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Squeaky Brakes

Omkar Phatak

If the irritating tunes of squeaking brakes have started to get on your nerves, it's time to do something about it. In this story, we analyze the causes of this anomaly.
Have you been subjected to the discordant chords of squeaky brakes lately, which have been affecting your peaceful penances at the driving wheel? Then, you need to do something about it soon. To go to the root of the matter, you need to understand what are the causes that lead to squeaking in brakes and what can be done to take care of this problem.
Squeaky brakes in cars are quite a common phenomenon. Noise of any kind, generated by a car, is mostly due to friction and vibration. A car being a complex machine and having a plethora of moving parts inside, is bound to cause noise of some or the other kind, due to friction and vibration at high speeds.


What leads to squeaking noise in brakes, while driving? Here are some of the basic causes.

Metal Resonant Frequency

The main culprit behind squealing is the resonant frequency of the whole braking system, that generates noise through vibration. Asbestos was the material used for making brake pad material earlier and it was considerably less noisy. However, it was found to be carcinogenic and was subsequently banned by the United States government.
Now, most materials used, are semi-metallic composites, which are bound to cause some noise due to their inherent resonant frequency of vibration, which falls in the audible range.

Distorted Brake Rotors

One of the main components of a braking system is the rotor. If it is bent or distorted in shape, it can cause a misalignment with the brake pads and lead to squeaky disc brakes.

Brake Pad Wear and Dust

The squeaking can be a plea to change the worn-out brake pads. They can expose the wear indicators, that are metal plates, inserted below the pad material, to make identification of wearing out easier. The contact of these metal plates, with the rotors, can lead to squeaking brakes. Also, the dust lodged between the pads and the rotors, along with excessive vibration, can lead to a squeaking noise.

How to Fix Them?

When you are faced with a problem, the solution is usually found when you attack the root cause. Here are some of the ways in which you can fix noisy brakes:

Spray Disc Brake Dressing

A disc brake dressing spray is available, which can reduce the squeaking noise, by covering up brake pads from behind. This ensures that the pads do not come in contact with the rotor, when they are not in use.
Spray the dressing onto the rear of the brake pads, by spraying it into the central part of brake calipers. Take care that you do not spray the material onto the brake pad sides or the rotor.

Drum Brake Shoe Replacement

Replacing the drum brake shoe can arrest the squeaking noise as worn out shoe material can accumulate and lead to squeaking. Make sure that all the fallen debris, due to worn out material, is cleared out after brake shoe replacement.

Brake Pads Replacement

If a worn brake pad is the culprit that is causing the brakes to squeak, then replacing the pads is the solution, to silence the brakes. This can effectively neutralize the squeaking sound in most cases.

Wash Brakes and Check Fluid

Wash the whole brake assembly with a water hose, at high pressures, to clear out all the particulate debris that might have accumulated. Check brake fluid level and go for a flush, in case you find it to be murky, instead of pure golden. The incomplete retraction of calipers, that causes squealing due to insufficient brake fluid levels and heat problems, can be arrested by fluid replacement.
A certain occasional amount of brake squealing will still remain due to the internal resonant frequency of the material, at high speeds.