Ask a Mechanic: Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?

March 6, 2018 8:47 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The squeaking of brakes is always an unwelcome sound—especially if it continues to get worse. Most drivers have no idea what caused the unpleasant noise, which can lead to panic. Oftentimes the concern is justified, as it could mean the brakes are going bad, putting you at risk every time you get behind the wheel. On the other hand, the squeak could also mean absolutely nothing. Everything from the weather to dust and disuse can result in some kind of vehicle noise. Understanding why the squeak is happening can help you know when it’s time to take your vehicle in for German car maintenance in Albuquerque, NM.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes behind brake squeaking:

  • Thinning brake pads: The likelihood of squeaking increases as the brake pads begin to wear out and thin due to usage. The noise is the vehicle’s built-in way of warning the driver that the brake pads need to be replaced imminently. The metal indicators on the brake pad backing will hit the rotor before it wears out entirely, resulting in the cautionary sound.
  • Overnight moisture: Do the brakes seem to squeak more frequently after you car has been sitting in the driveway overnight? This is likely due to the accumulation of moisture from rain or condensation on the rotor. A thin layer of rust will eventually form on the surface, causing the noise as the rust gets caught on the edge of the brake pad. Luckily, this can easily be avoided by storing your vehicle in a garage or other climate-controlled space overnight.
  • High metal content in brake pads: All brake pads have some metal inside, but cheaper options contain a higher amount of metal. The high-pitched sound is created when the metal begins to drag on the rotor. The threat of this sound alone should be enough to make most drivers spring for higher quality brake pads.
  • Drum brakes need lubrication: A screeching sound after pushing on the brakes likely means the shoe or backing plate needs additional lubrication. Insufficient lubrication will cause the metal to rust, which will eventually result in the obnoxious sound. This can easily be avoided by keeping all points of contact properly lubricated. Talk to a mechanic if you’re not sure how to do this yourself.
  • Unevenly worn rotor: A warped rotor is unable to let the brake pads push flat against the rotor when the brakes are hit. Vibrations, squealing, shaking, pulsating and wobbling are all indicators the system needs to be checked, as the rotors have been compromised. Failing to replace the rotors can have serious consequences, including brake failure.

A squeaking noise when hitting the brakes is a car’s way of saying it’s time to take it to a professional for German car maintenance in Albuquerque, NM. Call Hans Wittler’s Automotive today to schedule an inspection with one of our highly experienced technicians. Our full-service shop specializes in Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen!

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