Why Does My Car Squeak When I Brake?

The importance of the brakes in a vehicle cannot be overemphasized. That’s why most drivers get worried and annoyed when they notice squeaky sounds in their vehicles as they apply brakes. Even after trying to stop their brakes from squeaking, some might notice the noise is still persistent. So I have got a lot of emails on kinds of stuff like; why does my car squeak when I brake, how should I stop it, and all that.

Well, no need to worry just yet. Your brake squeaking does not necessarily mean that your brake system is damaged or malfunctioning. There are several factors to consider that can be responsible for this. We are going to dive into that later on in this article,

Brakes are simply mechanical devices that hinder motion. Common types of car brakes include; disc brakes, drum brakes, emergency brakes, and anti-lock brakes. A lot of modern cars use the disc brake system, which is a lot more efficient, the brakes are installed on all four of your wheels, and it is held by the caliper. They function by squeezing against a disc, and the pressure from this action slows down your vehicle. This is part of the reason why your car slows down when you step on the pedal.

why does my car squeak when I brake

What causes the squeaky sound in my car when I press the brake?

To stop the brakes squeaking when driving, you need to first understand the various causes of this. Below is an outline of the common factors that can cause your car to squeak when you apply the brakes. This will help you in streamlining the actual cause of this effect before you take your vehicle to the mechanic’s shop if need be:

When you brake hard

Sometimes is unavoidable to slam your brakes, like when someone suddenly runs in front of your vehicle while driving or when you didn’t see the red light on time, all these will cause you to apply pressure to your brake pads quickly, and this can cause your car to make a squeaking noise. Barking hard can affect the brake discs and rotor of your vehicle and wear out your brake pads. You have to be vigilant while driving so you can eliminate the chances of braking hard.

Wrong/poor installation

If brakes shoes or pads are not installed properly, it may cause the pads or shoes to wear from one side or cause a squeaky sound when you depress the brakes. For instance, if the mechanic did not fix all the springs in the wheel drum properly, one of the springs may become loose and squeal or rattle in the drum.

Also, if the mechanic did not fix the brake shims properly, they may become loose and cause vibration. Of course, vibration on the brakes is one of the common causes of squeaky brakes.

Rust Brake Rotor

When your vehicle’s brake rotor loses its luster properties, it increases the friction between the brakes and the rotor, and this can lead to your brakes squeaking. Rust and accumulation of debris on your vehicle debris can cause your vehicle to squeak when you hit the brake pedals. The rust or debris needs to be filed off.

New brake pads

Three major types of brake pads are semi-metallic, organic, and ceramic. Metallic brake pads are mostly used for a lot of modern vehicles due to their effectiveness, but they are highly prone to making noises. So if you notice squeaky noises from your vehicle, it can be due to the composition of your vehicle’s brake pads. Another cause is the improper placement of new brake pads, which might come up if you fail to tighten your brake mechanism after replacing the old brake pads.

This can cause your brakes to make noises due to excessive vibration. Therefore, necessary adjustments to your brake system components are needed to kill the noise.

No lubrication on the backing plate

When you fail to lubricate your vehicle’s backing plate and brake caliper, it can cause your brakes to make squeaky noises, irritating the ears.

Accumulation of moisture on the brake rotor

After using your vehicle for a while, you might start noticing some squeaking noises when you apply brakes. Accumulation of moisture can cause your brake to squeal when wet and also cause your vehicle’s brake rotor to rust over time. However, it can take some stops for your brake pads to remove this from your rotor. All you need is to regularly maintain your brake system as moisture cannot be prevented from touching the surface of your brake rotor except if you stay in a desert.

Worn out brakes pads

A worn-out brake pad is common for vehicles that have been used for a long period. This can cause a squeaky noise which is created by your metallic brake pads. So, if you are using an old vehicle and you notice squeaking noises, there is a high chance that it is caused by a worn-out brake pad, and this can damage the rotor of your vehicle.

