NuBrakes Blog Fix Squeaky Brakes: How To Do It Effectively For Better Vehicle Performance Image

Fix Squeaky Brakes: How To Do It Effectively For Better Vehicle Performance

Squeaky brakes could be the result of recent snow or rain, surface rust forming on your rotors, dirt particles caught in your brake system, or a sign that your brake pads are worn down. If the squeaking sound goes away after a few brake pedal applications, you likely do not need to replace your brakes.

However, you may have something more severe if the brake squeaking continues. If your brakes constantly squeak while you move, this may be due to a built-in wear indicator on the brake pads.

As brake pads deteriorate and lose their consistency, a small tab starts rubbing the rotor, warning you that it's time for a replacement. Read more about the Causes of Squeaky Brakes.

Not all brake pads are identical, and some wear indicators might only squeak as you come to a halt.

Additionally, you may experience irregular rotor wear, which stops your brake pads from having optional stopping power.

Warped rotors induce sounds and vibrations while braking and can make driving uncomfortable. Warped rotors can also wear your car brake pads unevenly as they don't push flat against the rotors when applying the vehicle brake pedal.

Occasionally, brake pads only remain mounted securely, or the shims holding them become lax, creating a squeaky noise.

However, since the brakes are a considerable part of your vehicle's performance, having a trusted technician check them is the best bet if you need more clarification on the issue.

Key Takeaways:

  • Squeaky brakes could be due to snow or rain, surface rust, dirt particles, or worn brake pads.

  • If the squeaking goes away after a few brake pedal applications, brake replacement may not be necessary.

  • Brake pads may have built-in wear indicators that squeak when they need to be replaced.

  • Warped rotors can cause irregular rotor wear and uncomfortable vibrations while braking.

  • Fixing squeaky brakes can involve lubricating touchpoints, installing brake pad shims, or replacing the rotors and pads.

  • Brake pads can make a squeaking sound due to damaged or thinning pads, dust or dirt buildup, excessive overnight moisture, or lack of lubrication.

Nubrakes - Oil Change Discount.webp

How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

If you notice a squeaking noise coming from your vehicle brakes, worn brake pads are generally the primary problem that comes to mind. However, if your brake pads are not worn, you may be able to fix squeaky brakes with these methods:

  • Put Some Grease or Other Lubricant on the Brake Pads

    If your vehicle brakes are new and still making a squeaking sound, the fix may be as easy as lubricating the touchpoints.

    Lubricating the brake pads involved taking the brake pads out from the calipers and then spreading the brake lubricant to the back of the brake pad, not the friction material.

    Make sure that the rotor and brake pad friction exterior are not covered with any lubricant or greases, as this could significantly decrease braking performance.

  • Put a Set of Shims

    For additional help against loud brakes, try using brake pad shims. Depending on your car, your brake pads may have shims already installed out of the box.

    If not, you can install brake pad shims on the brake pads to prevent brake noise.

    These shims take up any space that would let the brake pads push around and usually have a slight rubber coating to soak up any pulses that would result in a squeaky noise.

  • Replace the Rotors and Pads

    Sometimes, as your vehicle brakes approach the end of their useful life, it implies that the pads and rotors get damaged. If the brake pad friction cover wears down, you’ll ultimately hear a squealing sound because the brake caliper and rotor start touching.

    You might also hear a noise due to bent rotors, which indicates the brake pads cannot touch the rotors evenly during braking.

    You can check the width of your brake pads by inspecting them behind your wheels. If your brake pad holds less than 3/8” of friction component left, the rotor cover contains prominent grooves, or the rotor has a bulged exterior, you should replace your brake pads to ensure safety on the road.

Why Do Brake Pads Make a Squeaking Sound

Here are some reasons your brake pads are making a squeaking sound:

  • Damaged or Thinning Brake Pads

    The most common reason for brake squealing is damaged brake pads. Brake pads are purposely created with a metal piece that emits a high-pitched squeak when they wear down to the bottom. Similarly, a small layer of rust over your vehicle's brake pads can make a similar squeaking sound, but that sound will eventually wither away after applying a few brakes.

    If the noise remains as you drive along, you should get your brakes inspected right away. If you let the issue go unattended and the constant squeaking shifts into grinding, you will require new rotors with your car's brake pads. Replacing your rotors and brake pads can be more than double the price of your next brake replacement.

  • Dust or Dirt Between the Rotors and Pads

    Another common reason for brake pads making a squealing sound is brake dust, mud, or other debris on the exterior of your pads or rotors. This buildup can occur in different driving conditions or if your vehicle sits for an extended period accumulating dust.

    In this situation, a spray with cleaner or simply cleaning the surface will usually fix the problem. The sound might also go away after you apply a few brakes as it allows the friction between the rotors and pads to wipe away the debris.

  • Excessive Overnight Moisture

    If you notice an odd-sounding squeaking the first time you wake up, this could be normal, especially if your vehicle has been exposed to snow, rain, or humidity overnight.

    When moisture forms on your brakes or brake pads, a thin coating of rust can slowly build up on the brakes and rotors, generating a grinding or squeaking sound when you apply your vehicle brakes, however, this rust buildup can usually get fixed with daily driving. To avoid this issue, you should try parking your vehicle indoors to guard your brakes against collecting moisture.

  • Lack of Lubrication

    If your vehicle has drum brakes, the squeaking sound can also show up due to a lack of lubrication at the touchpoints between the drum and shoes. Without lubrication, the drum shoes begin to scrape against the backing scale, causing a squeaking noise.

If you hear loud squeaking noises that do not go away from driving, you should contact a mechanic to get your car inspected.

At NuBrakes, we offer mobile auto technicians that will come to your home or office for brakes, oil changes, maintenance, and more so that you have the most convenient repair service while saving you time and money.

Please feel free to reach out to us for a free car repair quote.


Brake problems? Schedule a free brake repair estimate now.

More Brake Posts

Schedule A Brake Repair Or Get a Quote Now.