4 Common Types of Brake Noises | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

4 Common Types of Brake Noises | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

Squeaky and noisy brakes can panic any driver. Brakes are arguably the most important safety feature in any car. Sometimes the concern is warranted, other times, not so much. Here are four common types of brake noises.

Disc Brakes Squeak After Sitting Overnight
Most brakes squeak after sitting overnight. This is typically due to moisture from rain or condensation that collects on the surface of the rotors. When moisture collects on the brake rotors, it causes a thin layer of rust to form on the rotor surface. As the rotor turns, the pads scrape the rust off the rotors, and then the rust gets caught on the brake pad, which causes the squeak you may hear. 

The only way to prevent this type of noise is to store your car in a climate-controlled environment or garage. Rust on the rotors can cause a thumping noise or brake pulsation.

Thinning Brake Pads
The brake wear indicator is another common cause of brake squeak. This sound starts when the brake pads are almost worn out and getting dangerously thin. It’s a very effective warning that the brake pads are almost used up and need to be replaced.

Manufacturers attach wear indicators in different ways, such as: welding them on, using a rivet, or using a push-on clip attached to the edge of the brake-pad backing. These metal tabs are designed to hit the rotor before the brake pad completely wears out to warn the driver that the brake pad is getting very thin and is about to cause a metal-to-metal situation. Avoid this situation because it's ineffective braking. And metal grinding and scratching on the rotor can damage the rotor’s smooth surface.

High Metal Count in Pads
Brake pads normally contain bits of metal, but some cheap brake pads are manufactured with a very high metal count. These large pieces of metal drag on the rotor and cause a high-pitched squeak. Spend the few extra bucks on quality brake pads to avoid hearing the high-pitched sound and to help stop your car properly and safely.

To minimize squeaks from your brake pads, use brake pads with a high content of organic brake material (resin, rubber, Kevlar, or fiber). More organic brake material means fewer metal shavings in the brake pad, less squeaking, and less metal dust on your wheels. Metal particles in brake dust can even discolor chrome or aluminum wheels.

Drum Brakes In Need Of Lubrication
If the contact points inthe rear brakes are squeaking, it could mean that it's losing lubrication and the metal will begin to rust. Once this happens the shoes will scrape against the backing plate, causing a rhythmic squeaking noise with the rotation of the wheels. Most new vehicles have disc brakes on all four wheels, but drum brakes are still used on the rear wheels of some cars.

The best way to prevent this noise is to keep the contact points lubricated with a high temperature anti-seize compound. You use it on the back of brake pads and on all brake pad/shoe contact points, not on the brake pad or shoe surfaces themselves.


Penney Auto Body & Glass, Vancouver’s Auto Body Collision Repair Shop, is an expert in paint and body repair and cares about the welfare of your car and your personal safety. If you get involved in an automotive accident or you're a victim of a vehicle break-in or theft be sure to contact Penney Auto Body for your auto body, collision repair, and car painting services.

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