Here's a very common question we get about the noises the car brakes can make, and what they might mean.
I notice my breaks squeak but it’s a mild, not at every stop and not loud. Do they need to be checked right away when I hear noise or is it safe to wait? Will it mean I need new breaks for sure? Does it depend on the model of the car or is there a good rule of thumb for all makes and models?
First and foremost, brake inspections at certified auto repair locations will be offered at no charge. With that said, there are a few reasons that cause brakes to squeak. They could be completely worn out and need replaced or, it could be something as minor as brake dust or dirt buildup between the pads and the rotor. Every time you hit the brakes they loose a little friction material, and over time the material can get built up on the pad surface and cause a squeak, which is not a safety problem. Sometimes, a good rain shower, or going through a carwash can cause debris to get on the pad causing a squeak, which also not a hazard. Slightly loose brake pads will move around fast while applying the brakes, causing a harmonic squeal. Most of these can be remedied fairly easy at little or possibly no cost. Sometimes brake pads can develop a hard spot that causes a squeak, and pad replacement is usually required to fix that. Some brake pads have built in metal squeakers that are designed to touch the rotor when the pad gets to a certain thickness causing a squeak, and this is a warning the driver to get the brakes checked. So, there are multiple reasons brakes can make noise and inspection and reputable shop will help resolve the problem and give you peace of mind.