Today’s automobiles have two types of braking. One involves having brake pads that make contact with a wheel rotor or disk and the other type has a drum with two brake shoes. Many cars use the wheel rotor type on the front set of wheels while using the drum type on the rear wheels. However, some manufacturers have begun eliminating the drum type brakes in favor of using the wheel rotor type on all four wheels. Whatever the type used, there are common reasons for brake squealing.
The most common reason for noisy brakes is the introduction of road grime and dust between the wheel rotors and brake pads. If your brakes have seen less service than expected for their full lifetime, this will probably prove to be the reason for the noise. Take your car to a local carwash and using the high-pressure hose spray around the wheels, releasing the dirt that may have collected on the brakes. There are also several brands of brake cleaning sprays and compounds available at retail stores that will help loosen such debris effectively. As with any product, follow all instructions when using cleaners.
Brakes will occasionally wear unevenly and will begin to make some noise as the wheel rotors and brake pads become uneven. It’s important to inspect brake parts regularly as a part of routine automotive maintenance in order to deal with this issue when it begins. Allowing the uneven wearing of the braking components to continue will increase the likelihood you will experience brake failure in the future.
As brake pads naturally wear, there are indicators on the brake pads to help the driver know their lifespan is coming to an end. Squealing brakes can be caused by a part of the pad brace known as a “squealer bar” that emits an annoying sound to warn the driver that there is very little material left on the brake pad. The contact of the bar with the wheel rotor should cause very little damage as long as the driver takes action to replace the worn brake pads. If the driver does not heed this warning, there is a risk the squealer bar will break off or become worn in a way the wheel rotor becomes scored.
New brake pads often come with a protective finish that wears off the surface of the pad as you drive. Allow some noise during local driving for a day or two to completely wear the finish from the pad. Most mechanics will inform their customers of such issues before they leave the shop.