Unlike your check engine or gas light, it can be difficult to determine when your brake pads need to be replaced. A frequent indicator that you should go to your nearest brake inspector is that annoying screeching that your car makes when you go to brake. Though there are many common reasons why your brakes may be making noise, it’s best to err on the side of caution and take your car to get looked at as soon as possible.
An Inspection Will Do You Good
If you’re already stressed talking about car parts, know that the brake inspection itself is a free service. Whoever takes a look at your car will be happy to provide answers to any questions you might have, as well as let you know the current quality of your brake pads. Below are five typical instances why your brakes might be making unpleasant noise.
1. Anti-Rattle Clips May Be Overused
A lot is going on under the surface of your car, which is why anti-rattle clips may not sound familiar. However, this clip has the very important job of preventing your brakes from banging around or throbbing when you hit the brakes. If the clips are worn, the brake pads will squeal incessantly. If this happens to be the case, the solution is as simple as replacing the clips.
2. Wear Indicators Doing Their Job
The closest thing your brakes have to warning you that something needs to be looked at is the wear indicators. These are small steel tabs that are specifically made to contact the rotors if the pads are worn to the point of no return. When the tabs hit the rotors, it’s not uncommon for a screeching sound to occur. Your best bet is to replace your brake pads so that you can brake effectively, and the rotor remains unscathed.
3. Hardened Pads and Rotors
If the calipers located in your disc brake system become stuck, your brake will stay partly activated. This will then cause the pads and rotors to maintain ongoing contact, resulting in an unwanted amount of heat and friction. These elements ultimately result in crystallization of the pads, also known as glazing. This situation turns into squeaking when the glazed parts work together. The best option is to replace the brake pads and repair the rotor’s surface.
4. Unintentional Rusting of Rotors
No matter how hard you try to protect your car, there are some things that you might have little control over. If your car isn’t in a garage or other climate-controlled area, it’s likely that moisture from dew, rain, or condensation will inadvertently affect the quality of your rotor. When harmless moisture turns to a top layer of rust on your rotor, that rust can transfer in the leading edge of your brake pads when the rotor turns, causing an undesired squeaking sound. This instance is the least preventable and is only avoided if you have a climate-controlled environment for your vehicle.
5. Drum Brakes Need To Be Greased
Not all models of cars have this issue since most cars have disc brakes on all four wheels. If your car does have drum brakes on the rear wheels, though, it’s possible that the points of contact on your drum brakes are lacking their original lubrication. This can result in the rusting of metal car parts, and the brake shoes scratching across the backing plate, which is why you might hear squeaking. The easiest way to avoid this is to ensure you’ve kept good lubrication on your brake pads and shoe contact points.
Visit a Brake Inspector Near You
Although you may now have a better idea of why your brakes might be squeaking, it’s recommended that you take your car to a professional to accurately diagnose the problem. Who knows? You might just impress your servicer with some new knowledge.