“Braking” Down Brake Noises
Squeaking, squealing, grinding—brakes can make all sorts of noises, which usually means it’s time for brake work. We’ll give you a breakdown on some of the most common brake noises and what to do about them if the issue arises.
High-pitched squealing. If you hear a high-pitched squealing sound coming from your tires as you drive when you are not pressing the brake pedal, it might be time to change out your brake pads. As your brake pads wear down, a metal wear indicator on the brake pad becomes exposed. The squealing comes from the wear indicator rubbing against the rotor, which is the brake pad’s way of letting you know it’s time to replace your brake friction material.
Grinding. If you wait too long to change your brake pads, you may begin to hear a grinding sound, which means that metal rivets or even the backing plate of your brake pads are damaging the rotors. In other cases, grinding happens when a stone or other foreign object becomes stuck in the brake caliper. If left unaddressed, the object can cause serious damage to the brake system and possibly require new parts and extra service. Remember this: grinding is BAD!
Squeaking is usually caused by condensation that collects on the brake rotors overnight. Minor squeaking is fairly unavoidable, especially for those of us in the humid climate of the Carolinas. Squeaking typically goes away after you brake lightly a couple of times or just drive your car for a few minutes, but if you continue to hear squeaking it could be a sign of something more serious.
When it comes to brakes, preventing problems in the first place is one of the keys to keeping brake repair costs to a minimum. Be sure to address any brake noises as soon as possible, and have your brakes inspected regularly.
If you’re a AAA member, you can have your brakes inspected for free any time you bring your car to one of our AAA Car Care facilities. AAA Car Care offers a full range of brake services, and we offer an industry-leading two year/24,000 mile warranty on all our repairs.