Nails on the chalkboard, a crying infant, snoring, and squeaky brakes — these are the noises that can drive anybody insane. Most of these dreadful sounds can be easily avoided, but you might imagine squeaking brakes are just something you have to live with. We’re here to tell you there’s a way to keep your sanity.

Put simply, brake squeak is vibration. Specifically, the noise comes from the interplay between a brake disc, calliper, and pad. Affected systems will emit a noise when pressure is applied from the calliper on the disc. You can slam on the brake pedal or carry more/less speed into each braking manoeuvre, but your brakes could still howl because of the contact between pad and disc. Here’s why:

Worn out brake pads and discs.

Usually the squeaking noise heard coming from the brakes can be worn down brakes. Brakes these days are designed in such a way that they squeak to let you know that you need to have them replaced. On your brakes pads are a “wear indicators” (little metal clips) which, at a certain point, rub against your brake disc to let you know that your pads need to be replaced.

Contaminated or dirty brake discs or pads and drums.

Some of the time your brakes can squeak because there is dirt between the brake disc and pad and similarly in your drums, there could be dirt between the brake linings (brake shoes) and the drum. This could be from driving on dirty or dusty roads where dirty is picked up and gets stuck and rubbed between the brake pads and disc and causes the squeaking noise, something as small as a pebble can cause a really bad and loud squeak.

Quality of brakes pads and linings

Most brake pads are made from asbestos with tiny metal filings embedded within the pads to help cause friction on your brake disc to slow your car down. In inferior or low quality brake pads most of the time these filings are too big and from normal wear of the pads these filings can get stuck between the pads and discs and cause the squeaking noise. These inferior pads can also cause irregular and uneven wearing down which can happen faster. Brake linings can also cause a squeak due to the same principle, they have these bigger than normal filings and are low quality so they can either get worn down really quick and cause a squeak or those filings can squeak in-between the linings and the drum.

Rusty brake discs.

Being a metal component in your vehicle, yours brake discs are subject to rust over time but the amount of rust depends on whether your car is running consistently and the climate you live in. Rusty brake discs can cause a squeaking noise and it can warp the brake disc which is a much more dangerous situation. In this case it does need to be replaced.

With our professional team of mechanics and service advisors we have experienced these problems first hand and have helped educate many of our clients on why this happens. If you do seem to be having any of these problems, drop us a message or a visit at our workshop at 3 Groom Street Verulam.