Why Does My Car Squeak When I Brake?

We often say that your car is “telling” you something when it makes a strange noise.  But when your brakes squeak, it is quite literally your brake pads telling you that they need to be replaced.

While your braking system has many components, the three you should know are the brake pad, rotor, and caliper.  When you depress your brake pedal, you cause the caliper to press the brake pad against the rotor creating friction and causing the rotor, which is connected to the wheel, to turn more and more slowly until the car approaches a stop.  

Brake rotors are solid round discs typically made of metal, but the brake pad is composed of metal shavings held together by some bonding material such as resin.  When a brake pad is pressed to a rotor, the friction causes a small amount of the brake pad to wear away and, over time, the brake pad material becomes depleted and requires replacement.

Fortunately, your brake pad has a nifty component called a wear indicator which is a small piece of metal that becomes exposed once your brake pad has been eroded to a certain thickness.  The wear indicator then rubs against the rotor and the metal-on-metal friction creates a squeaking or squealing noise designed to notify you that your brake pads are low.

At Wilton Auto and Tire Center, we recommend scheduling a brake service as soon as you begin experiencing a squeaking or squealing noise when you brake.  In addition to replacing your brake pads, our automotive technicians will inspect the entire braking system to find, diagnose, and recommend any further brake repair procedures that may be needed to keep you safe on the road.

Written by Wilton Auto & Tire Center