Why Are My Brakes Making Squeaky or Grinding Noises?

January 17th, 2018 by

Do you cringe when you hear the noise of squeaky or grinding brakes? What causes brake noise? Does it mean my brakes need to be replaced? Can I easily fix the problem myself? There are many reasons squeaky brakes can occur. If you want to investigate brake noise on your own you should be familiar with the type of brakes your vehicle is using. Most vehicles use four-wheel disc brakes. Fewer vehicles use drum brakes in the rear. Ironically, squealing is not typically a characteristic of drum brakes. Although drum brakes are well established, disc brakes are usually preferred. Disc brakes can dissipate heat much better than drum brakes and are easy to maintain.

Some cons of using disc brakes can be…

  • Higher manufacturing costs
  • Require higher hydraulic pressure to operate
  • More frequent vibration problems
  • NOISE PROBLEMS (squeaky brake noises are practically inherent)

Why Are My Disk Brakes Squeaky? 

In many cases the ultra high vibration of pads in their holders or brackets causes brake noise such as squeals or squeaks. Manufacturers seem to acknowledge the common annoyance of squeaky disk brakes. Throughout my career as a car-repairing guru I have noticed many changes in attempt to control brake noise. Disk brakes typically use fitment hardware, anti squeal shims, springs, and other features to control pad movement and isolate direct contact with calipers and mounts. This is one approach to limit brake noise, squeals, or squeaks. Manufacturers have also adjusted pad friction, materials, shapes, sizes, and even metallurgy in rotors in effort to eliminate brake noise.

Why Are My Brakes Making Grinding Noises? 

Vehicles exposed to rainy or moist weather conditions may be at greater risk for experiencing grinding brake noise. Did you know brake rotors mainly consist of unfinished metal? Newsflash, this is true. If they are exposed to moisture they can rust as quickly as overnight. Rust is not unusual and therefore grinding noise can be normal. To remedy grinding brake noise you may need to remove surface rust.

Is Brake Noise An Indication That Brakes Need To Be Replaced? 

If you are using disk brakes it’s probably only a matter of time before you encounter brake noise or squeals. Despite the effort made by brake manufactures noisy brakes can be normal. There’s a good chance you will experience brake noise before it’s time to replace them.

In some cases brake noise may indicate it’s time to replace them. Any time you have a concern or notice something unusual with your vehicle you should have it inspected. Brake pads are commonly designed to make noise when they are worn down to the last 25% of their lifespan. Keeping service records on your vehicle and ensuring on-time services are completed is important.  It can help you determine whether brake noise is normal or if it means that your brakes may need to be replaced.

Using Correct Parts Helps Avoid Brake Noise 

Properly maintaining your vehicle can avoid many problems such as brake noise.

Using manufacturer recommended parts could help ensure safety and keep your brakes quiet. Completing a brake job the right way should include some key inspections and lubrication points:

  • Inspect shims and hardware, replace as necessary.
  • Lightly lubricate pad backing (not the friction material). It’s important to use quality lube such as Sta-Lube.
  • Ensure caliper sides, if equipped, are free, clean, and lubed.

Looking For DIY Remedies to Cure Brake Noise?

There are many aftermarket remedies available in the form of sprays, pastes, lubes to reduce brake noise. To avoid brake noise it’s best to have your vehicle serviced at the dealership to ensure proper maintenance. If you are experiencing brake noise there’s a good chance it may be completely normal. It can be hard to contain something that’s pretty much normal. You can try aftermarket remedies but they will most likely not be a lasting solution.

Kendall Toyota’s Maintenance Department is committed to providing the highest level of service for you and your vehicle. When you bring us your Toyota you can be confident we will use Toyota parts equipped with a one-year guarantee.

Save time and schedule your next service appointment online! 

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