Even if it hasn’t happened to your own vehicle, you’ve undoubtedly heard high-pitched screeching noises coming from cars slowing down at a stoplight. These sounds aren’t normal—they indicate that something’s wrong with the vehicle’s braking system. This post will cover a few of the reasons for brakes squeaking:
- Worn brake pads: Your car’s brake pads wear down over time, and as they wear down, they begin to squeak due to metal-on-metal contact. Be sure to get those pads replaced sooner rather than later. Waiting too long can result in rotor damage.
- Rusted brake rotor: Rust buildup is common on brake rotors. Thankfully, this debris doesn’t necessitate brake replacement or expensive repairs. Your mechanic can scrape it off and have your brakes looking (and sounding) as good as new.
- Braking too hard: You may need to slam on your brakes if a car pulls out in front of you or if wildlife walks out onto the road. Occasionally braking hard doesn’t cause problems. However, doing so frequently can wear down the pads or warp the rotors, leading to high-pitched squealing sounds.
- Weather conditions: One of the less serious reasons for brakes squeaking has to do with the weather outside. When your brakes get wet from morning dew or a rainstorm, they can squeak a bit when you press the brake pedal. This sound should go away once the moisture gets off your brakes.
- Road contaminants: Just like rust can cause a squealing noise, so can road contaminants that cling to your brakes. Sand and dust are known to cause slight screeching noises. You don’t need to worry about repairs unless the noise doesn’t go away after a while.
Other signs it’s time for brake service
Now you know why your car brakes are squeaking, but strange noises aren’t the only sign that something’s wrong. These are a few other indicators that your brakes are bad:
- Softness: You’ll want to take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible if your pedal feels soft or squishy when applying the brakes. There could be air or moisture in your brake line, or you may have an issue with the master cylinder.
- Dashboard light: You might just need to look at your dashboard to know that something’s amiss with your braking system. A red or yellow exclamation point inside parentheses may indicate that your brakes are failing. That said, it could be an entirely separate issue. Bring your car to an auto repair shop either way.
- Burning smells: Overheated brakes emit an awful burning smell. This smell doesn’t necessarily necessitate an emergency trip to the mechanic, but you should pull over and let your brakes cool down for a few minutes. If the smell persists, take your car in to see what’s wrong.
See our team right away
If you’ve smelled or noticed any of the signs above, bring your car to Madison Muffler & Auto Repair for a checkup. Our professionals will perform a full diagnostic test to see why your car brakes are squeaking and perform any necessary auto repairs to ensure they’re working as they should.