Brake Noise: Is My Car at A Loss of Efficiency?
Brake noise is one of those pesty upsets in life that can be extremely aggravating and occur out of nowhere. People usually don’t feel threatened by loud brake noise or squeaky brakes so they put off their trip to the service department to resolve the problem. Brakes are a rare part of the car where noise does not typically mean a loss of brake efficiency. If you notice your car feeling abnormal or hear noises such as metal-to-metal grinding, you should address the problem immediately. As always I like to keep things as simple as possible so let’s start with the basics to help you understand brake noise.
What Are Brakes?
Brakes have a very important purpose and are used heavily anytime a car is driven. Can you imagine weighing 100 pounds and having to stop a 3,500-pound vehicle? This is what about 100 pounds of brake parts does everyday for you. To stop the vehicle brakes turn kinetic energy into heat. The goal is to make sure they always work and make no noise. However, brakes noise is ultimately unavoidable. It becomes easier to understand when you take into account the amount of weight your brakes resist everyday, wearing down overtime.
What is Brake Noise?
Due to the amount of wear our brakes handle brake noise is normal. Brake noise is caused by a variety of sources besides just your actual brakes.
Brakes have supporting components that need to be maintained just like your brakes:
- Brake Pads become worn the more brakes are used and generate a high frequency vibration.
- Rotating Brake Disk are metal disk under the brake pads that need to be machined when your pads wear out.
The combination of high frequency vibration on the brake pads and rotating brake disk result in brake noise. Brake noise has become more and more common as manufacturers use different compounds. Until about 1993 asbestos was the material used for brakes. However it gained a reputation that it could cause bodily harm when inhaled. Manufacturers were forced to stop using it. The quality of new alternative compounds have more variance and can contribute to brake noise.
Are Your Brakes Making A Clicking Noise?
If you are hearing a clicking noise when you change the direction of your vehicle it might be from your brakes. This is a common noise that is also normal. The downside is it cannot always be repaired. When the brake pad sifts into its holder (the caliper) it can result in this clicking noise. Your car is designed to allow the brake pad to move into the holder as it wears and help the brakes wear more even. The click can also become noticeable if there is road debris that has accumulated between the brake pad and caliper. If you are experiencing the clicking noise it is worth having it checked out. You can’t fix what isn’t broken and this is a perfect example of that. Even though my wife would probably tell you that I can fix everything, even what isn’t broken!
What Are Your Repair Options?
Brake noise can occur on any age car, even brand new ones. For newer vehicles rust could have occurred while it was being stored or if it sat for a period of time. I always check the rotors and make sure everything is working how it should. More times than not some lubrication can solve the brake noise. The diagnosis for noisy brakes is a long list. If you have just had your brakes done or have a newer car the probability that aftermarket parts were used or lubrication is needed, is high.
Drum brakes and disc brakes are the most common designs of brakes. Disk brakes offer more pros than cons but they are known for making more noise. What your brake repair or new brakes will cost you all depends on size, application, quality, and so on. Cost is everything. I will conclude with my best advice that finding a mechanic you trust will make any repair cost less. Whether it actually does or you are just comforted by knowing your mechanic knows you and your car, it will be a better experience.
For more information on brake noise or to schedule an appointment to service your brakes, contact me today!