Why Are My Brakes Squeaking

You’re driving down the streets of Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Carlisle, and everything is going great—until you come to a red light, and screeeeeech! Your brakes let out a long squeak as you slowly roll to a stop.

Why are your brakes squeaking? Brake noise isn’t always caused by something that will affect your stopping power, but sometimes it’s a sign that you need new brakes. Read on as our team at Faulkner Toyota Harrisburg breaks down three common causes of squeaky brakes—and what you can do about them.

Worn Brake Pads

Brake pads are engineered with a built-in warning system to let you know when it’s time to replace them. Basically, there’s a little metal tab or spring that becomes exposed when the brake pads wear down to a certain point. The sound you hear results from that piece of metal vibrating against the rotor.

If your brakes have been faithfully bringing you to a stop for a while and are now letting out a persistent squeal every time you hit the brake pedal, it’s probably a sign that you should schedule an appointment for new brakes.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

There are three basic types of brake pads: semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic, and ceramic. Semi-metallic brake pads can be made of anywhere from 30-65% metal, making them both durable and effective across a wide range of temperatures. However, as we learned above, when metal scrapes against your rotors, it can cause your brakes to squeak.

If there’s nothing wrong with your brakes and they continue to be noisy, you can either deal with the noise until it’s time to get new brakes or you could switch them out for a different kind. Ceramic brakes are both cleaner and quieter, so if you’re experiencing a persistent squeal coming from semi-metallic brakes, talk to your car doctor about whether ceramic brakes are right for you.

Dirty or Rusted Rotors

If you notice your brakes are squeaking when you start driving in the morning, keep listening. Does the sound go away after you’ve stopped a couple times? Often, moisture from condensation or rain can get trapped between your brakes overnight and cause a thin layer of rust on your rotors. Even though this sounds scary, it’s not—that thin layer of rust gets removed after you’ve used your brakes a few times.

Road dust can also find its way into your brakes, and the vibrations from these additional particles can emit a squeaking sound. This should also work its way out after you’ve driven around for a bit and your brakes start to warm up.

How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

If your brakes are continuing to make noise long after they’ve warmed up, you should get them checked out by a qualified service technician to make sure everything’s in good working order. Our state-of-the-art service department at Faulkner Toyota Harrisburg is proud to serve drivers in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Carlisle, so schedule an appointment today and our technicians will help solve your squeaky brake problem.