Whether you just got your brakes serviced or you can’t recall exactly how long it’s been, it can be unnerving to hear a squeaking sound coming from the part of your car that brings it to a stop.
That said, not all squeaking should be equally worrisome.
Rain, ice, and snow can build up on your brake pads and your rotors — those are the two parts that make contact when you press the brake pedal. Likewise, condensation in the air can build up on the metal rotors overnight and create surface rust that usually will get wiped away after you brake a few times on your morning commute. In both cases moisture will lead to squeaking that generally goes away as you drive and is not cause for alarm.
Ongoing constant pressure on your brake pedal and overly aggressive stopping can cause your brakes to get hot. This creates a squeak or chattering sound. To troubleshoot this, pull over to a safe place, turn your engine off, giving your brakes a much needed break. Overheating your brakes consistently may cause damage that requires the services of a professional.
When your Firestone Direct mobile mechanic installs new brakes on your car, they also make sure that your new pads come into contact with the rotors at the right angle and pressure to reduce the chance of glazing and squeaking.
Even with this precaution, the parts of your brakes might need a few miles to get into the proper groove, especially if you've gotten new rotors. Go easy on your new brake pads early on and aim for slow, gentle stops.
A grinding metal-on-metal sound usually means you've worn out your brake pads and that their wear indicators, or even worse, their metal backing plates, are exposed and grinding against the rotors. That said, some brake hardware and some brake pads make more noise than others. This is sometimes true of performance cars especially.
Squeaking by itself is not always an issue, but when combined with other warning signs they should have you calling for help sooner rather than later.
If this is the case for your car or truck, our mobile mechanics can perform a brake inspection to figure out the issue so you can drive confidently.
There are a few things you can do as a driver to help your brake pads last longer and perform better. Start by slowing down and keeping your eyes on the road. This can help you avoid aggressive braking which can create more friction and heat than is optimal for your brake system.
Avoid driving with one foot over each pedal. Keeping one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brake pedal can lead to frequent "tapping" of your brakes. This does little to slow down your car, but can prematurely wear out your brake pads.