Read Also: Best Brake Line Flaring Tools Reviews

How to fix squeaky brakes?

Now you know what could have caused your vehicle to make that squeaky sound, and you just need to stop that noise from coming out because nobody wants to hear a squeaking noise every time the vehicle comes to a stop; it can be very annoying at times. But you need to be very sure of the cause before going ahead to fix anything, as you already know that hearing a squeaking noise from your vehicle does not mean that you have a failed brake mechanism.
Here are some great tips to help you resolve this issue:

Apply lubricants to your brake pads

One of the solutions to eliminate that squeaky sound is to apply lubricants to your brake pads. To do this, you will need to remove the brake pads from your brake caliper. You can then apply the CRC 05016 Disc Brake Quiet on all the contact points to effectively reduce the friction. These points include the areas of the caliper carrier and the backing plate of your brake pads.

Applying this lubricant can prevent car brake squeaking noise, but while you do this, make sure that the brake pad and rotor’s surface should remain grease-free.

Fix brake pad shims.

Shims function by eliminating anything that can cause your brake pads not to move around smoothly; they are coated with rubber to prevent vibrations that can cause squeaking noise from your brake system. Consider using brake pad shims for resistance against squeaking noises. Some vehicles already have brake pad shims installed out of the box, but you can also install these shims on the reverse side of your brake pads, which can help prevent the squeaking noise made by your brake system every time you step on the brakes.

Replace your brake pads and rotor.

After trying all the possible methods to stop that squeaking sound from your vehicle’s brakes, I guess it is time to replace your brake pads and rotor of yours. If your brake pads are completely worn out, you will notice a squealing noise because of the high friction between your brake pads and rotor. When your pads cannot make contact with your rotor, the best fix is to replace both components.

Read Also: The Best Brake Line Material Reviews

Luckily, replacing damaged brake pads or rotors in your vehicles is quite easy. Here is an outline of a step-by-step procedure that can make the replacement even easier:

Step 1: The first step is to equip yourself with personal protective equipment like putting on a safety google and a coverall. Then make sure your car is parked on a dry and level surface. Then mark out the points for your jack.

Step 2: Raise the bonnet and check the level of the brake fluid in your reservoir. Remove some fluid if the reservoir is full so that there will be no spillage when you push the brake piston.

Step 3: Unscrew your vehicle’s lug nuts but not completely and gently jack up your vehicle just enough to make you comfortably work under your car. Then you can completely unscrew the lug nuts and remove your wheels. Make sure the jack is well placed to avoid any unfortunate event.

Step 4: The caliper bolts of your vehicle can be easily located. You can turn your wheel to the left or right position to aid you in accessing the caliper bolts. Use a wrench to help take off the caliper bolts. It would be best if you were careful with this process as the brake line is also connected to your brake caliper.

Step 5: Now inspect the old brakes. You might notice uneven wear, which happened as a result of lack of lubrication, worn-out caliper hardware, or brake pad. Then remove the old brake pads. You might need to unscrew the caliper mounting for some vehicles before you can remove the rotor, so check the design of your vehicle. To take off the rotor, you will have to remove the brake caliper and the brake caliper bracket.

Step 6: Thoroughly clean the brake dust or rust from the hub surface. You can use a wire brush to do this. This will make sure that the new rotor rests perfectly on the hub, and it will also prevent any pedal pulsation from occurring.

Step 7: Get the new rotor cleaned and then install. You might need to also replace the brake hardware with a new one because rusty old brake hardware can cause vibrations that can produce squeaking noises. Ensure you apply lubricants on the various contact points before you fix the new brake hardware.

Step 8: Now, get ready to install the brake pads. Pay attention to the wear sensors in the inner pads of your new brake pads. There are different wear sensor placements for various pads.

Step 9: Take a look at your brake caliper and piston. If they are clean, you can seat the caliper piston properly. After that, you can now install the brake caliper, but please ensure that the caliper bolts are not overly tightened. You can start using a socket to tighten the bolts and then finish it off with a wrench. Then check the level of the brake fluid in your reservoir; you can top it if needed.

