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Why Do Car Brakes Squeak?

Your local car servicing garage offers MOT tests for a reason. Car components fail and vehicles need to be inspected to maintain road safety. Now, 21st Century roads are busy but fortunately modern cars have great brakes that slow a vehicle quickly. A car should come to a halt in a straight line without any drama but it is easy to become complacent when that doesn’t hold true. Brakes that are worn or not properly serviced can develop problems. A car may pull to one side under braking, for example, or have brakes that seem to snatch. The pedal may feel soft and spongy and offer little resistance. That’s the time to get brakes serviced at your local car servicing garage.


The Clues Are There

Unusual noises when driving tell a tale but don’t necessarily indicate an issue. All brakes make some noise sometimes. From startup, especially in cold or wet weather, there may be some minor noise from the brakes as the pads and discs heat up and dispose of any accumulated moisture. A vehicle that has been standing for a period might have rust on the discs. This is usual and is quickly cleared when the brakes get going.


What About Squeaking?

A squeaky brake can stop a car just like a perfectly functioning assembly can. That doesn’t mean though that it should be ignored. Most modern mainstream motors have brakes that use a cast-iron disc squeezed between two brake pads lined with friction material. These grip when the brakes are applied, just like the calliper brakes on a bike. Prestige vehicles or luxury sports models may feature ceramic discs but in the main all cars have discs of steel. So what are the causes of squeaking noises?


  • Worn Brake Pads

Rather obviously, when brake pads become worn then it’s time to replace them; a relative straightforward operation. It’s hard to know just from looking if they are on their last legs which is why brakes have wear indicators that will start to squeal as a way of warning the driver that time’s up and replacement is immediately needed.


  • Glazing Over

This phenomenon is another issue that needs to be resolved at once. Glazing happens when the brake callipers get stuck and cause the brakes to bind and remain slightly applied all the time. Not only does this affect performance, it also reduces fuel consumption, although it might not be immediately noticed. Meanwhile the brake components wear more quickly. The friction from this fault can generate heat that causes the brake pads to harden, which is when squeaking can occur.


  • Buy Cheap, Get Cheap

What price road safety? DIY motorists who can service their own brakes may be tempted by cheap imported parts: Don’t be. Similarly when asking your car local servicing and MOT centre to attend to the brakes, ask them to ensure quality components are used, even if it costs a little more.


There’s a reason for this. Cheap brake pads have a higher metal content. This means the pads may have a surface that drags on the disc. Another cause of squeaking noises.


  • Do It Now

Squeaking brakes do not necessarily mean that components have to be replaced. There may be an identifiable reason that may only need an adjustment or some lubrication. The likelihood is though that the pads are getting too worn or the disc surface is scored by faulty pads or callipers. Either way, it’s a job that needs attending to straight away.


So don’t leave brakes problems until later. Faults with vehicles generally occur when they are least expected or at a financially difficult moment. That’s just how it goes; but there can be no shortcuts. Brakes that squeal or are not functioning as they should must get immediate attention. To leave it until later could mean it will be too late.




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