Hearing your new brakes squeaking right when you put them on can feel disappointing. You might assume squeaking means something bad, but with your brakes, it may not.
If you’re curious about why your new brakes are squeaking, we’re here to help. Read on about why this could occur and how to remedy the problem.
Yes, squeaking is normal for new brakes.
When the manufacturers make the brakes, they’re generally given a layer on the outside of the brake pad. This layer helps to protect the brake pad as they’re being broken in.
For the few days of new rotors or brake pads, these parts will likely squeak while you break them in. However, it shouldn’t take more than a week’s worth of regular driving to stop this from happening.
If the squeaking continues past this point, you likely have a different issue. For example, your brakes may have some sort of malfunction, or they may have been worn down prematurely. Additionally, your driving could cause your brakes to squeak.
You immediately worry that something is wrong when you hear your brakes squeaking. Thankfully, the issues that can cause your brakes to squeak are generally not severe. Here are five of the most common reasons why your brakes may squeak when applying them.
1. Protective Coating
New brake pads are given a protective coating over them. This coating will help to stop your brake pads from wearing down prematurely. The coating is usually thin and made of a harmless material that mostly stops your brakes from being scratched, dinged, or damaged.
As you apply the brakes, this coating will quickly come off. It shouldn’t take much more than a few days of driving to get this coating off entirely. The squeaking is part of the “breaking in” process for new brakes.
2. Wet Rotors
Another common cause for squeaking brakes is wet rotors. When the rotor of your brake becomes wet, it may cause a squeaking as you brake.
This squeaking shouldn’t last long, as the issue should end once the rotors are dry. However, if you frequently park your car somewhere where it’s made wet from rain or a sprinkler system, this could happen often.
If your car hasn’t been wet for quite a while, this likely isn’t the cause. But if you’ve just gone through a car wash, don’t let the squeak of your brakes give you much anxiety.
3. Improper Lubrication
Like most moving parts of your vehicle, your brakes require lubrication. So if your brakes are squeaking, you should check and make sure they’re properly lubricated.
Improper lubrication can cause an increase in friction. Not only will this make your breaks squeak, but it’ll also wear them down much faster.
4. Worn-Down Brakes
Speaking of worn-down brakes, you may find that your new brakes aren’t as new as you thought. If you’re using used or discount brakes, they could already have enough wear and tear to squeak.
If you are certain that the brakes you’re using are fresh, this shouldn’t be the issue. However, if you put your brakes on within the last few months and they weren’t the highest quality, this isn’t impossible. It’s especially common if you drive frequently or long distances.
5. Constant Pressure
Another factor causing your brakes to squeak is constant pressure. Namely, braking too hard and too often can cause them to squeak and wear down quickly.
If you’re a new driver, you might slam on the brakes too often and too hard. Doing so is heavily straining your brake pads, rotors, and tires.
Consider working on how hard you’re braking and altering your driving habits. Whether this is the cause of your brake’s squeaking or not, you should work on it regardless.
Ultimately, this depends on the cause of the squeak. More often than not, squeaky brakes aren’t a problem. However, you should still treat every squeak as if the symptom of a serious issue.
If your brakes are squeaking because you are still breaking them in, they shouldn’t have a problem. The same goes for if the rotors are wet.
But if your brakes are squeaking because they’re faulty or improperly lubed, you could have a more serious issue on your hand. Diagnose the problem before deciding if the symptom is “bad.”
New brakes shouldn’t take long to stop squeaking if you’re breaking them in. It should only take a week or two of frequent driving.
If you don’t drive often, this could take longer. But if you’re driving your commute daily, it shouldn’t even take a full week. Every driver (and every set of brake pads) is different.
If the issue is breaking them in, you stop them from squeaking by using them. But if there are other reasons, you’ll need to take action beyond such a passive fix.
Here are three of the quickest and most common fixes to stop your brakes from squeaking.
One of the fastest and easiest fixes is to replace your squeaky brakes. If you’ve just gotten new brakes, this isn’t an appealing option, but it could be your only choice.
If your brakes are faulty, you’ll need new brake pads to stop the squeaking. You should also check the rotors to ensure there isn’t an issue with them.
One of the issues with brakes is improper lubrication, so you can sometimes fix the problem by lubing them properly.
If you aren’t sure how to lube brake pads, bring your vehicle into a shop. They can see if this is the issue and perform all the necessary maintenance to fix up the brake pads.
If the reason for your brakes squeaking is your driving, the best fix is to improve your driving habits. Braking too hard and too often will wear your brakes down quicker. As a result, you’ll spend more money, need more maintenance, and deal with the squeaking until you’ve fixed this habit.
As a whole, it’s usually fine to drive with squeaky brakes. That said, it depends on the issue and why the brakes are squeaking.
Wet rotors causing your brakes to squeak shouldn’t cause any hazards or issues. So, if they’re squeaking because the pads are still being broken in, the only fix is to drive with squeaky brakes.
But if the issue is worn-down pads or improper lubrication, you should address these problems before you drive. They can lead to more severe issues and driving hazards that will endanger you and your vehicle.
Dealing with your new brakes squeaking can feel like a severe problem, but it usually isn’t too complex. If they’re brand new brakes, the most likely cause for the squeaking is that they simply haven’t been broken in yet. Have a professional look at your brakes to see if there’s a more significant issue at hand.
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