From Squeals To Grinding | A Closer Look At Brake Noises And Their Causes

15 June 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Any driver who has been behind the wheel of a car can tell you how important their brakes are when it comes to safe driving. However, not every driver knows exactly what it means when brakes start making racket, which is usually the first clue that there is something wrong. As a driver, it is imperative that you take some time to get familiar with the different sounds that your brakes on your vehicle make and what they could mean. This will not only help to ensure you are safe, but can help you to avoid costly damages as well.

High-Pitched Squealing

Perhaps the most recognizable noise, high-pitched squealing is one that comes along with wearing brakes. This squealing should not be excessively loud, but will be audible enough to catch your attention and will only happen when your car is in motion. This squeal is actually a sign that your brake pads are wearing thin and should soon be replaced. The majority of disc brakes are designed with what is commonly referred to as a wear sensor, which is a small metal nub that will start to rub against the disc of the brake system when the brake pads are getting worn enough to be replaced. If you are hearing this high-pitched squeal, it is a good time to take your vehicle in for brake inspection to prevent damage.

Rattles and Pops

The brakes on your vehicle should be tight, but occasionally, you will hear a rattle or popping sound when brake pressure is applied, especially at higher speeds. If you hear what sounds like rattling or the occasional pop, the brake pads were either not installed properly or they have loosened themselves from the brake encasement. This can interfere with the stopping power you have, and should be immediately addressed by a professional.

Rubbing, Grinding, or Loud Screeches

When you apply your brakes, you should not hear any sound, but if you are hearing grinding, rubbing, or the loud screech of metal against metal, it means your brake pads are likely completely gone. The sound you hear is from the metal brake base rubbing against the rotor of the vehicle, which can cause a lot of damage to your car. Brake service in this situation may not only involve pad replacement, but rotor repair as well.

As a driver, learning the language that your brakes speak is just one way to make sure you can take appropriate care of your vehicle. Talk to a brake service professional at Alignment Center if your brakes are making noises that you cannot decipher.