Your car’s brake system is one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It plays a significant role in ensuring your safety while driving. However, one common problem that you may encounter with your car brakes is the squeaking sound. It can be quite alarming and may indicate potential issues with your brake pads, rotor, or other components. In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if your car brakes squeak and how to address this issue.
Why do Car Brakes Squeak?
Before we dive into what you should do if your car brakes squeak, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind the squeaking sound. There are many potential causes of brake squeak, including:
Worn brake pads
Worn brake pads are one of the most common causes of brake squeak. Brake pads are designed to provide friction to stop the car’s wheels from moving. Over time, they wear down, and the metal backing plate rubs against the rotor, causing the squeaking sound.
Dirty brake pads
Another cause of brake squeak is dirty brake pads. When brake pads accumulate dirt, dust, and other debris, it can cause them to produce a squeaking sound. Regular cleaning can help prevent this issue.
Glazed brake pads
Glazed brake pads occur when the brake pads and rotors get too hot, causing the brake pad material to harden and crystallize. This can lead to a glazed surface that may produce a squeaking sound.
Worn brake rotors
Worn brake rotors may also cause brake squeak. Over time, the rotors can become worn down, causing uneven wear and tear that may result in the squeaking sound.
Rusty brake rotors
Rusty brake rotors can also cause brake squeak. When the rotors accumulate rust, it can cause a rough surface that may produce the squeaking sound.
What To Do If Your Car Brakes Squeak?
If your car brakes produce a squeaking sound, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Here’s what you should do:
Inspect the brake pads
The first thing you should do is inspect the brake pads. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as thinning or uneven wear. If the brake pads are worn, it’s time to replace them.
Clean the brake pads
If the brake pads are dirty, you can clean them using a brake cleaner or warm soapy water. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a brake cleaner.
Replace the brake pads
If the brake pads are worn down, it’s time to replace them. You can either replace them yourself or take your car to a professional mechanic.
Resurface or replace the rotors
If the brake pads are not the issue, you may need to resurface or replace the rotors. This will require the help of a professional mechanic.
Lubricate the brake pads
Another potential solution is to lubricate the brake pads. This can help reduce friction, which may eliminate the squeaking sound. However, it’s important to note that not all brake pads require lubrication.
If your car brakes produce a squeaking sound, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem can lead to more significant issues and compromise your safety while driving. By inspecting the brake pads, cleaning them, replacing them if necessary, resurfacing or replacing the rotors, or lubricating the brake pads, you can eliminate the squeaking sound and ensure your car brakes are functioning correctly.
Can I still drive my car if the brakes are squeaking?
While it’s possible to drive your car with squeaking brakes, it’s not recommended. Squeaking brakes may indicate potential issues with the brake system, which may compromise your safety while driving.
How long do brake pads last?
The lifespan of brake pads varies depending on several factors, including driving conditions, car model, and driving style. On average, brake pads can last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
How often should I replace my brake pads?
It’s recommended to replace brake pads every 30,000 to 70,000 miles. However, it’s important to inspect them regularly and replace them if they show signs of wear and tear.
Can I replace the brake pads myself?
While it’s possible to replace the brake pads yourself, it’s recommended to have a professional mechanic do it. This will ensure that the brake system is properly installed and functioning correctly.
How much does it cost to replace brake pads?
The cost of replacing brake pads can vary depending on several factors, including the car model and the mechanic’s rates. On average, it can cost between $100 and $300 per axle.