Step 10: Now pump the brake and ensure that the brake fluid is flowing properly but do not apply pressure to a point where the brake pedal goes to the floor, as this can damage the assembly of your brake master cylinder. You can now place back the wheels and lower your vehicle till the wheels touch the ground. Make you tighten the lug nuts properly.

Step 11: Take your vehicle on a jolly ride but take it easy on the brakes.

Read Also: Best Brake Caliper Tool Reviews

Can you fix squeaky brakes by yourself?

As a DIYer, you can fix squeaky brakes yourself. As explained earlier, squeaky brakes are caused by cheap replacement brake parts, vibrations, wrong/poor installation, or worn parts that need replacement. Therefore, fixing squeaky brakes can be quite simple as it requires greasing some contact points like slide pins, installing brake shims, or getting quality parts and installing them properly.

However, if you are not a DIYer, have a mechanic inspect and fix the leading cause of the squeaky brake noise.


How do I get my brakes to stop squeaking?

Various factors can cause squeaky noises from your brake system. The factor responsible for your brake squeaking will determine the method used to fix this issue. Some might not need fixing at all. However, you can try using the Gunk M725/6 Squeal Medic Brake Squeal Treatment on your vehicle’s brake system to stop the squeaking noise, or you can also install a set of shims to help absorb any vibrations in your brake system and also allow free movement of your brake pads. Another option is to replace the brake hardware.

After trying all these and still hearing those squeaky noises, you will need to carry out a complete brake job.

Are squeaky brakes dangerous?

Well, a squeaky brake might not be too much of a concern compared to a squealing brake. Squeaky sounds from your brakes can go away after a few stops or after applying some lubrication to various contact points in your brake system. It might not necessarily mean that there is a problem with your brake system. On the other hand, if your brakes produce a squealing sound, this is very dangerous. If you notice this, you will need to get your vehicle checked out immediately.

However, it is safe to find out the actual cause if your vehicle makes any form of noise each time you apply your brakes.

What is the cost of fixing squeaky brakes?

It won’t cost much to fix a squeaky brake, although this depends on the cause of the squeaky sounds. Sometimes it can be due to the composition of the brake pad material or the rotor surface, which can be solved by applying lubricants. But in a case where the brake pads have to be replaced, it might cost about $100 per axle.

How long should it take for new brakes to stop squeaking?

It supposes to take about two to three hours for your new brakes to stop squeaking. If you still notice this notice after the time range, then you need to check your brake system for any loose components or improper placement of the brake parts.

Why do my brakes squeal at low speeds?

The squealing noise your vehicle produces when driving at low speeds is caused as a result of high-frequency vibrations of your brake pads against the surface of the rotor. When there is high friction between the rotor and your brake pads, vibration cannot be avoided, and this makes your brakes squeal when braking lightly.

How long can you drive with squeaky brakes?

As long as it is just a squeaky sound, you are fine for some weeks, but you might have difficulty engaging in long trips. However, make sure you take out time to investigate the cause of the noise so it won’t degenerate into something worse.

Is it OK to drive with squeaky brakes?

The short answer is no. It is not okay to drive with a squeaky brake. If the squealing noise is coming due to worn-out brake pads or shoes, driving with it will cause damage to other brake components like the caliper, brake rotor, and wheel drum.

The squealing noise is a warning sign that tells the driver to inspect the brakes. If you fail to inspect and resolve the issues, it’ll not only cause damage to other parts but will put you at risk of brake failure.

Final Words

So, for those saying why does my car squeak when I brake, now you are aware of the various causes and how to tackle this situation. But I will advise that whenever you notice squeaky noises from your brake, know the time has come for an inspection or service. Bear in mind that your brakes are a very important part of your vehicle, and if they are not efficient, it puts you at very high risk. So please do not waste time attending to any brake issue that might spring up.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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