Why do my brakes make noise?

Picture this…

You’ve just brought your car back from a road trip. You get up in the morning, start your car, and pull out. Unfortunately, at the first intersection you encounter, you hit your brakes and hear a big “squeak!” Uh oh… is it safe to drive? Do you need to go back to the shop? Is this going to be an expensive fix? Here are a couple reasons your brakes might make noise, what it means for your car, and what you should do about it.

What are brakes

Brakes are the most important safety feature on your car, so much so that there are even backup brakes for brakes! All brakes work to slow your car through friction. The two most common types of brakes are drum brakes and disc brakes. Whichever type you have in your car is likely backed up by an emergency brake and an Anti-lock-brake-system. Drum brakes are circular, and apply pressure outward from the center, causing friction between the brake shoe onto the brake lining. Disc brakes work by applying pressure onto either side of the rotor from a pair of brake pads to create friction. Emergency brakes, as you are probably familiar, keep the car perfectly still and apply pressure mechanically onto all wheels. The anti-lock-brake-system works through sensors to determine if wheels are decelerating too quickly and kicks in to prevent skid. This prevents the driver losing control of the vehicle. If your ABS kicks in, it will feel very bumpy.

Common noises

Squeaks are common in brakes. The squeaking sound is vibrations from somewhere on the brake system and reverberating off of metal, which amplifies the sound. Squeaking can be a result of dust settling onto the braking system overnight, or rust. Because of the nature of friction creating heat, brake lining will eventually be worn away and need replacing. Squeaking can be a result of the brakes wearing down to the wear indicators. As the name suggests, this is part of the brake lining on the pad that is meant to make noise to indicate that the pads are almost worn through. If you are hearing squeaking and it is the wear indicators, it’s time to get your brake pads changed and your rotors serviced. This should be a relatively inexpensive fix. What could be expensive is if you hear grinding. Grinding is a serious sound that you should absolutely get checked out. Grinding could indicate that the brake pads are worn through to the metal backing plate, and the sound is metal-on-metal. If this is the case, you may need new rotors as well as new brake pads.

What to do

If you hear any kind of noise coming from your brakes, it is always best to take your car to a trusted mechanic. First and foremost, for safety’s sake! As mentioned above, brakes are the most important safety feature on your car, and it doesn’t help you or drivers near you if you have problems with your braking system. Secondly, the sooner your mechanic catches issues, the more money you will likely save. The longer you let problems potentially go on, the more of your car might be affected by the initial issue. If you ever have any kinds of questions about noises you hear your brakes making, you can always call Ben Nielsen’s Skyline Automotive and ask one of our technicians! You can also go to https://www.skylineautomotive.net/appointments/ to schedule an appointment! Not only will we check the issue you are noticing, but we perform a digital inspection on your vehicle so you see exactly what we see.