperature before re-installing the pads.
Use a brake cleaner or degreaser to clean or remove the dampening paste.
Check the Brake Pads for Signs of Wear
Most disk brakes have a wear indicator that makes noises when the pads are worn out to a particular extent. If you hear these noises, make sure you replace the pads immediately. Some pads vary in sizes and cause the top of the pad to sit slightly higher than the rotor. This leads to uneven brake pad wearing, which leaves the brake pad riding at the tip of the rotor. Eventually, this might lead to squeaking noises. If there is a lot of potential left in the pads, you can pull the lip of the pad downwards to use the thicker part of the brake pad.
Try Other Brake Pad Materials
Consider using different kinds of brake pad materials, but bear in mind that the effectiveness and noise might be a trade-off. It is advisable to replace the pads using a similar material. However, check the service manual of the automobile to know the material that the manufacturer recommends the most.
- A semi-metallic pad
It has both metallic and organic materials. Such pads tend to have the best of both worlds with regards to braking ability, and they do not have too much noise. This increases the pad life, but the rotor might wear a bit faster than the organic pads. It is also tolerate repeated, meaning that it stops better without wearing as extensively as the organic pads.
- An organic pad
It is usually quieter than metallic pads but may lack the resistance and performance of a metallic or semi-metallic pad. An organic pad might also be unable to withstand the high heat.
- A metallic pad
Various metals can be used to provide high friction against the rotor. It performs an excellent job by stopping at repeated high speeds under minimum wear. However, it makes the most noise of all the brake pads. Metallic pads may also result in high wear levels of the rotor.
Brake squeals are frequent and frustrating. They can occur even after you replace the brake pads. However, not all brake noises are alarming, such as the morning squeaking. Before rushing to the mechanic, you ought to check for reasons behind the squeaking to avoid making false alarms. Most squeaks can be repaired quickly, but if you are unsure of your mechanical skills, consider taking the car to a reputable mechanic.