Determine Your Cause of Brake Noise: Do They Need Replacing?
If you’re stepping on your brakes and they come out with a complete wail until you’ve stopped completely, that’s a squeal. The squeal happens for one reason and one reason only: your brake pads are nearly worn down to nothing. This warning signal of a squeal is actually built-in by the manufacturer to alert drivers to replace their brakes. Your brakes can continue to function fine for some time with the squeal, but we don’t recommend putting off replacement. If the squeal is not taken care of, it leads to the grind.
Possibly the most important brake noise to be aware of is the sound of grinding. This will sound like grinding metal. You won’t just hear it, you’ll also feel it in the car beneath you. When the brakes are grinding, it means your brake pads have (finally?) completely worn away and you are grinding the calipers onto your brake disc. This will most certainly damage the braking components with time and can cost a lot more than replacing the brake pads alone. Do not ignore the grind!
The squeak in your brakes (usually) isn’t something to get too worried about. The squeak is an inconsistent and fairly unthreatening sound. If you step on your brakes and there is a small squeak noise that doesn’t happen every time you brake, there’s likely nothing to worry about. The Squeak can be caused by several factors. A squeak in your brakes could mean they’re dusty, sandy, or even wet. Cold weather can also cause your brakes to squeak, so if you hear some intermittent noise when you brake, don’t let it keep you up at night.