So you’ve just got some new brakes installed in your car only to find that they are squealing when you press down on them. You’re probably wondering why this is happening and if it’s an indicator that there is something wrong the brakes. Plus, that squealing sound can become pretty irritating after a while.
Does this sound actually mean that there is something wrong with your brakes though? Will it go away on its own or are there measures you can take to make it go away? In this article, we’ll go over what causes new brakes to squeal and how you can get them to stop squealing.
When your brakes make a squealing noise, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with them, and in some cases, you’d be right. However, in many other cases, when new brakes begin to squeal, it is nothing to be alarmed by and your brakes will still function properly despite the noise that they’re making. In these cases, it’s really more annoying than anything else.
There are several reasons why your new brakes may be squealing, some of which may require you to take action to stop the squealing and some of which may not. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons that cause new brakes to squeal.
Many brake pads are constructed with metal fibers in them. When these metal fibers rub together, it can cause that annoying squealing noise that’s been getting on your nerves all week. Luckily, if this is the cause of your squealing brakes, it will go away on it’s own, at least in most cases. The pad will wear the fibers down until they no longer squeal and then your brakes will be perfectly fine and noiseless.
Metal fibers aren’t the only noisy components of brake pads though. Most newer brakes have a cast iron disc piece that sits between the two pads which can begin to vibrate in certain conditions like if you are driving really fast or pressing on the brakes really hard. This vibration can cause a squealing noise, similar to how a string instrument’s strings vibrating cause a noise. Similar to the metal fibers, this is not an issue that you should be alarmed by.
If you make a lot of hard stops, it can heat your brakes up and the heat can lead to a glossy finish developing on the brake pad. This glossy finish can cause your brakes to start making a squealing sound. To prevent this from happening, try not to slam on your brakes at all (unless you have to in order to avoid a collision) and try to always keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you so that you’ll have more time to brake and won’t need to make a panicked brake slam to stop.
When brakes are not properly lubricated, it can sometimes cause their caliper pins to get stuck in the “apply” position. This can cause the brakes to develop a glossy finish, begin making a squealing sound, and in some cases, give off a burning smell. If you catch this early, you can lubricate the caliper pins and get them working fine again, also eliminating that squealing sound.
Now that we know about the most common reasons that cause new brake pads to squeal, we can take a look at some of the ways you can get that squealing to stop.
One solution that can get the squealing to stop is to change out the pads to ones of a different friction material. This solution is helpful if the squealing is being caused by the cast iron disc in your brake pads. Your cast iron disc sits between the brake pads, so changing out the material can cause the pads to interact differently with that disc which can in turn, stop the squealing noise that it was making before.
If the squealing sound your brakes are making is due to you pressing the brakes too hard and causing that glossy finish to develop, you can bring your car into your mechanic to have the pads sanded down. This will get rid of that glossy finish that developed along with the squealing noise that developed with it. However, there are some cases in which your mechanic may not be able to save the pads by sanding them down, in which case they will need to be replaced altogether.
If the cause of the squealing sound is that the caliper pins of your brakes were not properly lubricated when they were installed, then you can lubricate those pins properly. With proper lubrication, the brakes can be released from that “apply” position that they were stuck in and go back normal. However, like the sanding method, there are some cases in which there will already be too much damage done to repair and you will have to just replace the caliper pins.
One final way to get your brakes to stop squealing is to purchase Teflon shims that you can install between the brake pad and the caliper's hydraulic piston. These shims will change the way that the pads rub against the piston which can eliminate that squealing sound.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons that could be causing your new brakes to squeal, as well as a variety of solutions that you can take to make your brakes stop squealing. Not all of the things that cause new brakes to squeal are dangerous, but if you can’t figure out what’s causing them to squeal and the squealing doesn’t seem to be going away on its own, it never hurts to take your car into a mechanic so that he can look at your brakes and figure out what the issue is for you.