Squeaky brakes: What causes them?

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Have you just recently driven your car backed out of the driveway and noticed your brakes were making a squealing or squeaking noise?

With the cold and damp weather, your brakes might make these sounds when you’re first hitting the brakes in the morning. 

In this case, squeaky brakes are nothing to be concerned about. A lot of cars have been sitting for awhile.

If you’ve been at home for a while or your kids are getting ready to start driving back and forth to high school or college, a squeaking and grinding noise may be heard. That grinding can be rust buildup on the brake rotors, which is caused by moisture and the vehicle sitting there.

Try going for a 20 or 30 minute drive and do some normal braking to see if it goes away. If it does, your brakes are probably OK. 

However, it’s probably not a bad idea to go ahead and get them checked at your automotive repair shop. You might also want to have a quick safety check done.

A service advisor at your local auto repair shop would be more than happy to get you in and take a look at your vehicle, just to make sure everything’s up to snuff before your kids get back on the road.

Other causes of squeaky brakes

In addition to weather conditions and rust buildup, squeaky brakes can be caused by the brake pads some vehicles have.

For example, performance brake pads may make a squealing sound when they are cold, even during warm, dry weather. This is because they need a little heat to grab and perform really well. After two or three brake stops, these brakes can be easily up to 200 or 300 degrees, which is when they work better.

If you do need new brakes, you should have the brake pads and rotors replaced at the same time. 

You’ll also want to have someone to look it over too, so they can make sure the brake calipers, the brake hoses and the brake fluids are good, and they can ensure that the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is working correctly. A lot of these vehicles require special brake bleeding procedures due to ABS.

And another thing to look into getting – whether it’s due to time or there’s contamination in the brake fluid – is a brake fluid exchange. During a brake fluid exchange, we hook up a BG machine to actually push the fluid through the master cylinder, ABS system, the brake hoses, and the calipers to make sure that all the old brake fluid is out. Therefore, the pedal will always feel good and the brakes will be able to form correctly.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.